San Diego's Updated General Plan Makes Headway
San Diego County Planning Commissioners took another step today to reach agreement on a major overhaul of the blueprint for future development in the back country.
Land owners and residents of San Diego’s rural areas gave their input on the General Plan Update, which is designed to protect open space and allow for future development.
Many properties will be down-zoned to allow only one house per 20 acres, or one per 40 acres. Critics fear it will erode property values.
Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitats League says the General Plan is the county’s constitution of land use. He says the options now on the table are better than the existing plan.
"Two or three of the maps would produce really excellent outcomes, shifting growth away from rural back country areas and towards cities and towns, where it belongs," Silver said. "Another one or two of the maps aren’t so good, but overall it will revolutionize land use in this county."
Erik Larsen of the Farm Bureau says most farmers want to keep their land agricultural, but if they aren’t allowed to develop their land at all, they lose valuable equity.
Larsen supported a compromise at the county planning meeting.
"In the traditional development sense, land gets chopped up cookie cutter like, and you end up with all these houses all over the countryside," Larsen said. "We’d rather have farmers be able to concentrate development in a small corner of their property and then put a 'conservation easement' on their farm land -- and that’s permanent for ever. We think that’s a viable idea, and we’d like to see the county adopt that.”
The existing General Plan was created 30 years ago.
The Planning Commission will hold one more meeting this year before presenting the comprehensive update to supervisors for a vote in the fall.