Zoning Update Workshops

County General Plan and zoning being updated

By Dawn Hodson

From page A1 | July 06, 2012 | Mountain Democrat

El Dorado County is in the process of updating its General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.

According to the county, the purpose of the update is to promote the development of moderate income housing, implement policies that result in job creation and improved sales tax revenues, and ensure the protection of the agriculture and natural resource industries in the County.

Circulating for comment are a series of proposed policy and zoning changes that have been discussed at eight different public meetings held throughout the county. The last one was on June 28 before the Planning Commission.

Workshops on the proposed zoning changes will also be held with the Board of Supervisors on July 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Following the workshops, a draft environmental impact report will be prepared analyzing the proposed changes, their significant environmental impacts, along with alternatives and potential mitigation measures. The EIR must be prepared before the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance updates can be reviewed by the Planning Commission and then approved by the Board of Supervisors.

County planners expect the project to be completed by June of next year and to cost between $750,000 and $1 million, including the cost of outside contractors.

Development projects that are currently under consideration aren’t affected by the update.

Residential density to be increased.

A number of land-use policy changes are being proposed. Among them is a proposal to allow residential mixed-use developments to increase in density from 16 to 20 units per acre.

Multi-family density would be allowed to increase from 24 to 30 units per acre.

Also proposed is amending the 30 percent open space requirement for Planned Development community regions and rural centers to allow a lesser area of “improved open space” on site, with the option of allowing a portion of the required open space off-site or by an in-lieu fee option.

Other proposed land-use changes

Proposed changes for commercial land use include permitting an increase in density for commercial/mixed use from 16 to 20 units per acre and allowing commercial and industrial uses in rural regions.

Planners want established standards for wetland and riparian setbacks and to delete the requirement that industrial lands be restricted to areas within, or in close proximity to community regions and rural centers.

Also recommended is streamlining the California Environmental Quality Act process for qualified projects that are consistent with Metropolitan Transportation Plans.

CAP program

As part of the General Plan update, the county is discussing developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP). The plan includes a set of policies and implementation measures designed to meet state requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The state has a goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

While there is no mandate that a jurisdiction must adopt a CAP, there is a mandate that a project as defined and subject to CEQA must analyze the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate impacts to protect against “climate change.” The county is exploring options to meeting those state objectives.

People can view all the proposed policy and zoning changes, public comments, and other documents at www.edcgov.us/landuseupdate.

The deadline for additional agency and public comments is July 10.