Prior to accepting an application for a development project, the Department typically suggests to a developer whether or not the preparation of a specific plan is either warranted or required under state law.
In those instances where county staff suggests to a developer that a specific plan is warranted, the reason is usually that the customary methods of regulating the development the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance are inadequate to deal with the nature, scope, or intensity of a development proposal.
Per policies of the Kern County General Plan, a specific plan is required for all commercial and industrial development equal to or greater than 40 acres in a rural area. Projects defined as a “land project” also require the preparation of a specific plan. A “land project” is defined as follows.
- The subdivision contains 50 or more parcels of which any 50 are both (a) not improved with residential, industrial, commercial, or institutional buildings; and (b) offered for sale, lease, or financing for purposes other than industrial, commercial, institutional, or commercial agricultural uses.
- The subdivision is located in an area in which les than 1,500 registered voters reside within the subdivision or within two miles of the proposed project boundary.
- The subdivision does not constitute a community apartment project as defined in Business and Professions code Section 11004, a project consisting of condominiums a defined in Section 783 of the Civil Code, or a stock cooperative as defined in Business and Professions Code Section 11003.2.
The General Plan also includes land use map codes Map Code 4.3. Those areas are committed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to an unspecified level of development. Generally speaking, however, intensified development cannot take place in those areas until the Board of Supervisors approves a specific plan of development for the area.