Friday, October 24, 2014 • 03:31
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Zoning Administrator finds CEQA compliance for lot split


July 02, 2014
The county's Zoning Administrator found that a proposed Jesmond Dene lot split will not require additional California Environmental Quality Act review.

The June 26 decision of Zoning Administrator Joe Farace does not approve or deny the proposed subdivision which would split a 5.7-acre property in the 25500 block of Rua Michelle into four residential lots. The decision on the lot split itself will be made by the director of the county's Department of Planning and Development Services (PDS), but Farace's decision finds that mitigation measures identified in the Environmental Impact Report of the county's general plan update will be undertaken. CEQA requires that a finding be made at a public hearing if impacts are identified which could be mitigated by undertaking previously-identified mitigation measures.

"I believe the project qualifies for the exemption," Farace said. "The project will undertake any feasible and applicable mitigation measures."

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the county's updated general plan, along with its Environmental Impact Report, on Aug. 3, 2011. CEQA allows for an exemption from additional environmental review for projects consistent with density established by an existing plan for which an EIR was certified except if project-specific significant effects are peculiar to the project or site. Under that CEQA section the examination of environmental effects is limited to impacts which are peculiar to the project or parcel and not analyzed as significant effects in a prior EIR, potential off-site impacts not addressed in the prior EIR, or previously-identified impacts which due to information not known when the EIR was certified would be more severe than cited in the EIR. If none of those three conditions apply, a project-specific EIR is not required solely on the basis of that impact.

Access to each parcel would be provided by individual driveways connecting to Rua Michelle, which is a private road, and one of the parcels would be a panhandle lot. The Valley Center Municipal Water District would provide water to the subdivision while each parcel would have individual on-site septic systems. The grading would require 7,130 cubic yards of cut and fill for the pads and driveway, although none of that fill dirt would need to be imported or exported.

An environmental Mitigated Negative Declaration for previous grading was completed in June 2008 and requires that two acres of chaparral mitigation credit be purchased, and a 2012 site visit by county staff determined that no additional mitigation would be necessary. "The habitat is no longer present," said PDS project manager Marisa Smith.

The property has Rural Residential zoning and a Semi-Rural 1 (one dwelling unit per one acre) land use designation.

The determination of the PDS director will include neighbors' concerns about the access road, and should the project be approved the conditions will include compliance with environmental measures.

"I just want to make sure the proper constraints are put on the developer," said Rua Michelle resident Craig Campman, who owns the first home on the access road.

A neighbor or other interested party can appeal the PDS director's decision, which would result in a public hearing on the actual approval or denial of the lot split.

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Michael Robledo