New attempt to develop Yucaipa Ridge Rd (1-6-2023)

The developers submitted another proposal for the development of the 51 acres East of Yucaipa Ridge Road. The plan is very similar to the previous proposal and the changes insignificant.
Read the letter of the developers to the immediate neighbors.

Interpretation of the Friends of the North Bench

On January 6th, 2023, some of our neighbors, -those bordering the proposed project to develop the land East of Yucaipa Ridge Road- received a letter in their mailboxes, informing them about the apparently updated proposal (it says “Final Proposal”), an attempt to squeeze in as many houses as possible into 51 acres of pristine land. The plot had not been developed before out of a reason: The San Andreas Fault lies directly under it, making the ground inherently unstable. Not only are earthquakes something to consider, but the ground is also prone to slower movements of the earth. On top of that, the land is sloped so that building on it becomes expensive.

The entire North Bench is zoned to take these topological and seismic characteristics into consideration. Low density housing - One residence per one acre or more as specified in the current zoning regulation of the General Plan - has many advantages in such circumstances: Structures can be built where it is safe (more leeway for placement), if there are fires or other disasters, it is easier to evacuate, and any damage to infrastructure is less expensive. There are many reasons why the North Bench is zoned for Rural Living and not for denser developments. We are not going to reiterate those reasons here, please refer to our previous analysis, comments, or the rebuttal. However, below is an interpretation of the sparse information that was provided in the letter of the developers (no plot map was provided) and how to respond.

  • The number of planned residences is unchanged, 51. This might seem OK at first, because the entire development area is 51 acres. However, much of the land is too expensive and treacherous to build on, so the effective area one could potentially develop is much less.
  • The proposal specifies 35 half acre lots and 16 quarter acre lots for senior living. On the previous proposal each lot had a significant portion that was unusable because the terracing between the lots (slope) was necessary for each individual plot to be flat.
    It needs to be seen on the plot map what “magic” was used to “mitigate” this issue.
  • The Rural Living portion of the North Bench was zoned for people who prefer a rural lifestyle, have (farm) animals, or other requirements that benefit from greater lots. This type of housing is not for everyone, especially because bigger lots are more expensive to maintain and care for, and it takes more effort and time to tend to them. Mindless cluster houses on small lots, -too small to support any of these activities in a Rural Living Zone or retirement homes- are inappropriate for such a Rural Living Zone.
  • The North Bench requires a certain degree of mobility. That is, it is inappropriate for senior housing, which benefits from good public transportation and stores in walking distance. All of which is not present in the North Bench.
  • Other points that have been brought up before were not addressed at all. They too are listed in previous statement; here is a summary:
    • Regular access - Problem with traffic: not enough space for additional roads, road widening, capacity, safety of school children pedestrians and animals (mostly no sidewalks) etc.
    • Emergency access is not sufficient (e.g., Fire, earthquakes, or mudslides), people will be trapped if something serious happens.
    • Utilities: There is already a problem with water pressure and volume, more houses will only increase these problems. Having a dense network of gas lines amplifies the dangers stated above.
    • Topological, seismic, and geographical questions remain unaddressed
    • The development is a barrier to wildlife from the bordering San Bernardino National Forest.
    • This development sets a precedent for other, future developments in the North Bench (and all of Yucaipa!), once it is approved the door is open for more cluster developments, and rows of houses that are built cheaply (maximize profit for developers) and look all the same; the charming character of the North Bench will be lost and be replaced by run of the mill homes.

What can you do?

  • You can print out the letter from the developer with your comments and return it to the City of Yucaipa. If you send us your letter, we will post it on this website so it is not ignored and can be searched.
  • You can send your comments to the current City Council members or call them and voice your opinion.
  • If you are a North Bench Resident or not, you can send the City of Yucaipa an envelope with address labels of yourself and ask to send you any information pertaining to areas of your interest, such as the Yucaipa Ridge Road Development (or any other developments in the city)
  • You can attend City Council or Planning Commission Meetings and speak up if you wish to do so. Your presence matters, because all members of City Council are elected by the Public (You!), they do not have a birth right for the powers that have been bestowed to them. City Staff too, they are Public Servants (paid for by your taxes) employed to serve the Public (You!). Your attendance matters, even if you do not speak up. This is how the first development proposal was denied.
  • Subscribe to our email list so we can advise you when important decisions are made by City Council or the Plannings Commission. Tell your friends to do the same, there is power in numbers!