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ALPINE WEIGHS LAND USE CHANGES THAT MAY IMPACT 3,000 ACRES ON PRIVATE LANDS WITHIN NATIONAL FOREST




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By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) is holding a series of public hearings on proposed land use changes that could impact about four percent (3,000 acres) of all lands in the APCG planning area.  The properties are among some 77,000 acres countywide of privately owned lands within Cleveland National Forest. 

Previously, those lands were essentially restricted from development by the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI), a voter-approved ballot measure that limited development for 17 years by restricting residential development to no more than one unit per 40 acres.  But the FCI expired in December 2010, and now former FCI lands are proposed to be brought into conformity with land use designations approved in August 2010 by the Board of Supervisors under a General Plan Update.

In most unincorporated communities, FCI lands are in remote areas.  But in Alpine, FCI lands are close to the town center, thus proposed draft changes may impact the character of the town, not solely rural areas.  In Alpine, the most controversial area is on the south side of I-8 along Willows Road.   The county proposal has sparked a flurry of contentious emails in online discussion forums in Alpine and among planning group members themselves. 

View the original County maps at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/advance/FCI.html.

While the proposed changes could make it permissible for some large landowners to build additional residential units, additional factors such as groundwater usage, sloped topography, biological mitigation, traffic and in the case of large projects, a state-required environmental impact report could further limit density of development on any given lot.

A subcommittee, chaired by APCG member George Barnett, has been reviewing the proposed land use changes.  At a meeting last week, around 60 Alpine residents turned out to present their views and learn more about the proposed land use changes. 

At the next subcommittee meeting on February 9, Bob Citrano from the County of San Diego will make a presentation on the proposed land use designation for east Alpine areas that were previously part of the Forest Conservation Initiative lands, after which the full APCG will weigh the issue. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the matter in early spring.