UPDATE: (Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009, 9:26 a.m.)—Kern County Planning Department Division Chief Lorelei Oviatt sent out the following note to a list of those who have been inquiring, including The Mountain Enterprise, about the status of tonight’s Planning Commission hearing (7 p.m. 1115 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers). The hearing is still firmly scheduled and no further DEIR study needs to be presented because the develper is "reducing" the size of the project, she said. Here, she is responding to Jan de Leeuw, a member of the TriCounty Watchdogs, a group that has run ads against Frazier Park Estates and presented data in hearings about what they say are negative cumulative impacts on air, water, traffic, viewscape, light pollution and "degradation of the ecotourism economic model preferred by the Mountain Communities" :
The applicants revision was provided to the public and the Commissioners in the Staff report released last Friday. for the Oct 8 hearing. It therefore has been made part of the public record and can be discussed. As it is a reduced project it can be considered as covered under the CEQA alternatives as it reduces impacts. The CEQA statues actually encourage project proponents to adjust their project based on public comment and does not mandate a new review period unless there is significant new information. As it is a reduced project, with all the same components of the original, it can be considered as covered under the CEQA alternatives as it reduces a number of impacts. It therefore, can be discussed.
It is not being recommended for approval by the Planning Department as it proposes uses in the western portion of the project ( which includes the area of disputes regarding ability to move water rights), significantly increases the number of lots which requires a finding of uncertainty for the sufficiency of water, includes the multifamily ( which is inconsistent with a policy in the Frazier Park/Lebec Specific plan to only allow single family dwellings in the Alquist priolo zone) and continues to request an exemption from the requirements of the Hillside Ordinance. The opportunity for public comment is still open and comments can continue to be made at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
See below for an explanation of what the developer is proposing in its new filing.
UPDATE: (Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, 12:13 p.m.)—Frazier Park Estates (FPE) developer Arciero & Sons, Inc. (from Paso Robles) has submitted a revision to its recent plans. The builders proposes that the 662 home Lebec development be downsized to 601 homes. The Kern County Planning Department has suggested 188 homes would be appropriate for the site surrounding Frazier Mountain High School. Significant concerns have been raised about inadequate water for the project.
A hearing was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m. at 1115 Truxtun Ave. in Bakersfield.
According to Planning Department Division Chief Lorelei Oviatt, because the revised plan “still requires that acreage be exempt from the [Kern County] Hillside Ordinance and because amendments to the policies of the Frazier Park/Lebec Specific Plan would still be required” her department is not recommending approval of the revision. She said department staff has asked the developer’s engineering firm Cornerstone Engineering to review the project and show how the plan can be redesigned to be in conformance with the Hillside Ordinance if the ultimate goal is to have more lots than recommended.
The Planning Commission’s last vote was a 2-2 tie, requiring that the hearing be repeated when Chris Babcock, the fifth commissioner, could attend. Supervisor Ray Watson’s appointee, Chair Ron Sprague, aroused anger in Mountain Community residents at the last hearing when he said that "this development will pull Frazier Park out of its hole," and then tried to find a way to an accelerated approval of the project despite warnings from the staff that it was against the law for them to proceed as he asked them to.
FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, 9:40 a.m.)—Frazier Park Estates (FPE) developer Arciero & Sons, Inc. (applicant: Fallingstar Homes) has submitted to Kern County Planning Department a revision in its recent plans for a 662 home Lebec development.
According to Kern County Planning Department Division Chief Lorelei Oviatt, the revision proposes a reduction in the number of proposed homes to 601.
Oviatt said that because the revised plan "still requires that acreage be exempt from the Hillside Ordinance," her department is not recommending approval of the revised plan. She said the department will ask the developer to explain how the plan can be redesigned to be in conformance with the Hillside Ordinance if his ultimate goal is to have more lots than recommended.
The full planning department staff report for the October 8 planning commission hearing can be downloaded here.
This is part of the October 02, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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