June 30, 2009
The County’s upgrade of its growth and development guidelines will reach a significant milestone July 1 when the County releases its revised General Plan Update and its draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for public comment.
The Department of Planning and Land Use will release both the draft environmental report and the revised General Plan Update, which was previously released for public comment in November, for a 60 day comment period. The General Plan Update remains on track to be presented to County Supervisors for consideration next year.
The General Plan Update would significantly improve land use and protect the environment better than the County’s current 1980’s era General Plan, partly by shifting 20 percent of projected growth to western unincorporated communities with established infrastructure. The proposed plan would balance growth with the needs to control traffic congestion, protect the environment and ease the strain on essential services such as water and fire protection. Among other improvements, the plan would:
- Reduce the population growth allowed in the current General Plan by 15 percent while still letting 168,000 to 198,000 more people live in unincorporated communities.
- Cut potential greenhouse gas emissions by 550 metric tons a year by reducing new road construction by 780 lane miles and eliminating up to three million vehicle trips a day.
- Reduce wildfire threats by locating more growth closer to existing fire stations.
- Reduce potential direct effects of development on biological habitat.
The proposed Update was developed with broad public input from developers, business owners, environmentalists, farmers, homeowners, landowners and renters. The public can see the plan and report and find out how to submit comments on the General Plan Update Web site.
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