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Supervisors approve zoning ordinance changes

The latest round of amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance was approved during the Jan. 27 meeting of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The changes include 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, allowing three-day sales of vehicles, boats, or trailers on existing commercial or industrial properties, and exemptions from enclosure requirements for recycling processing facilities for wood and green materials in certain zones.

Valle de Oro Community Planning Group chair Jack Phillips opposed the green waste recycling exemption for industrial M50 and commercial C40 zoning, which had been among the zones exempted from enclosure until Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s amendment to exclude those zones was approved, as well as the exemption from industrial M52 zones. “M50 and M52 are the low-impact uses that can be right next to retail commercial or even residential,” Phillips said.

C40 Rural Commercial zoning is intended for commercial centers which serve predominantly rural or semi-rural areas with a broad range of goods and services. M50 Basic Industrial Zoning allows almost all processing and manufacturing uses while permitting limited commercial uses but requires virtually all uses to be enclosed, while M52 Limited Industrial Zoning allows a wider range of industrial and commercial uses and allows outdoor uses which are permitted with a use permit.

In addition to the M52 industrial parcels, the enclosure exemption now also applies to agricultural A70 and A72 zones, although such facilities in A70 and A72 zones still need use permits. Even with the enclosure exemptions, green waste recycling facilities must still comply with other zoning ordinance sections.

The director of the county’s Department of Planning and Land Use was given 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 was also given the authority to waive the Major Use Permit requirement for Planned Development Area special regulations. Phillips feared that the elimination of a hearing requirement removed community input, and while the appeal process itself was not eliminated, Jacob added an amendment in that section which specifically authorizes an appeal. “It just makes it clear,” Jacob said.

Sales of pumpkins and Christmas trees are now 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 are also 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 are not allowed on vacant properties. The sales lot can be no more than 10,000 square feet or 10 percent of the parking area, whichever is less, and cannot obstruct handicapped parking spaces. When feasible it must 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 is allowed, and a permit for temporary power can be obtained through DPLU’s Building Division if the sales lot requires electrical service. Sales of food and beverages are prohibited, as are sales of merchandise not directly associated with pumpkins, Christmas trees, or holiday decorations (the ordinance language uses “holiday decorations” rather than “Christmas decorations” to allow decorations associated with other winter holidays to be sold). Temporary sanitation facilities are required.

The sale of pumpkins is restricted to the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, while the sale of Christmas trees is restricted to between Thanksgiving and Dec. 26. The facility must be removed and the premises cleared of all debris and restored to non-seasonal conditions within 10 days after the final permitted sales date.

Three-day sales of vehicles, boats, or trailers on existing commercial or industrial properties are now 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 can only occupy parking spaces in excess of the minimum number required on the property, must be located as far away as feasible from existing commercial buildings, and cannot obstruct handicapped parking.

A permit for temporary power can be obtained, and all outdoor lighting including temporary lighting must comply with the outdoor lighting regulations of the county code. Temporary sanitation facilities are required. Sales of food or beverages, vehicle parts or accessories, or any other items other than motorized vehicles, trailers, or boats are prohibited.

The sales are limited to three consecutive days every three months and cannot exceed a total of twelve days during a calendar year. Facilities for the temporary sale can be set up one day prior to the sales period and taken down one day following the sales period.

An exception to height limits was added to include structures which contain or support fire protection service uses. Emergency shelters were added to authorized Civic Use types and are also now permitted on parcels with M50, M52, M54, and M58 industrial zoning. Wireless communication facilities are now included under uses where a height limit exemption can be granted with a Minor Use Permit.

The changes also stipulate that the zoning ordinance does 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.

The zoning use changes 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 were added to uses permitted in M54 areas upon issuance of a Major Use Permit. Cottage industries are no longer allowed by right in A70 zones but are allowed upon issuance of a Minor Use Permit.

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