The community vision which was described in the Winchester land use study will undergo the appropriate general plan amendment proceedings.
Riverside County 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. The April 11 proceedings approval for the county-initiated proposal was by a 3-0 vote with John Tavaglione absent and one vacant seat.
The plan covers approximately 1,480 acres and 225 parcels generally east of Leon Road, south of Wickard Road, west of Abbott Road and north of Scott Road, along with some properties east of Green Avenue, south of Stetson Avenue, west of California Avenue and north of Simpson Road. The land currently has foundation components of rural and rural community, and if the amendment is approved the foundation component would become community development. The land use designations are currently rural residential and estate density residential, and the proposal is to change the designations to low density residential, medium density residential, commercial retail, business park and light industrial.
When the process for the actual general plan amendment works its way through the public review process including environmental review and hearings by the county’s planning commission as well as the board of supervisors, a rezone proposal is expected to be included. The parcels currently have six different zoning classifications: rural residential, controlled development area with mobile homes – 2 1/2 acre minimum, light agriculture – 2 1/2 acre minimum, light agriculture – 5 acre minimum, light agriculture – 10 acre minimum, and heavy agriculture – 10 acre minimum.
The conceptual Winchester land use study was prepared by Terra Verde Planning in 2012 and included community outreach with input. The modification of land use designations is expected to strengthen the area’s economic position based on the future alignment of state Route 79, future plans involving Hemet-Ryan Airport and land use designations of surrounding incorporated cities. The general plan amendment proceedings will incorporate the Winchester land use study recommendations when evaluating land use patterns and policies and will also evaluate the zoning, infrastructure capacity and design guidelines. The study outreach efforts indicated that Winchester may become a significant tourist and transit hub due to its proximity to a rail line, state Route 79, Domenigoni Parkway and Diamond Valley Lake.
The county’s General Plan Advisory Committee considered the proposal to initiate general plan amendment proceedings at the committee’s Oct. 6 meeting. The unanimous vote to recommend initiation was preceded by comments that higher density development should be considered near future transit stations.
The planning commission’s Dec. 6 hearing included comments that the amendment would need to address infrastructure constraints to support future development opportunities, and 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 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 based on the Winchester land use study are being initiated by the county, the county will cover the estimated $987,743 cost for the general plan amendment, zone consistency program and environmental analysis. If funds are available, the actual general plan amendment and rezone are expected to occur during fiscal year 2019-2020.