2.1 SPECIFIC PLAN ORIGINATION
Brooktrails Township is an unincorporated Mendocino County community consisting of 6,605 parcels located immediately northwest of the City of Willits (see Figure 2-1, Regional Location Map, and Figure 2-2, Site Location Map). Currently, Lake Emily and Lake Ada Rose at Brooktrails provide sufficient domestic water supply for 2,000 equivalent single-family dwelling units within the Township. However, as currently subdivided, 4,000 residential lots would not be supplied with water from existing sources.
Over the past decade, the Township Board of Directors has investigated ways to meet anticipated water needs for future growth. In 1981, the Township retained a consulting team to prepare an analysis of three alternative dam sites. Eight years later, the Township initiated preparation of the Willits Creek Reservoir Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Willits Creek Reservoir was a proposed 2,400 acre-foot impoundment, considered by the Township sufficient in size to allow buildout of the Township. The Draft EIR was completed and issued for agency and public review in July, 1991. However, through the review process, given existing environmental constraints of steepness of slope, slope stability, habitat, access and other community development issues, it became apparent that the size and cost of the reservoir would ultimately depend on how many residential units would, or could, actually be constructed
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within the Township.
Through the process of addressing comments on the scope and content of the EIR by various regulatory agencies and the public, the Township Board of Directors recognized that a community plan was necessary to address Township development potential and land use and environmental concerns to allow for a better understanding of the costs and impacts associated with the proposed Willits Creek Reservoir project. Accordingly, after several years of effort, the Township obtained legislation by the State legislature, and Township voter approval, authorizing the District to become the first special district in California to engage in land use planning decision-making. Mendocino County Ordinance No. 3829 adopted by the Board of Supervisors on August 18, 1992, established the Brooktrails Township Community Services District as the Brooktrails Area Planning Commission (planning authority granted by the State of California as delegated through Mendocino County), and noted it was the "function and duty" of the Planning Commission to prepare a Specific Plan pursuant to Section 65450 of the California Government Code and related General Plan amendments. This Specific Plan is the result of that legislation (does not include the Spring Creek and Sylvandale subdivisions).
2.2 PURPOSE OF SPECIFIC PLAN
A Specific Plan, as its name implies, is a detailed plan for the development of a specific area. The Brooktrails Township Specific Plan is the first Specific Plan to be prepared for the Township and forms a new beginning for the Township as a whole. This Plan represents the culmination of a planning concept that first surfaced approximately four years ago, and is the result of a community planning effort conducted over approximately three years. It has been prepared in an attempt to address numerous issues and concerns with respect to Brooktrails Township which have arisen over the past few years, related primarily to the quality and character of new development, the sequencing of community facilities and infrastructure, environmental protection and enhancement, public safety, recreation and related issues.
The purpose of this Plan is to provide for the orderly and systematic development of the Township in a method generally consistent with the Mendocino County General Plan. It encompasses the elements of the Mendocino County General Plan into a more refined document which focuses on the development of the Township property in particular. The Specific Plan establishes more specific goals, policies and conditions for the development of the Township. The Plan provides for the development of 4,940 acres of the Township, including greenbelt area, in a community consisting of primarily residential and public open space preserve land, with some commercial land uses, while observing and incorporating the environmental characteristics, opportunities and constraints inherent within the Planning area and surroundings. This Specific Plan has been prepared in accordance with the requirements set forth in California Government Code Section 65451.
A Specific Plan is a policy or regulatory tool used to guide community development. Specific Plans may be adopted either by resolution or ordinance. This allows cities and counties to choose whether their specific plans will be policy-oriented (adopted by resolution), regulatory (adopted by ordinance) or both. Because this Specific Plan essentially provides more detailed policy guidance, it is a "policy" level plan and is adopted by resolution. The notable exception is Section 10.2 of Chapter 10, Community
Design, which addresses site development standards. Because Section Two of Chapter 10 establishes site development standards, this portion of the Specific Plan is "regulatory" and is adopted by ordinance and becomes part of the County Zoning Ordinance.
Because the Township is in an unincorporated area of Mendocino County, the Specific Plan will provide a bridge between the County's General Plan and future development within the Township in a more specific manner than is possible under the current Development Review procedures and community-wide zoning ordinance. The Specific Plan will also have implications for the provision of, and budgeting for, community services inclusive of utilities, roads, fire protection and other functions and activities.
As further example, a Specific Plan can, as implemented, amend zoning ordinances to create more appropriate land use or density designations; address specific area concerns, such as hillside development; and can serve as a basis for other community planning policy such as the conservation of natural resources potentially affecting quality of life issues in a single package tailored to particular land uses in a specific geographic area. For the Township, the Specific plan process concludes with a new plan for Brooktrails and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for that plan. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the Specific Plan is regarded as a "project," and allows for the formulation of specific mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts which are factored into the Specific Plan for implementation.
The Brooktrails Township Specific Plan will serve as a comprehensive planning document for the Township as it continues to grow. It includes development goals and policies, land use regulations, a capital improvement program and an overview of financing measures. It integrates land use controls that replaces the existing Development Review Board Ordinance and Interim Site Development Standards.
In summary, this Specific Plan is intended to provide a comprehensive set of plans, guidelines, regulations and implementation program for guiding and ensuring the orderly development of the Township Planning area and processing development applications in accordance with the land use plan contained in this document. Implementation of the Plan involves commitments to public and private improvements as well as to site-specific developments consistent with the Plan Goals and Policies for implementation. The overall goals and policies for Specific Plan implementation provide the rationale for the development regulations found herein. As set forth by state law, it establishes the objectives and goals to guide the location, intensity and character of land uses, the circulation pattern and necessary infrastructure improvements, the organization and design of the Township, and the implementation actions required to realize Plan recommendations.
2.3 SCOPE OF SPECIFIC PLAN
As noted previously, Specific Plans provide a greater level of specificity in the planning and development of projects and development sites of special interest or value to a community or region than does a General Plan. As required under California law, Specific Plans are to contain the following:
(a) ... a text and diagram or diagrams which specify all of the following in detail:
(1) The distribution, location, and extent of the uses of land, including open space, within the area covered by the plan.
(2) The proposed distribution, location, and extent and intensity of major components of public and private transportation, sewage, water, drainage, solid waste disposal, energy, and other essential facilities proposed to be located within the area covered by the plan and needed to support the land uses described in the plan.
(3) Standards and criteria by which development will proceed, and standards for the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources, where applicable.
(4) A program of implementation measures including regulations, programs, public works projects, and financing measures necessary to carry out paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).
(b) ... a statement of the relationship of the specific plan with the general plan.
In addition to the items noted above, this Specific Plan also addresses environmental resources, public safety and community design. The Specific Plan contains numerous goals and implementing policies with respect to the following chapters: Chapter 4, Land Use and Planning; Chapter 5, Housing and Commercial Development; Chapter 6, Environmental Resources; Chapter 7, Community Facilities and Services; Chapter 8, Public Safety; Chapter 9, Cultural Resources; and Chapter 10, Community Design. These chapters contain the specific goals and implementing policies germane to each topical area pertaining to the distribution, extent and intensity of Plan components, and provide explanations of how the goals and policies manifest themselves in the Plan. These chapters also provide written descriptions and diagrams of planned components and improvements that support the Plan proposals, including circulation, water, sewage, redevelopment and the protection of existing natural resources of vegetation and wildlife, hydrology and water quality, soils, and noise and air quality, all of which define the relative quality of life to be found within the Township by residents and property owners.
Details regarding implementation of the Specific Plan goals and policies and Specific Plan administration are provided in each chapter. The Capital Improvements and Financing Program (Chapter 11) provides estimated costs of the public works projects, describes measures by which each public works project will be financed, and identifies those responsible for financing and carrying out each improvement. The discussion on financing measures outlines financing measures necessary for implementing the Specific Plan proposals other than capital improvements, such as the acquisition of property development rights, and describes the items in need of future financing, estimated costs, how they will be financed and those responsible for financing.
The discussion on Specific Plan Implementation and Administration (Chapter 12), identifies the regulations and/or ordinances that must be adopted or amended to implement the Specific Plan. Chapter 12 also describes state, county and Township requirements for amendments, development review procedures, and actions by the Township Board of Directors, and documents those projects and/or implementation measures
and mechanisms that will/will not be exempt from additional environmental review. The Appendices provides summaries of key Specific Plan background data as necessary and the Specific Plan EIR list of mitigation measures.
The development goals and policies are based on social and environmental issues discussed on previous occasions by community residents. The development goals and policies are also based on existing environment constraints to development and construction, issues raised in correspondence (including the EIR Notice of Preparation), many of which pertain to the distribution, location and extent of land uses. The text includes a Zoning map and written description of the Specific Plan features, the characteristics of each Plan land use designation, standards by which development will proceed, and criteria for environmental resource conservation.
2.4 BASIS OF SPECIFIC PLAN
In December, 1993, the District formed a Community Vision Focus Group consisting of 15 individual property owners. The purpose of the Focus Group was to develop a community vision statement and provide recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding growth within the Township. In addition, the Focus Group was charged with the responsibility of preparing and recommending to the Board various mechanisms and procedures in which the Vision could best be realized.
Board Resolution No. 1993-36 (adopted November 16, 1993), stated the following with respect to the Community Vision Focus Group:
"(1) to assemble a group of influential Brooktrails property owners (stakeholders) that represent the full spectrum of property owners and challenge them to develop a community vision statement;
"To Create a forum for discussing, debating and reaching agreement about growth issues and other planning goals that are an inherent part of the vision;
"To obtain the support or 'buy in' of the community in the vision statement that serves as the basis for the specific plan, so that all subsequent planning is based on and reflects the concerns of the community; the specific plan becomes the community's plan, rather than one formulated by outside consultants."
The result was the Community Vision Focus Group Report and Recommendations, June, 1994. The Vision Statement, contained in the Focus Group Report and as amended and adopted by the Board of Directors is reproduced at the beginning of this Specific Plan.
Please note that an important component of the Community Vision Focus Group Report was Chapter 3, entitled Proposed Overall Goals and Objectives, which contained a series of proposed goals and objectives directed toward implementing the Vision Statement. At its regularly scheduled meeting of December 20, 1994, the Board of Directors reviewed and revised the Proposed Overall Goals and Objectives, as recommended by the Community Vision Focus Group, to be considered in developing the Specific Plan.
Thus, the Vision Statement and Preliminary Overall Goals and Objectives as adopted by the Brooktrails Board of Directors form the foundation on which the Specific Plan goals and implementation policies are based. The various Chapters (Chapter 4, Land Use and Planning, Chapter 6, Environmental Resources, etc.), contained in the Specific Plan as described previously (see Section 2.3, Scope of Specific Plan), are designed to implement the many goals and objectives as approved by the Board of Directors. Accordingly, to facilitate understanding and use of the Specific Plan, each adopted statement (goal or objective) is referenced as to the page number in this Specific Plan where each is discussed and implemented. The adopted Preliminary Overall Goals and Objectives, are thus reproduced in their entirety (Table 2-1), along with the location in the Specific Plan where each is discussed.
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2.5 RELATIONSHIP TO JURISDICTIONS AND PLANS
While the Specific Plan addresses Brooktrails proper, the area to be considered for planning purposes includes those lands within and adjacent to the Township that could reasonably be expected to be influenced by growth within the Township up to, and including, buildout. Therefore, the implications of potential growth within the Township as related to unincorporated lands surrounding the Township and nearby City of Willits are considered in this Specific Plan, inclusive of traffic, utilities, public services and other subject areas.
This Specific Plan is structured to implement the provisions of the Mendocino County General Plan by creating a bridge between broad based General Plan policies and specific social, physical and environmental characteristics of the Brooktrails Township. The Mendocino County General Plan, as revised, was adopted by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on April 26, 1993, and sets forth the general guidelines for orderly growth and development within unincorporated areas of Mendocino County. It also provides direction for zoning, subdivision regulations, intensity of development, land use and the design of public facilities.
This Plan is a refinement of the basic development goals and policies of the General Plan. It establishes more detailed and specific goals and policies for development of the Township. A definitive description of the relationship of the Specific Plan to the provisions of the Mendocino County General Plan is provided in Chapter 13, Relationship to Mendocino County General Plan.
City of Willits
The Township is located approximately 1 mile northwest of the City of Willits, which has a population of 5,300 residents. The City of Willits is an incorporated area of 2.8 square miles, and is recognized in the City's General Plan as a subregional commercial
and industrial center, serving a market area of about 15,000 people. The City's location along the U.S. Highway 101 growth corridor suggests that Willits is increasingly linked to the growing San Francisco Bay Area, particularly with regard to the emerging employment center in and around the City of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County.
The City of Willits General Plan revision, adopted by the Willits City Council on August 12, 1992, stresses the creation of a self-sustaining community with a balance of jobs and housing, and the retention of a small town character which is reflected in the design of its residences, commercial buildings and public open space, in lieu of what could otherwise be perceived as a residential bedroom community. The Willits General Plan recognizes the presence of the Township, and recognizes the potential for growth and an increased population base within the Township. Correspondingly, growth within the Township under buildout conditions, would be expected to affect the City of Willits, particularly with respect to traffic increases, commercial/office space use, and increased demands on sewage treatment facilities. Correspondingly, this Plan considers these potential impacts on the City of Willits resulting from growth within the Township itself, and contains features to mitigate these potential impacts.
Chapter 2 of the Willits General Plan Technical Appendices Background Reports makes special reference to the Township's growth and development. The views expressed are those of the General Plan Background Report preparers, not necessarily adopted by the City Council. However, the Background Report material does provide a perspective on the general concerns respecting growth in the Township when the Willits General Plan Revision 2020 was prepared. Section 2.260 of Background Report 2.000, Summary of Issues and Suggested Planning Approach, is provided for informational purposes and states:
"...The level of future development which occurs in Brooktrails Township will have an influence on the nature, extent and location of future development in Willits. "
"In some respects, it is the in the interest of the City for Brooktrails Township to overcome its growth constraints.
The City's high dependence on sales tax revenue makes Brooktrails growth desirable in order to maintain and improve local services and infrastructure. Similarly, efforts to promote downtown revitalization would benefit from additional development within Brooktrails. Perhaps most importantly, residential growth which occurs at Brooktrails does not require the same level of local government services as do homes built within the City limits. This enables the City to enjoy many of the revenue benefits of urban growth without paying all of the service costs. For these reasons, the City may wish to consider efforts to assist Brooktrails in overcoming its infrastructure constraints. At the same time, however, Brooktrails Township must recognize that its future growth will have an impact on Willits, particularly with regard to traffic. Mitigation of traffic impacts on Willits should, therefore, be a component of all proposals to remove Brooktrails infrastructure constraints."
The Specific Plan addresses the issues noted in the above paragraph, including potential traffic impacts.