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Time limits for general plan amendment initiations and appeals recommended


Last updated 6/19/2008 at Noon

A May 30 hearing and vote by the county’s Planning Commission sent a recommendation to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in favor of placing limits on requests for initiating General Plan Amendments and on appeals of decisions denying the authorization to proceed with such an initiation.

The Planning Commission had initially discussed the issue April 18 and had opted for a continuance to incorporate a discussion of how the process would be integrated into the context of the county’s general plan update, although the May 30 hearing did not include any discussion of integrating the amendment process into the new general plan under consideration.

The May 30 vote was by a 5-2 margin with Planning Commissioners Michael Beck, Leon Brooks, David Kreitzer, John Riess, and Bryan Woods in support and Adam Day and David Pallinger in opposition.

“We just basically put a two-year expiration date and a ten-day appeal if not initiated,” said Joe Farace of the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use. “That’s just consistent with the way we do business now.”

The Board of Supervisors policy which covers General Plan Amendment and zoning guidelines sets procedures which require property owners or other interested parties to initiate a request for a General Plan Amendment.

Such a request is called a Plan Amendment Authorization, or PAA; approval of a PAA does not approve the General Plan Amendment but gives the applicant the authority to proceed with the request for a General Plan Amendment.

The current policy does not include a time limit for filing the request for a General Plan Amendment once the PAA is approved. Thus a General Plan Amendment may be filed based on PAAs initiated years earlier and relying on information and analyses which may no longer be accurate and might not be supported by a new PAA review.

The proposed policy would place a two-year limit from the approval of the PAA to file a request for a General Plan Amendment.

Any PAAs approved more than two years prior to the supervisors’ adoption of the new policy would be allowed one year from the date of the policy revision’s adoption to file a General Plan Amendment request.

When a PAA is requested, the director of the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use has 45 days to provide a decision approving or denying the PAA. The applicant may appeal that decision to the Planning Commission, and the Planning Commission’s decision may be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

The current policy does not stipulate a time limit for an appeal of the previous decision, and the proposed change would add a ten-day limit for appeals.

“It was just really loose, and now it’s really structured,” Farace said.

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