Wine Country Specific Plan affects now entire North Bench!
The initial area that was to be affected by the Wine Country Specific Plan was already over 1000 acres in size, the latest proposal triples that area including the entire North Bench.
An unbelievable development …
The proposed Wine Country Specific Plan, which would supersede the Zoning Element of Yucaipa’s General Plan, - should it get approved, - just got bigger, a lot bigger, it is now projected to be about 300% of its original size. The new plan includes the entire North Bench and would allow developers to build high-density houses, so called cluster houses everywhere in the North Bench. This is because the proposed plan changes the current zoning rules from one dwelling per acre to 4.6 houses per acre and change the current status of the area from Rural Living (RL) to simply Residential (RS or RM) (https://www.sbcounty.gov/Uploads/LUS/Handouts/ZONINGFAQ.pdf) with all associated consequences. As we stated before, there is a great likelihood that the vineyards which are planned in between the development clusters will eventually disappear and be converted into housing tracts as well. If there is a mix of vineyards and houses in the North Bench, then there is just not enough space for vineyards and the entire viticulture operation is very likely to fail because it is not economically viable. What will amplify this trend is the enormous financial pressure for winemakers to sell their land (the vineyards), because it is much more lucrative to build houses than to make wine.
The projected Wine Country Specific Plan, which on the surface looks like a boon or even a great opportunity for Yucaipa and anybody who wants to start a wine making business, is de facto a plan from developers and affiliates to take over the North Bench with all its beautiful open space and treat it like any other real estate and build houses for a profit. This is in defiance of the current local building code for Yucaipa, the will and interest of most people living in Yucaipa and Oak Glen, and it will be an irreversible loss of open space and the environment, because once our land is built up and developed there is no way back. The only ones who are going to benefit from this plan in the long term are developers everybody else including the owners of the vineyards will be on the losing end.