Zoning Language Update for Former Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) Properties

Project Contact: Robert Efird, Project Manager PDS.advanceplanning@sdcounty.ca.gov or (858) 505-6677

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The County of San Diego is preparing an amendment to the County Zoning Ordinance as a result of a settlement agreement related to former Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) Lands (see map below).

The purpose of this amendment is to add language to identify former FCI properties and to require certain analyses for  amendments to the General Plan land use designations for any project within FCI lands sought by project applicants that would increase residential density beyond what the General Plan allows. The proposed amendment does not affect existing Use Regulations or General Plan densities.

These additions will be incorporated in the Zoning Ordinance as a new Special Area Designator for former FCI Lands and generally include the following items:

  1. Identify the subject properties (former FCI properties outside Villages/Rural Villages) and assign a designation requiring the items below.
  2. Notify property owners if they are in a former FCI Lands property.
  3. Demonstrate the proposed project has adequate water supply.
  4. Demonstrate the proposed project does not increase fire risk.
  5. Demonstrate the proposed project is compatible with environmental resources and surrounding land use patterns.
  6. Demonstrate the project includes “carbon neutral” design and building features, such as energy efficient systems and appliances.
  7. Demonstrate the project will not induce further development within the Cleveland National Forest or other open spaces.
  8. Analyze the project’s consistency with regional housing plans/policies.

These items would be completed in addition to/in coordination with standard California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) evaluations.

What is was the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI)?

FCI was a voter-approved initiative which required that private lands within the Cleveland National Forest administrative boundary (see map below) have a minimum lot size of 40 acres. The initiative was originally approved in 1993 and expired on December 31, 2010.

After the FCI expired, the County of San Diego prepared a General Plan Amendment (GPA) and Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) to designate these lands with land use categories consistent with the 2011 General Plan. This GPA was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on October 14, 2016 and approved by the Board of Supervisors on December 14, 2016.

Click here for full resolution PDF map

Former Forest Conservation Initiative Property Map

Why is this change being proposed?

Several organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the 2016 FCI GPA SEIR and the consistency of the FCI GPA with the 2011 General Plan. A settlement agreement was reached on February 26, 2019 and the County agreed to consider adding the language above to the Zoning Ordinance for former FCI Lands outside of County-designated Villages and Rural Villages.

Public Meetings:

  • Informational Meeting #1     
    • Tuesday, December 17, 2019
    • Pauma Valley Community Center
    • 16650 Highway 76, Pauma Valley, CA 92061
    • 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Informational Meeting #2
    • Wednesday, December 18, 2019
    • Descanso Branch Library
    • 9545 River Drive, Descanso, CA 91916
    • 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM