November 18, 2018

Precise Development Plan

WHAT IS A PRECISE DEVELOPMENT (PD) PLAN?

The Precise Development (PD) Combining District is used to designate areas with unique site characteristics or environmental conditions, or areas surrounded by sensitive land uses to ensure that new development in such areas is compatible with the existing land uses and identified constraints. The PD Combining District may be combined with any base district. No use shall be established, changed, or altered, no development shall occur and no building or grading permit shall be issued for any use or development in the PD Combining District, except for one (1) single-family residence on a single lot, until an application for site development plan review has been submitted and approved by the Director of the Planning Department or the Board of Supervisors.

WHAT ARE THE SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A PD PLAN?

Applications and instructions for preparation of a PD plan can be mailed or obtained directly from the Planning Department. Submittal requirements include the payment of filing fees, property owner authorization, a legal description of the site, and a completed “Hazardous Waste Site Verification Statement.” The application must include a scaled plot plan that consists of detailed information regarding the project. A more complete instructional brochure is available for preparation of the PD plan.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that an environmental study be prepared for certain types of discretionary permits. Consideration of a PD plan does not ordinarily require an environmental evaluation; however, when combined with another request, such as a zone change, a study may be required.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS A PD PLAN?

A preliminary review is performed by planning staff to ensure that all forms are complete and that all necessary information has been submitted. Applicants should allow two (2) weeks for completion of this review. If the application is incomplete, the applicant will be notified in writing of what additional information is required. A typical PD plan requires approximately six (6) weeks to process from the time the application has been accepted as complete.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS REQUIRED FOR APPROVAL OF A PD PLAN?

Completed applications are set for a Director’s Hearing. Property owners surrounding the site of the proposed development are notified by mail, and the case is advertised in a locally circulated newspaper. In instances where a majority of the parcels abutting the project site are one acre or larger in size, the notification radius is expanded to 1,000 feet of the site. Director’s Hearings are conducted by the Hearing Officer and are held the first and third Thursday (excluding holidays) at 10:00 a.m. in the first floor conference room of the Public Services Building, 2700 “M” Street, Bakersfield.

A staff report is then prepared that contains proposed conditions for approval. A planner will contact the applicant prior to the hearing to discuss the recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to read the staff report and question anything that is unclear or confusing. Copies of the staff report are normally available one (1) week prior to the scheduled hearing.

Public testimony and opinion are always welcome at hearings; however, PD plans usually propose uses that are allowed “by right” in the zone district, so comments are typically limited to the appropriateness of proposed conditions. When a proposed use in a PD District requires the approval of a conditional use permit, the Hearing Officer has the discretion to entertain public opposition to the specific use. For example, an applicant may want to build apartments in a C-1 PD District. Since the development of apartments in a C-1 PD District requires the approval of a conditional use permit, as well as a PD plan, the Hearing Officer would consider the suitability of the site for apartments, as well as pertinent conditions for the use.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PD PLAN IS APPROVED?

Any decision rendered at the Director’s Hearing is subject to appeal by any interested party. The appeal period is fourteen (14) calendar days, including the date of hearing. If no appeal is filed, the PD plan will become effective after the appeal period is over. If an appeal is submitted, it will be scheduled for hearing before the Board of Supervisors, and some conditions of approval require compliance prior to issuance of building permits, while others must be complied with by the time of final inspection. If no building permits are required, the conditions must be satisfied prior to establishment of any use on the project site. Applicants have a two (2) year time period to obtain permits or establish the proposed use. If an extension of time becomes necessary, it must be submitted prior to the project’s expiration date.

ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS?

The Planning Director has the authority to approve a temporary use in a PD District if the use involves no structures or buildings, and if it is determined that such temporary use would not be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare. No temporary use shall ever ripen into the status of a permanent right or legal, nonconforming use, and approval of the temporary use shall be contingent upon compliance with any applicable conditions. A temporary PD plan application must be submitted with filing fees to qualify for this exception.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LAND USE CHANGES?

The Planning Director may approve minor plan modifications to an approved PD plan if it is determined that the modification does not constitute a substantial change in the approved project. Such minor plan modifications are ministerial and are handled “over-the-counter” by planning staff. A significant modification to an approved PD plan would require the processing of a new request.

Staff is available to answer any questions that you may have regarding the precise development process. If further assistance is necessary, feel free to telephone (661) 862-8600 and ask for “zoning information.”

FORM 718 (1/2013)

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