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Planning Commission recommends Zoning Ordinance changes

The latest round of proposed amendments to the county’s Zoning Ordinance was recommended for approval by the county’s Planning Commission on a 6-0 vote December 18 with Commissioner Adam Day not present.

The county’s Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU) expects to docket the recommended changes for the January 27 meeting of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, who must approve any ordinance amendments.

One of the more noticeable changes involves amending the temporary use regulations to allow seasonal temporary outdoor sales of pumpkins and Christmas trees in commercial or industrial zones where retail or horticultural sales are allowed.

“Our current Zoning Ordinance does not have an allowance,” said DPLU land use and environmental planner Heather Stevens.

Sales of pumpkins and Christmas trees would be allowed on a paved sales lot area with an existing commercial or industrial development on property with C34, C35, C36, C37, C40 or C42 commercial zoning or M52, M54 or M58 industrial zoning and would also be allowed on developed commercial sites with S87 special use zoning and in designated commercial developments in planned development areas or specific plan areas unless specifically prohibited.

Sales lots would not be allowed on vacant properties. The sales lot would be limited to 10,000 square feet or ten percent of the parking area, whichever is less, and could not obstruct handicapped parking spaces. When feasible it would be required to be located as far away as possible from existing commercial buildings in order to maintain customer parking closest to the buildings.

Temporary fencing of up to six feet in height would be allowed, and a permit for temporary power could be obtained through DPLU’s Building Division if the sales lot required electrical service. Sales of food and beverages would be prohibited, as would sales of merchandise not directly associated with pumpkins, Christmas trees or holiday decorations. Temporary sanitation facilities would be required.

The sale of pumpkins would be restricted to the period between October 1 and October 31 while the sale of Christmas trees would be restricted to between Thanksgiving and December 26. The facility would need to be removed and the premises cleared of all debris and restored to non-seasonal conditions within ten days after the final permitted sales date.

A similar allowance would provide for three-day sales of vehicles, boats or trailers on existing commercial or industrial properties. Such sales would be permitted on a paved sales lot area with an existing commercial or industrial development, but not on a vacant lot, on property with C34, C35, C36, C37, C40, M54, M56 or M58 zoning, on developed commercial sites with S87 zoning, or in designated commercial developments in planned development or specific plan areas where sales and rental of light automotive equipment is permitted.

The lot area could only occupy parking spaces in excess of the minimum number required on the property, would need to be located as far away as feasible from existing commercial buildings, and could not obstruct handicapped parking. A permit for temporary power could be obtained, and all outdoor lighting including temporary lighting would need to comply with the outdoor lighting regulations of the county code.

Temporary sanitation facilities would be required. Sales of food or beverages, vehicle parts or accessories, or any other items other than motorized vehicles, trailers or boats would be prohibited. The sales would be limited to three consecutive days every three months and could not exceed a total of 12 days during a calendar year. Facilities for the temporary sale could be set up one day prior to the sales period and taken down one day following the sales period.

In addition to adding temporary outdoor sales as being exempt from the Zoning Ordinance’s enclosure regulations, the proposed changes would also exempt recycling processing facilities for wood and green materials which comply with other Zoning Ordinance sections.

An exception to height limits would be added to include structures which contain or support fire protection service uses. Emergency shelters would be added to authorized Civic Use types and would also be permitted on parcels with M50, M52, M54 and M58 industrial zoning. The changes would also stipulate that the Zoning Ordinance would not apply during, immediately following or throughout the recovery efforts of an emergency declared by the governor of California or by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

(In addition to fires, situations which have caused the Board of Supervisors to issue a proclamation of local emergency include heavy rainfall with associated flooding, agricultural quarantines, the H1N1 virus, and the bark beetle infestation.)

Other significant recommended changes include permit relaxations. Wireless communication facilities would be included under uses where a height limit exemption can be granted with a Minor Use Permit.

The DPLU director would have the authority to waive the Major Use Permit requirement for the development of one single-family dwelling on a parcel of five acres or more upon a finding that such a waiver is consistent with the General Plan and the purposes of county regulations.

The DPLU director would also be given the authority to waive the Major Use Permit requirement for Planned Development Area special regulations.

“We find most of the changes to be very good and acceptable,” said Valle de Oro Community Planning Group chair Jack Phillips.

Phillips opposed the greenwaste recycling exemption for areas with industrial M50 and M52, commercial C40, and agricultural A70 and A72 zoning, noting that some sites may be visually sensitive.

“This exemption should not apply to these zones,” he said.

DPLU planning manager Joe Farace noted that facilities in A70 and A72 zones would still need use permits.

“We feel that we’re covered in the agricultural zones,” he said. “In the industrial zones we’re covered with the performance requirements.”

The zoning use changes would also remove sales and rental of light automotive equipment from permitted M52 uses but allow such sales and rentals as permitted uses subject to limitations. That change clarifies that the type of use is subject to the enclosure

regulations.

Explosive storage, cremation services, outdoor participant sports and recreation, scrap operations and swap meets would be added to uses permitted in M54 areas upon issuance of a Major Use Permit. Cottage industries would no longer be allowed by right

in A70 zones but would be allowed upon issuance of a Minor Use Permit.

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