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GP2020 issues scheduled for Feb. 19 Planning Commission hearing

Four November and December hearings by the county’s Planning Commission on the update to the county’s general plan produced public comments on specific properties and roads, and broader issues are scheduled to be discussed on February 19.

The Planning Commission’s motions during the December 4 hearing, which followed three all-day November meetings, included continuing the General Plan 2020 hearing for further discussions on updates to unresolved issues not related to specific properties or roads.

The actions to be discussed in February include the general plan amendment process after adoption of the new general plan.

“I think it’s critical that an orderly process be developed,” said Planning Commissioner David Pallinger.

Planning Commissioner Bryan Woods lives in Ramona, where the conversion of a planned residential development to an open space area has forced the need to replace that area’s housing need projections with added residential units elsewhere within the community. “In formulating the general plan we cannot anticipate ownership patterns of land,” Woods said.

Commissioner Peder Norby hopes that an annual review after adoption will determine how successful the county has been in meeting general plan objectives. “I want to be able to have that data,” he said.

The February topics will also include conservation subdivision program issues such as minimum lot size and conformance with community plans and community character. Equity mechanism issues for downzoned land include the possible implementation of a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program in which a jurisdiction purchases development credits to preserve those lands from further development and a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program in which development credits are transferred from one location to increase development potential at another location. Equity mechanisms ensure that farmers are compensated for the loss of their property value due to downzoning, as the equity of the land is a critical factor in enabling farmers to obtain loans and thus leaving the land in agriculture.

Williamson Act properties, economic impacts of downzoning, and other Farm Bureau concerns will also be addressed. The February hearing will also address the San Diego Association of Governments population forecast and the county’s jobs/housing balance. Other items expected to be discussed February 19 include permissive versus restrictive language in the general plan and the policy for “pipelining” projects in the process between application and approval.

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