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Supervisors approve Bonsall and Pala zoning and land use amendments

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved various zoning, land use designation and other changes including the re-designation of four parcels in Bonsall and one in Pala.

The changes which were part of a periodic update to the county’s general plan were approved in a 5-0 vote Jan. 29. Both the Bonsall and the Pala land use designation modifications involve a change to OS-R (Open Space – Recreation) for land which will be added to county parks. The four parcels in Bonsall total 63.26 acres and were acquired for the future San Luis Rey River Park. The 9.74-acre parcel in Pala will be part of Wilderness Gardens Preserve.

The initial general plan update approved by the board of supervisors in August 2011 was a multi-year process with much of the analysis occurring on a macro sale, so it was expected that oversights requiring correction would be found and the county supervisors directed county staff to develop proposed “cleanup” amendments every two years. The update direction also anticipated the need to clarify or revise policies or definitions in the general plan or community plans and to provide a process to handle changes in circumstances including changes in state law or ownership changes from private to public. The updates also accommodate minor community planning group or community sponsor group requests. The county’s Department of Planning and Development Services periodically reviews the county’s general plan to correct errors or facilitate updates which reflect new circumstances.

The cleanup round brought to the county’s planning commission in October 2019 and to the board of supervisors Jan. 29 included 38 items for consideration. The planning commission considered recommendations on 28 land use map and zoning changes consisting of 17 ownership changes, 10 mapping errors and one inconsistency. Five revisions address text and tables in the general plan, four changes are to the mobility element and one change corrects an incorrect reference in the Ramona Community Plan.

The planning commission voted 5-0, Oct. 11, with David Pallinger and Bryan Woods absent, to recommend approval of 34 of the items. Michael Beck is the executive officer of the Endangered Habitats Conservancy and recused himself on the three East County zoning and land use designation changes reflecting the transfer of ownership to EHC; when Michael Edwards abstained the recommendations did not receive the necessary four votes for a positive recommendation although the explanation of the 3-0 vote was included in the information for the county supervisors. The other item involved a property in unincorporated Escondido near Interstate 15; the planning commission voted 5-0 to send the item back to staff for additional analysis after neighbors objected to changing the Rural Residential zoning to match the land use designation given in 2011.

The Bonsall parcels were rezoned from A70 (Limited Agriculture), RR (Rural Residential) and C36 (General Commercial) to S80 (Open Space). The land use designation was changed to OS-R from RL-40 (Rural Lands – one dwelling unit per 40 acres), SR-2 (Semi-Rural – one dwelling unit per 2, 4 or 8 gross acres) and PAL (Public Agency Lands). Some of the property already had the OS-R land use designation. The parcels are east of state Route 76 at its bend and south of Camino Del Rey. Four dwelling units could have been built on the property under its previous land use designation and zoning.

S80 zoning is intended for recreation areas or areas with severe environmental constraints. Structures such as restrooms, storage buildings and pavilions are allowed on land with S80 zoning if a site plan addresses the impacts of the structures. County-owned parks are exempt from the zoning ordinance, so the Department of Parks and Recreation will not need planning commission or board of supervisors’ approval for a site plan.

The parcel in Pala was changed from RL-40 to OS-R and from A70 to S80. The property is east of Lilac Road and on the southern border of the Pala Indian Reservation. Under the previous land use designation and zoning one dwelling unit could have been built on the property.

The text changes add a clarification that road and bicycle classifications depicted in the mobility element are the classifications for full buildout and traffic studies for individual projects may identify project design considerations which are less than the full buildout classification and may not require a general plan amendment. A land use element amendment exempts emergency shelters from land use density regulations during recovery efforts related to a declaration of emergency by the state of California or the county of San Diego.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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