SCOPING MEETING ON ALPINE COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE SET FOR SEPT. 18 IN ALPINE: YOUR INPUT SOUGHT

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East County News Service

September 2, 2018 (Alpine) – The County is seeking public input on a proposed update to Alpine’s community plan.  County Planning and Development Services Department will hold a public scoping meeting on September 18, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Alpine Library, 1752 Alpine Blvd.   See Notice of Preparation: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/CommunityGroups/AlpineCommunityPlanUpdate.html.

Public comments on the NOP will be accepted for 30 days following issuance of this notice and must be received no later than October 1, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

The update will include a detailed analysis process to inform recommendations related to land use and development density, community character and the built environment, transportation, conservation and open space, housing, public facilities, safety, and noise.  Some areas could have allowable densities increased or decreased. 

Public Comments on the notice of preparation document can be emailed or sent via mail to:

Greg Kazmer, Environmental Coordinator

E-mail: gregory.kazmer@sdcounty.ca.gov

Address: Planning & Development Services
Attn: Greg Kazmer
5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 310

San Diego, CA 92123

Mark Wardlaw, Director, Planning and Development Services

5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 310

San Diego, CA 92123

 (858) 505 - 6857 ▪ Fax (858) 694-2555

www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds

The purpose of this NOP and scoping meeting is to provide responsible agencies and the public with information about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and to provide further opportunities to identify environmental issues and alternatives for consideration in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR). Public comments received during the NOP scoping process will be included as part of the SEIR.

A preliminary EIR evaluated potentially significant effects associated with the following environmental areas of potential concern:

1) aesthetics

2) agricultural resource

3) air quality

4) biological resources

5) cultural and paleontological resources

6) geology and soils

7) hazards and hazardous materials

8) hydrology and water quality

9) land use and planning

10) mineral resources

11) noise

12) population and housing

13) public services

14) recreation

15) transportation and traffic

16) utilities and service systems

17) climate change.

Of these seventeen environmental subject areas, it was determined that only geology and soils and population and housing would not involve potentially significant impacts. The remaining environmental issues evaluated included impacts that would be significant and unavoidable, with the exception of impacts associated with the following four subject areas, which would be mitigated to a level below significant: cultural and paleontological resources, land use and planning, recreation, and climate change.

The final certified GPU PEIR is available online at the County's website at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/gpupdate/environmental.html.

Background: Forest Conservation Initiative

On December 14, 2016, Supervisors approved the FCI project. a voter approved initiative which required that private lands within the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County have a minimum lot size of 40 acres. The FCI was originally approved in 1993 and expired on December 31, 2010.

 The FCI lands entail approximately 72,000 acres within 13 communities in the unincorporated County. Of those, 1,354 parcels containing 13,747 acres are located within the Alpine community. The FCI was 

The land use map changes adopted as part of the GPU did not include FCI lands. When the FCI expired, the areas affected by the FCI reverted to the land use designations in effect before the FCI was enacted.

As a result of the Board's approval of the FCI project in 2016, the GPU land use designations, Guiding Principles, and Policies were applied to the former FCI lands.

The FCI SEIR identified significant and unavoidable impacts to:

1) aesthetics

2) agricultural and forestry resources

3) air quality

4) biological resources

5) hazards and hazardous material

6) hydrology and water quality

7) mineral resources

8) noise

9) public services

10) transportation and traffic

11) Utilities and service systems.

It also identified significant and unavoidable impacts to global climate change.

The final certified FCI SEIR is available online at the County's website at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/advance/FCI/fcifinalseir.html

Community Plans

All community plans supplement the County General Plan. Community plans contain information and policies concerning land use, housing, circulation, conservation/open space, public facilities and services, recreation, and community character. However, other issues can be addressed, depending on community circumstances. The policies and programs contained in a community plan, which must be consistent with the County General Plan, are intended to provide long-term guidance and stability with respect to implementing County General Plan policies and programs.

The Alpine Community Plan was adopted on December 31, 1979; it was last amended in December 2016. The proposed project is a comprehensive update to the Alpine Community Plan. Because all community plans are components of the County General Plan, this action requires a General Plan Amendment (GPA).

Project Description

The proposed project would update and refine the current plan's goals and policies to reflect the character of Alpine and guide growth and development. The ACPU includes an infrastructure study and market analysis, which are intended to provide additional information to guide decision-making. It will also provide an opportunity to consolidate regulations, such as zoning and design guidelines. The ACPU will provide strategies and specific implementing actions to ensure that the land use vision will be accomplished. The implementation plan organizes and prioritizes actions, which are intended to parallel existing County efforts.

The ACPU may set forth changes in land use designations based on a constraints analysis and community input. In large part, existing zoning will be applied to land uses, although new designations that better support the goal of mixed-use development as well as transit-oriented development may also be developed. The project will further refine the land use patterns established as a part of the 2011 GPU and 2016 FCI projects. The structure of the ACPU will mirror the County General Plan where possible, including the land use, mobility, conservation/open space, housing, safety, and noise elements, although some elements may be omitted from the community plan where unique goals/policies/analyses are not applicable.

A special development feasibility study is being prepared to analyze several Areas of Consideration (as defined in the FCI SEIR) for future development. The feasibility study will include an assessment of infrastructure needs associated with roads, water, sewers, electricity, and fire protection and be used to determine appropriate land use densities and zoning designations. The feasibility study will consider Areas of Consideration AL-3, -4, -5, -6, -7, and -11B.

More information on the project and community outreach efforts is available on the project web page at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/CommunityGroup/AlpineCommunityPlanUpdate.html.

As previously described, the project will require an SEIR that will tier from the GPU PEIR and FCI SEIR. This SEIR will use information from both of these EIRs and provide more specific analysis and details for the Alpine Community Plan Area (CPA). The components of the ACPU are still being developed. However, development of the ACPU will be guided by and must remain consistent with the goals, policies, and planning concepts identified in the County General Plan and other relevant County plans and programs.

CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 allows a streamlined environmental review process for projects that are consistent with the densities established by existing zoning, community plan or general plan policies for which an EIR was certified. The ACPU would update and refine the use of streamlining under CEQA Guidelines 15183 specific to the Alpine CPA.

CEQA Requirements

CEQA requires that public agencies consider the potentially significant adverse environmental effects of projects over which they have discretionary approval authority before taking action on those projects (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et. seq.). According to California Code of Regulations Section 15064(f)(1), preparation of an EIR is required whenever a project may result in a significant adverse environmental effect. An EIR is an informational document that is used to inform public agency decisionmakers and the general public about the significant environmental effects of a project, identify possible ways to mitigate or avoid the significant effects, and describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the project that could feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project while substantially lessening or avoiding any of the significant environmental impacts. Public agencies are required to consider the information presented in the EIR when determining whether to approve a project.

CEQA Guidelines Section 15163 states that a lead agency may choose to prepare a supplement to the EIR rather than a subsequent EIR if the changes proposed meet the conditions described in Section 15162 and only minor additions and changes are necessary to make the previous EIR adequate. The Alpine Community Plan would be updated to incorporate goals and polices from the General Plan Update and reflect the character of Alpine. It would refine the current plan's goals and policies to guide growth and development within the Alpine community. As such, the County is proceeding with preparation of a supplement to the GPU PEIR and FCI SEIR.

Project Location

Alpine is an unincorporated community in the eastern portion of San Diego County, approximately 25 miles east of downtown San Diego (Figure 1). The Alpine CPA covers approximately 68,100 acres of land that is characterized by diverse geography, residential land use patterns, and an established town center area. The most distinguished geographic features are the rugged peaks of the Viejas and El Cajon Mountains near El Capitan Reservoir in the northern portion of the community as well as the hills and valleys around Loveland Reservoir in the southern portion. The Alpine CPA is bisected by Interstate 8, with the majority of the population concentrated in and around the Alpine town center, which is adjacent to the freeway. Cleveland National Forest comprises most of the land in the eastern and northern portions of the CPA.

The Alpine CPA is bordered by the Central Mountain Community Plan area to the north and east, the Jamul Dulzura Community Plan area to the south, and the Lakeside and Crest-Dehesa-Harbison Canyon-Granite Hills Community Plan areas to the west (Figure 2). The Alpine CPA includes the suburban Glen Oaks neighborhood in the western portion and the Viejas Mountains, El Cajon Mountains, and Cleveland National Forest in the east. 

The elevation of the terrain ranges from approximately 1,500 feet at the vegetated drainages to more than 4,100 feet in the semi-arid hilly terrain of the Viejas and El Cajon Mountains. The town of Alpine, which is in the north-central portion of the CPA, is the most densely populated community within the planning area. Local development on both sides of Interstate 8 consists primarily of residential/rural-residential, commercial, industrial, and mixed uses. 

The planning area also includes the communities of Peutz Valley, Japatul Valley, Hidden Glen, Dunbar Lane, and Galloway Valley. Development within these communities consists of rural-residential and light agricultural uses. The Viejas Indian Reservation and Capitan Grande Reservation are also within the boundaries of the Alpine CPA; however, they are not within the County's jurisdiction.

Probable Environmental Effects

The following is a list of the subject areas to be analyzed in the ACPU Supplemental EIR.

Aesthetics

Land Use and Planning

Agriculture and Forestry Resources

Mineral Resources

Air Quality

Noise

Biological Resources

Population and Housing

Cultural and Historical Resources

Public Services

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Recreation

Energy Use

Tribal Cultural Resources

Hazards and Hazardous Materials

Transportation and Traffic

Hydrology and Water Quality

  Utilities and Service Systems