Riverside County General Plan Amendment to LU-6.2
Citizens Oversight (2009-05-13) Raymond Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M784
Media Link: Part1: http://youtu.be/vW8x4J67EXw
Agenda Item No.: 6.2
Area Plan: County-wide
Zoning District: County-wide
Supervisorial District: County-wide
Project Planner: Tamara Harrison
Planning Commission: May 13, 2009
General Plan Amendment No. 1073
E.A.: CEQA Exempt
Applicant: County Initiated Change Engineer/Representative: N/A
COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE PLANNING DEPARTMENT STAFF REPORT
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION:
The proposed project is a County-initiated amendment to General Plan Policy LU-6.2. The amendment would clarify that although a Public Facilities land use designation exists, public facilities may be allowed in any land use designation except the Open Space - Conservation and the Open Space - Habitat land use designations. The proposed project would apply Countywide. The original wording of Policy LU-6.2. as well as the proposed wording, is reflected in attached Exhibit #1.
When the County updated its General Plan in 2003, it created a Public Facilities land use designation that was applied to those areas occupied by then existing public facilities and to those areas where the County believed future public facilities may be appropriate. The intent of this designation was not to require that future public facilities be located exclusively on land designated "Public Facilities." As currently written. LU-6.2 may be interpreted to unduly restrict the location of needed public facilities. contrary to the provisions of Ordinance No. 348. The proposed project would clarify this intent by expressly providing that public facilities may be allowed in any location except on land located within the Open Space — Conservation and Open Space - Habitat land use designations. This clarification is consistent with County Ordinance No. 348. Land Use Ordinance of Riverside County. which currently provides that federal. state. county and city projects may be located in any zone (see Section 18.2.a) and the proposed project would. therefore, harmonize these important planning documents. Any project proposed under Section 18.2.a. must still comply with the legal requirements of CEQA and the proposed amendment would in no way abridge this requirement when a public facility is proposed within the unincorporated County. As currently written. LU-6.2 does not expressly prohibit such facilities in the Open Space - Conservation and the Open Space - Habitat land use designations. Such a prohibition is critical due to the sensitive nature of areas designated Open Space — Conservation and Open Space - Habitat. The proposed amendment would protect habitat and other environmental resources associated with these designations from any significant effects on the environment associated with locating public facilities in these areas. Eliminating the potential for public facilities in these areas would have a positive effect upon the environment and corrects the existing deficiencies.
When the Planning Commission was asked to comment on initiation of the proposed amendment. Commissioner Snell noted that the following clause of revised LU- 6.2 left too much room for interpretation and should be more specific: .....a public facility shall include ... all facilities operated by a private person for the benefit of any ... [government] agencies." He thought that the clause should be changed to read: "... a public facility shall include ... all facilities operated by a private person exclusively
for the benefit of any ... [government] agencies." He felt that this would prevent facilities providing only some benefits to the County, like the Procintu project (PUP No. 885). from meeting the definition of a "public facility." County Counsel has reviewed the policy in light of Mr. Snell s concerns and recommends retaining the language as originally written for the following reasons:
The policy, as worded. is consistent with Section 18.2.a. of the County's Zoning Ordinance which provides:
"No federal. state. county or city governmental project shall be subject to the provisions of this ordinance. including such projects operated by any combination of these agencies or by a private person for the benefit of any such government agency . ..."
Section 18.2.a. has existed in its current form for at least thirty years and the purpose of the proposed amendment is to reconcile the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. If the word "exclusively" is added to the General Plan. a project may be considered exempt from the Zoning Ordinance, but required to obtain a General Plan amendment before proceeding. This is not a desirable result.
With regard to the Procintu project. it was not considered exempt from the Zoning Ordinance because it was not considered a project operated by a private person for the benefit of a government agency within the meaning of Section 18.2.a. The Procintu project was instead considered subject to the Zoning Ordinance and processed as a Public Use Permit. The issue turned on whether the project fell within the definition of a "public use." Ultimately, it was determined that the project did constitute a -public use" because it was an educational institution "supported wholly or in part by public funds."
In any event, as the local land use authority, it is the County that would finally determine whether any project proposed by a private person benefits a public agency and is therefore exempt from the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. No matter what a private person may argue, the County would retain its full discretion to accept or reject the argument.
The language as written allows the County the flexibility it needs to effectively carry out its functions and the specificity it needs to subject projects with dubious public benefit to the requirements of the General Plan
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS:
- General Plan Land Use: Countywide
- Proposed Zoning: Countywide
- Surrounding Zoning: Countywide
- Existing Land Use: Countywide
- Surrounding Land Use: Countywide
- Project Data: Total Acreage: N/A
Total Proposed Lots: N/A
Proposed Min. Lot Size: N/A
- Environmental Concerns: Exempt from CEQA (See Attached Notice of Exemption)
TENTATIVE ADOPTION of COMPREHENSIVE GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT NO. 1073, based upon the findings and conclusions incorporated in the staff report:
- The proposed amendment is in conformance with the Riverside County General Plan's Land Use Policies and with all other elements of the Riverside County General Plan.
- The proposed amendment is consistent with all applicable provisions of Riverside County Land Use Ordinance No. 348.
- The amendment is exempt from the provision of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) based on CEQA Section 15061(b)(3).
As of this writing, no letters in support or opposition have been received.
The proposed project is Countywide and affects all properties located in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
General Plan Amendment to Land Use Element Policy 6.2 (LU 6.2)
(All added text is marked with italic font style and all deleted text is marked with
strikethrough font effect)
LU 6.2 Direct public, educational, religious, and utility uses established to serve the surrounding community toward those areas designated for Community Development and Rural Community uses on the applicable Area Plan land use maps. These uses may be found consistent with any of the Community Development, Rural Community, or Rural foundation designations, including the Rural Village Overlay, as well as the Open Space Rural and Agriculture designations under the following conditions: (AI 1,3)
- The facility is compatible in scale and design with surrounding land uses, and does not generate excessive noise, traffic, light, fumes, or odors that might have a negative impact on adjacent neighborhoods,
b. The location of the proposed use will not jeopardize public , safety, and welfare, or the facility is necessary to in ensure the continual public safety and welfare.
LU 6.2 Notwithstanding the Public Facilities designation, public facilities shall also be allowed in any other land use designation except for the Open Space- Conservation and Open Space- Habitat land use designations. For purposes of this policy, a public facility shall include all facilities operated by the federal government, the State of California, the County of Riverside, any special district governed by the County of Riverside or any city, all facilities operated by any combination of these agencies and all facilities operated by a private person for the benefit of any of these agencies.
(The planning commission decided to omit the highlighted phrase.)
Lutz (36:19): The point is that Procinctu is mentioned in this
document, therefore it is fair game. The document... the way
Procinctu was defined was as a "Public Institution", and it says
Public Facilities are Okay (pointing at proposed language on screen).
If you go by that designation.
Petty -- it was never defined as a "Public Institution"
Lutz: I'll provide that information that said
"We are a public institution"