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Supervisors approve changes to Subdivision Ordinance

A Jan. 27 vote of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved various amendments to the county’s Subdivision Ordinance.

The approval of the ordinance amendments’ introduction and first reading will be followed by a second reading and adoption scheduled for Feb. 24. The changes would take effect March 26 if approved on Feb. 24.

The changes include requiring that a side lot line be approximately at right angles or radial to a road for at least one-third of the lot depth, requiring that a lot have a depth of at least 90 feet while prohibiting the unencumbered lot depth from exceeding three times the lot width, and requiring supplemental sewer and flood control improvements when they facilitate future connections and benefit the public.

The changes also prohibit a lot from being divided by a road, require a road ending on a subdivision boundary to serve as a through street to an existing or proposed subdivision where feasible, allow processing of an on-site waste water system for a minor

subdivision to be processed in conjunction with the tentative parcel map application, establish procedures for voluntary mergers of parcels, and eliminate provisions that currently allow an extension of an expired map for all subdivisions.

Valle de Oro Community Planning Group chair Jack Phillips noted that the document now makes references to state codes rather than using specific standards, which Phillips explained hinders comprehension. “This complex rewrite of the entire subdivision ordinance was brought forward without any consultation with the county’s unincorporated communities,” he said.

Phillips also took issue with the requirement to provide capacity for future sewer connections. “This is a growth-inducing requirement,” he said.

In determining the required supplemental sewer improvements, Section 81.403(b) of the Subdivision Ordinance stipulates that the county may rely on any approved sewer master plan for the county sanitation district or county sewer maintenance district for which connection is eligible, the county general plan, any approved specific plans or tentative maps, or any available environmental impact reports or other projects the county deems reliable to forecast probable developments.

“It doesn’t say that the county shall rely on any approved sewer maps,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. “My problem is with the word ‘may’.”

Supervisor Dianne Jacob noted that the Local Agency Formation Commission provides some protection, since LAFCO approval is necessary to expand the sanitation latent powers boundary of a public agency, but an added amendment prior to the supervisors’ unanimous approval will have county staff provide a report in one year with any instances in which the change was applicable. “I’ll be interested to watch how this works or not works,” Jacob said.

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