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County Aims to Make Zoning Regs Less Restrictive

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.
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RIVERSIDE - Over the next six months, Riverside County's regulatory code will undergo revisions intended to make it more "business- friendly," thanks to action today by the Board of Supervisors.

Based on a recommendation by Transportation and Land Management Agency Director Juan Perez, the board voted in favor of modifying the county's Land Use and Planning Ordinance so that the permit approval process is less burdensome and deadlines for building expansions are loosened up for the benefit of residential and commercial interests.

"We feel it's important to meet the goals of the board and make the ordinance more business-friendly," Perez said. "This could reap benefits for residents who want to improve their properties. We need development guidelines without ... undue burdens."

According to the TLMA, the ordinance, which applies only to unincorporated communities, has been in effect for 50 years and has undergone a variety of tweaks and updates, but none very comprehensive.

The revisions that the board authorized Perez to begin making are expected to be brought back for the supervisors' consideration before the end of the current fiscal year.

The proposed changes include:

-- extending the duration of conditional use permits and public use permits from two years to five years, allowing business owners more time to get projects off the ground;

-- expediting plot plan approvals for property owners seeking to add on to their homes;

-- prioritizing the processing of conditional use permits so that existing businesses planning minor expansion projects receive expedited handling; and

-- designating a "zoning administrator" who will have the discretion to interpret the revised Land Use and Planning Ordinance and implement its provisions.

For the last four years, the board has emphasized changing the general approach of county government in order to establish a more business-friendly environment, including fast-tracking qualifying projects and slashing fees charged to developers.



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