By Joe Naiman
San Diego County Planning Commission approved a tentative subdivision map for the 77-acre MDS Development site off Black Canyon Road.
The map will be finalized once the project satisfies conditions set by the county’s Department of Public Works.
The commission’s 6-0 vote on Aug. 17, with Leon Brooks absent, creates 27 residential lots ranging from 2.0 to 9.1 acres on the property at the north end of Lapis Lane just west of Black Canyon Road. The map also includes a gated emergency access road that will connect to Lapis Lane.
“This project will provide a benefit to the community by providing secondary access,” said project consultant Don Ayles. “It will provide, for this area of the community, fire protection by linkage and connection.”
A new road, Tiffany Real, will extend to Black Canyon Road along a public easement. Tiffany Real will also extend into the project boundaries as a private road, and new roads Karat Lane and Jewel Place will provide access to all lots. The emergency access road will begin at the southern end of Karat Lane.
The off-site project improvements include widening Lapis Lane between Ramona Real and Pile Street to a graded width of 30 feet and an improved width of 24 feet, and widening Magnolia Avenue for 174 feet at State Route 78 to provide a second southbound turning lane on Magnolia.
The property has A70 limited agriculture zoning, which stipulates a minimum lot size of two acres. Because the project was submitted before August 2003, it could be processed under the previous general plan, which allowed for minimum parcel sizes of two acres if the average slope of a lot was less than 25 percent. Under the new general plan, a maximum of 15 units would be allowed on an identical site.
The county’s Planning and Environmental Review Board (PERB) first heard the project in September 2003. Issues of traffic impacts on State Route 67, cumulative traffic impacts, open space design, and fire clearing requirements led to a continuance, and in April 2004 PERB sent the project back to county staff for further analysis.
“Every time it was ready to come forward, some new policy or some new issue came forward,” Ayles said.
The county commission’s actions also included adopting the environmental Mitigated Negative Declaration, which had a public review period from Feb. 16 through April 2, and was revised on April 26 in response to public comments.
Nicole Street resident Ben Fastiggi opposed the project during the commission hearing.
“I shouldn’t have to deal with two-acre zoning when I’m living on a four-acre zoning parcel,” he said.
Fastiggi also opposed the allowance for off-site mitigation.
“I’m the guy that’s affected by their building,” he said. “It should be on their property.”
Oak Meadow Drive resident Leonard Fletcher supported the project.
“I can guarantee you a house will not use the same amount of water as an avocado tree,” said Fletcher, who raises avocados. “Ramona desperately needs the economic base. I think there’s a lot of very positive things from this.”
Ramona Community Planning Group in April 2012 voted 9-0, with three abstentions, to recommend approval of the project.