Real Estate

Karen Larson, EDCAR president: Making sense of the General Plan Update

El Dorado County is in the process of refining our General Plan, formally required by the state of California every five years. In April of 2011, the county assessed prior activity and determined that the basic General Plan Assumptions, Strategies, Concepts and Objectives were still generally valid and that no amendments would be needed at this time. Further, they determined there were areas within the General Plan that could be improved to better address certain priorities.

Those priorities included:

  • Development of affordable housing to moderate income households
  • Creation of jobs and retention of sales tax revenue
  •  Promotion and protection of agriculture and natural resource industries
  •  Comply with recent changes in state law.

In November of 2011, the Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution of Intention to initiate a Targeted General Plan Amendment (TGPA) to consider policy changes to General Plan policies to help achieve these priorities. At the same time, they adopted two Resolutions of Intentions to include policies in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance Update (ZOU) that would be compatible with these priorities.

The TGPA and ZOU are two components of what is now called the Land-Use Policy Programmatic Update (LUPPU). The purpose of LUPPU is to implement the adopted 2004 General Plan as required by the General Plan and state law.

One significant update breakthrough was the replacement of the outdated traffic model, originally developed during the preparation of the 2004 General Plan. That model format was outdated and no longer supported. The new Traffic Demand Model (TDM) will be used for the CEQA review of the Targeted General Plan and Zoning Ordinance Update.

The county determined an environmental impact report was required to evaluate the effects of the Targeted General Plan Amendment and Zoning Ordinance Update in compliance with CEQA. The EIR includes a revised traffic study, taking into consideration recent development and road construction activity, and projections of the amount and distribution of future growth.

A number of large development projects (approx. 6,700 residential units) have been submitted to EDC. None of these products conform to the adopted land-use element of the 2004 General Plan. Objections to these parcels have been voiced by residents and by two groups to amend the General Plan in those areas to significantly reduce or eliminate the Community Region boundary lines, which delineate the areas of the county designated for the highest intensity commercial and residential development.

State law governs the adoption and amendment of general plans. The Board of Supervisors may amend the General Plan if it is deemed in the public interest to do so. State law provides that amendments are to be initiated in the manner specified by the board, by the county or by an application from private individuals.

It is my hope that El Dorado County leaders focus on a General Plan that represents the majority of our residents, sustains adequate housing and allows for responsible growth — a plan that creates a healthy, stable foundation for our local economy to thrive.

Special to the Democrat

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