County initiates general plan amendment proceedings for SR 74 corridor

Proceedings to initiate a general plan amendment along the State Route 74 corridor in unincorporated Riverside County will begin once county staff resources permit.

The process to obtain Riverside County Board of Supervisors approval to initiate the general plan amendment concluded April 11, when the three county supervisors who were present voted to initiate the general plan amendment proceedings. John Tavaglione was not at the dais for the vote and one seat is vacant.

The general plan amendment proceedings will cover 503 parcels totaling approximately 804 acres along State Route 74 between Ellis Avenue and Ethanac Road extending 1,000 feet from the centerline on both sides of Highway 74. The general plan foundation component would be changed from Rural and Rural Community to Community Development. The current land use designations of Rural Residential and Very Low Density Residential would be changed to Mixed Use Area, Medium Density Residential, Very High Density Residential, Commercial Retail, and Light Industrial.

The approval to initiate proceedings for a general plan amendment does not approve those changes, which will undergo the public review process including environmental review and hearings by the county’s Planning Commission before returning to the Board of Supervisors for the actual general plan amendment adoption. A concurrent rezone proposal is likely as the land currently has zoning designations of R-R (Rural Residential), R-A (Residential Agricultural), C-1/C-P (General Commercial), C-P-S (Scenic Highway Commercial), and M-SC (Manufacturing – Service Commercial).

In July 2016 CASC Engineering and Consulting completed the Conceptual Highway 74 Business Corridor Land Use Study for the six-mile segment of the road between the City of Perris and the City of Lake Elsinore. The study included community outreach and input and proposed modifications to land use designations in order to strengthen the region’s economic position.

Board of Supervisors approval is necessary to initiate general plan amendment proceedings regardless of whether the general plan amendment is proposed by a developer or by the county, and the process to initiate proceedings also goes through the county’s General Plan Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission for both privately-initiated and county-initiated amendment proposals. A majority of the General Plan Advisory Committee recommended approval Oct. 6 with one member abstaining due to concerns about adding housing without connectivity to existing transportation corridors. Although concern was expressed over the current property uses, all legal uses will be allowed to continue even if the land use designation and zoning are changed. The General Plan Advisory Committee also discussed the need to set objectives, promote development, and extend utilities along the corridor.

The Dec. 7 Planning Commission hearing focused on the project timeline and the status of State Route 74. The Planning Commission supported continued community outreach efforts and analyses to study impacts to the community and noted that the general plan amendment would need to address infrastructure constraints to support future development opportunities. The Planning Commission also recommended that the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District be included as a major stakeholder so that recreational opportunities to attract tourists to the area near Diamond Valley Lake and Temecula Wine Country can be expanded.

If general plan amendment proceedings are initiated by a developer that developer reimburses the county for the cost of staff and consultant time and for other county expenses. Because the proceedings are being initiated by the county, the county will cover the estimated $1,014,308 cost for the general plan amendment, zone consistency program, and environmental analysis and the timeline will be dependent on the county’s budget. If funds are available the actual general plan amendment and rezone are expected to occur during Fiscal Year 2019-20.

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