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Public Takes Final Shots at 4-Year Plan

Riverside County supervisors hear zoning and other concerns on a blueprint for growth.

September 10, 2003|Janet Wilson | Times Staff Writer

Struggling to balance hundreds of requests from residents, developers and others, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday held what was billed as the last public hearing on its four-year, $40-million blueprint for growth in the county.

Scores of property owners checked the latest zoning maps, released Saturday after months of official scrutiny, and promptly lined up to complain to the supervisors that they wanted specific items changed again.

"In 1980, when my husband and I bought 10 acres in a rural area, we planted grapefruit, eucalyptus.... We looked forward to enjoying a rural lifestyle, and we did," said Kathryn Eeles, an elderly woman from the Red Hawk Valley area. "It's no longer rural.... As a widow, I am finding it financially difficult to continue to live there. If my property were zoned [for one house per] 5 acres, I could sell 5 acres and continue to stay there. Can you please do that right now, today?"

The audience cheered and applauded her demand.

Board chairman John F. Tavaglione said a final vote on the general plan, including any last changes, would be held Sept. 23. The plan and its related components, including a controversial conservation portion that limits development rights in certain areas, still face lawsuits from a variety of groups.

County planning staff also submitted proposed changes to try to rein in traffic that would be created by development allowed under the new plan.

Commercial growth would initially be limited to 40% in each geographic planning area. Planners also hope to shave 70,000 car trips in the Highway 70 area in coming decades, if necessary by imposing caps on the amount of new traffic allowed from residential projects.

"The supervisors have pretty much tried to give everybody everything they wanted," said Ed Studor, a senior county administrator, who acknowledged that by doing that, they had also created potential traffic nightmares down the road.

"This is the end. Today," he said of the requests being made at the public hearing. "We hope."

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