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Land Use Services

Your County – Your Future

County residents and other community stakeholders will play a key role in developing the first-of-its-kind Countywide Plan, which will be used by the Board of Supervisors to evaluate development projects, establish County priorities, and make budgetary decisions for years to come.

“This is a historic and pivotal moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Some counties and cities have made their general plans more comprehensive than before, but no one has set out to create anything like the Countywide Plan, which will address and improve all areas of life in all of our great and diverse communities.”

During the past six months, the County initiated work on the plan and conducted a pilot outreach effort in Bloomington. The majority of outreach will take place this year as the County conducts events and meetings throughout the county nearly every month.  Additional outreach will take place during 2017 and 2018. countywide plan logo

The Countywide Plan outreach program will build upon the previous five years of public engagement conducted through the Countywide Vision, Community Vital Signs Initiative, and Renewable Energy and Conservation Element. Thousands of residents, all 24 cities and towns, and hundreds of stakeholders from local, regional, state, and federal agencies and organizations participated in those engagement efforts.

Public input will be sought at both the community and countywide level through workshops, meetings, events, and through the project’s website, www.countywideplan.com, where a timeline of the outreach schedule will be maintained.

The new Countywide Plan website serves as a key component of the public participation and engagement process for updating the Countywide Plan and Community Plans.

The site serves as a 24-hour resource for the public to provide input and access background information, public meeting schedules, and copies of relevant documents, presentations and other meeting materials. Draft documents and other work products will be added to the website as they become available. Visitors to the site will be able to take surveys, and submit comments and photos for use in the Countywide Plan. The public can use the website to sign up for email or text notifications to stay up-to-date on project-related news.

Also, beginning next month, the County will publish the Countywide Connection, an electronic newsletter specific to the Countywide Plan project. The Countywide Connection will provide timely information about progress on the project, meeting announcements, how residents can be heard during the planning process, and links to the latest project surveys, documents, and resources.

The first issue of the Countywide Connection will focus on an overview of the Countywide Plan, provide an update of major project components, and highlight public outreach events for Community Plans. Three more newsletters are anticipated to be released over the duration of the project to provide updates to the community of key milestones and achievements of the process. Countywide Connection will be available at www.countywideplan.com, on CountyWire at https://wp.sbcounty.gov/cao/countywire/, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/countywideplan/. Residents will also be able to subscribe to Countywide Connection and have it emailed to them.

The Community Plans component of the Countywide Plan effort will generate customized action plans for recognized communities in unincorporated areas. Outreach to various community areas will begin in the spring and be conducted in multiple phases throughout this year and 2017.

Workshops for the first 11 communities are planned for February, March, and July at locations within each community. Specific workshop locations, dates, and times are available on the page of the Countywide Plan website dedicated to Community Plans: www.countywideplan.com/cp.

The workshops will focus on identifying and prioritizing what each community values, explore what each community wants for its future, and identify specific actions to implement community goals and objectives. Ultimately, the County is seeking to partner with the public to prioritize how County resources should be utilized for each community and how the community can participate in the creation of its own future.

Those who are unable to attend the workshops will be able to participate by exploring workshop materials online and taking online surveys on the website.

County embarks on first-of-its-kind Countywide Plan

sb_cologo-full_colorSan Bernardino County today launched an effort to go further than any county or city has ever gone with a general plan by creating a web-based comprehensive “complete county” plan.

General plans are almost always strictly rule books for guiding development and growth. San Bernardino County’s General Plan, last updated in 2007, will go well beyond a traditional general plan to become a comprehensive Countywide Plan that complements and informs the Countywide Vision, www.sbcounty.gov/vision, by taking into account all services – not just land-use planning – provided by County Government, and the unique values and priorities of each community. It will serve as a guide for all County decision-making, financial planning, and communications.

The web-based format will provide a wealth of easily accessible data on how the County operates, and allow independent research using County data and information.  A development toolkit will guide users to resources that will help them develop priorities in their quest for a complete community.

The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a contract with planning consultants PlaceWorks Inc. to assist the County in creating the Countywide Plan over the next four years. PlaceWorks has assembled a team of subcontractors specializing in economic analysis, transportation and environmental planning, data management, and web design.  Redlands-based Esri is part of the consultant team.

“This is a historic and pivotal moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Some counties and cities have made their general plans more comprehensive than before, but no one has set out to create anything like the Countywide Plan, which will address and improve all areas of life in all of our great and diverse communities.”

The Countywide Plan will include:

— A County Policy Plan, which will be an update and expansion of the County’s General Plan and community plans for the unincorporated areas. It will be a new approach to County planning with a Regional Services Plan for social services, healthcare services, public safety, and other regional county services within both incorporated and unincorporated areas.

— A County Business Plan, which will contain governance policies and operational metrics that outline the County’s approach to providing municipal and regional services.

— A Regional Issues Forum, which will be an online resource for sharing information and resources related to issues confronting the County as a whole, including the work of the Countywide Vision element groups.

Community and stakeholder workshops are projected to begin by the end of the year, and final products will be subject to a public hearing process.

The Countywide Plan is one of a series of innovations San Bernardino County is creating and implementing to improve services and save money and time for taxpayers.

This month, San Bernardino County became the first Southern California county to use virtual building inspections to save travel costs and wait times. The County is also instituting a new system to identify and reduce welfare fraud.

During the past four years, the county has claimed more than 100 national and state innovation awards for developing or improving services for county residents and investors.

County honored with state, national awards in 2014

Members of the County Sheriff and Fire departments accept their award from CSAC.

Members of the County Sheriff and Fire departments accept their award from CSAC.

Teaching homeowners to prevent fires around their homes, training inmates to fight wildfires and working to end human trafficking are three innovative County programs honored today by the California State Association of Counties.

California State Association of Counties Associate Legislative Representative Cara Martinson appeared at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to deliver the three 2014 CSAC Challenge Awards to the Land Use Services Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the County Fire Department, and the District Attorney’s Office.

“These awards demonstrate our County’s commitment to developing new and innovative approaches to enhancing public safety,” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford said.

The CSAC Challenge Awards are part of a highly competitive recognition program that honors the best and most innovative among California’s 58 counties.

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County seeks more public input on renewable energy

sparcforumThe County wants to hear from you to help Land Use Services develop a renewable energy and conservation element for incorporation into the General Plan.

Land Use Services has created a public participation program called the San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) and began collecting input online and in a series of three community workshops held around the county.

Many of you participated in round one of public workshops and now it is time for round two. This month, the County is hosting a second round of workshops where you can learn more about the County’s renewable energy plan and share your thoughts on the draft goals. The goals will guide development of the County’s Renewable Energy Element. Find the workshop closest to you:

  •  Yucca Valley – August 216-8 p.m. Community Center, Yucca Room (57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284)
  •  Big Bear Lake – August 25, 6-8 p.m. Big Bear Fire Department #281 (41090 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315)
  •  Barstow – August 266-8 p.m. First Baptist Church (1320 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311)
  •  Hesperia – August 286-8 p.m. Hesperia Library (9650 Seventh Avenue, Hesperia, CA 92345)
  •  San Bernardino – August 2910 a.m.-12 p.m. Covington Chambers, County Government Center (385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92415)

A third round of public workshops is expected in the fall. Read what others are saying, share your own ideas now at www.SPARCForum.organd plan to participate at one of the upcoming meetings.

An interactive website, www.SPARCForum.org, provides 24-hour public access to project information and opportunities to engage in all phases of updating the General Plan. SPARC Forum also provides access to people who cannot attend public workshops.

More about SPARC: The San Bernardino County Partnership for Renewable Energy and Conservation (SPARC) will provide a framework for renewable energy development while protecting communities and natural resources. Community input will help shape the drafting of a County General Plan Renewable Energy Element for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.

Questions? Visit www.SPARCForum.org or contact the County Land Use Services Department at (909) 252-5105.

Bloomington residents, project developers discuss future at town hall

bloomingtontownhallBloomington residents and project developers gathered at Mary Lewis Elementary School on Thursday night to attend a town hall hosted by the County of San Bernardino’s Land Use Services Department to help plan for Bloomington’s future.

The town hall was held to hear ideas developed since last year’s Community Fair, to talk about Bloomington’s history and how the community wants to see Bloomington move forward.

The County Board of Supervisors has identified the Bloomington community and the Valley Corridor in particular as an area for concentrated reinvestment.

The project area stretches approximately 1.25 miles along Valley Boulevard between Alder Avenue to the west and Spruce Avenue to the east. This project supplements the ongoing investments on Valley Boulevard including construction of median improvements, sewer and water line extensions along Valley Boulevard, new housing, and a new branch library.

Part of the Valley Corridor Project includes implementing a “specific plan.” This plan will provide not only the general vision and policy framework to guide development, but also the regulatory mechanisms that foster timely and quality development.

“This Valley Corridor Project signifies a whole new frontier of opportunities for business owners and residents who call Bloomington home. We’re using this new project as a flagship for new standards and models for what is to come.” said 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

“I do feel the Valley Corridor Project is an important thing for Bloomington. We need to show improvements and growth in this town, and I believe this is a start. People are hopeful as to what’s going on with the library and other improvements,” said Betty Gosney, vice-chair of the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Council.

Land Use Services has a website dedicated to the Valley Corridor Project. Visit www.valleycorridor.com for complete details.

Town hall set for improving Valley Boulevard in Bloomington

color seal smallJoin the County of San Bernardino at the Bloomington Town Hall to be held on Thursday, July 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mary Lewis Elementary School, 18040 San Bernardino Avenue in Bloomington.

See ideas developed since last year’s Community Fair. Talk about Bloomington’s history, how your community is doing today, and help plan for the future. Generate new ideas for changes that can foster a healthier Bloomington. Come be a part of an interactive workshop where you will have the opportunity to map out your ideas. Community input will inform and shape physical and programmatic improvements through a Valley Corridor Specific Plan.

For more information, call 909.387.4431 or visit www.valleycorridor.com.

County to hold second Joshua Tree community meeting

SBCountySEALBack in September, residents and stakeholders turned out in large numbers for a spirited discussion about the future of Joshua Tree during a special community planning workshop conducted by the County.

Experts on the issues raised in September from the County and other agencies will be available to answer questions and discuss additional concerns. Topics will include the desired character of the community of Joshua Tree, environmental concerns, renewable energy, transportation, bike and pedestrian facilities, tourism, housing, and incorporation.

The community is invited to participate from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26 at the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst Avenue in Joshua Tree. The meeting will begin with a brief recap of the comments received in September then move quickly into an open house format where residents may meet individually with representatives from County departments and other agencies.

For more information about the meeting, contact Michelle McCoy at the Land Use Services Department at (909) 252-5105 or email Michelle.McCoy@lus.sbcounty.gov.

Citizens praise Supervisors and County Land Use staff for work on solar energy ordinance

Solar PanelsCitizens thanked the Board of Supervisors and the Land Use Services Department today for working with the community on developing a solar energy ordinance which balances the preservation of the environment and desert landscape with the demands of a burgeoning new energy industry.

During today’s Board meeting, the Supervisors voted to approve the new ordinance, effectively lifting a temporary moratorium imposed in June.

Land Use Services held community meetings to address concerns about new solar energy projects, mostly from citizens throughout the High Desert. After hearing those concerns, new guidelines that will protect natural resources and maintain compatibility with current neighborhood and future development needs were written into the ordinance.

For instance, developers of solar projects will be required to obtain a special use permit which allows for Code Enforcement to monitor the sites to make sure projects are in compliance. The projects must be compatible with current and future land use and have minimal impact on the environment, ecosystem and scenic views.

The Board is expected to adopt the ordinance on December 17 and it would go into effect 30 days later.

Planning Director Terri Rahhal told the Board the department is still working on creating a renewable energy plan that will establish new guidelines into the County’s development code by 2015. The solar energy ordinance is expected to incorporate those changes as the development code for renewable energy projects is updated.

“It is a first step,” Rahhal said of the ordinance. “It doesn’t answer every question or concern out there.”

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