This Specific Plan represents a new beginning for the Brooktrails Township. Brooktrails has evolved from a second home community to one in which most of the homes are occupied by year-around permanent residents. This has resulted in major changes in the community relating to vehicular and pedestrian circulation, potential degradation of environmental resources and changes in quality of life. In addition, many environmental factors including steep slopes, soil instability, fault zones, high fire hazard, and potential dam inundation were not analyzed in a manner that would meet today's regulatory standards; any major project proposed within the Township triggers analysis under current laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In 1989, in the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on a proposed reservoir, the Township Board of Directors recognized that providing additional water had many community planning implications. In fact, fundamental information about population (eventual Township "buildout") was a critical missing link in the analysis for the proposed reservoir. The EIR clearly identified significant growth-inducement and growth-accommodation issues which underscored the need for additional planning.
To address the need for additional community planning, the Township voters gave approval to begin a planning process by an overwhelming 69 percent vote. In August 1992, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance designating the Township Board of Directors as the Area Planning Commission--one of its chief duties being to prepare this Specific Plan and implement measures as delegated by the County Board of Supervisors.
The Brooktrails Township Specific Plan addresses the changes in the community and the priorities of its residents and other property owners. The Plan guides ongoing development of the 4,943-acre Brooktrails Proper subdivision, referred to herein as "Brooktrails Township"; its provisions do not apply to the adjacent Spring Creek and Sylvandale subdivisions, except with regard to existing service agreements.
The Plan sets forth a goal and policy framework and implementation programs for guiding ongoing development of this semi-rural residential community. The Plan assumes an ultimate buildout of 4,000 equivalent dwelling units and an ultimate population of 9,919 residents. These numbers are intended to represent a development projection, not a growth limit or development cap. The plan is based on the Vision Statement and the Goals and Objectives originally developed by the Community Vision Focus Group and their "pyramid groups", as amended by the Township Board of Directors. It also draws upon extensive community input from a survey of property owners regarding their intentions to develop their property, two Community Congress meetings, a Bay Area Focus Group session, Specific Plan Advisory Committee meetings, and substantial oral and written correspondence presented to the Township Board of Directors. Paramount to this process and to the development of this Plan has been a commitment to seek to establish Common Ground as the community moves forward into the next Century.
As set forth by state law, the Specific Plan establishes the goals and policies to guide the location, intensity and character of land uses, the circulation pattern, necessary infrastructure, improvements, and implementation actions required to realize the Plan recommendations. The Plan also contains a financing program necessary to maintain community services and provide the infrastructure required to accommodate buildout of the Plan.
The major features of the Brooktrails Township Specific Plan are as follows:
The overall land use objective is to promote environmental stewardship; this
encompasses careful site design including measures to conserve water and energy;
avoiding and minimizing impacts to key environmental resources; and managing the Township Greenbelt. The Plan allows for a level of development that balances protection of the forest ecosystem with environmentally sensitive development. Conservation easements will be used to protect some environmentally sensitive areas and to create fire hazard protection zones.
Continuation of a predominantly single-family community with up to 4,000 equivalent single-family residential units (SFRs). At buildout with 4,000 SFRs, there would be 3,815 residential dwellings on 3,673 developed lots with a total population of 9,919 individuals.These numbers are intended to represent a development projection, not a growth limit or development cap.
Voluntary reconfiguration of some high constraint parcels to create larger parcels with fewer allowable units. Reconfigured parcels will afford greater protection of public health and safety in high-constraint areas as well as protection of visual resources and open space amenities.
A program consisting of incentives to encourage lot mergers. A public entity overseen by the Brooktrails Township Board of Directors will be established to implement an incentive program including financial incentives, to encourage lot mergers. After a period of five years, the voluntary merger program will be evaluated for updating and/or amendment.
The plan makes adjustments to the zoning map to reflect changes in the manner in which the community has developed. Remote commercial parcels have been rezoned for single-family development, while appropriate commercial areas have been consolidated and preserved. This plan identifies areas zoned for multi-family development in the earthquake fault zone and in the "B1" zone adjacent to the Ells Field Airport to be considered for future rezoning to single-family development. This Plan does, however, preserve multi-family development areas, where environmentally suitable, to ensure the provision of adequate affordable housing. In addition, the entire Specific Plan area will be placed within a Specific Plan (SP) overlay combining district to highlight the fact that a different set of goals, policies, regulations and implementation programs apply to this area.
Circulation improvements which consist of two additional access roads to address existing access and emergency evacuation constraints--one linking the Township with State Route 20 to the south, and eventually, a second new access road connecting the Township with U.S. Highway 101 to the east. At two lanes, the new Southern Access Route would begin to reach capacity as the Township begins to reach buildout at 4,000 units. The third access route would then be required to relieve traffic on Sherwood Road and the new Southern Access Route. Additional circulation improvements include but are not limited to:
- Improvements at the Sherwood Road/Birch Street intersection.
- Improvements to Sherwood Road including adding paved shoulders
(four- foot minimum width), left-turn pockets between U.S. 101 and
Poppy Drive, and a pathway along its entire length.
- Extension of Ridge Road between Iris Drive and Goose Road.
- Development of parking bays, as feasible, throughout the Township to address
current narrow roadway constraints.
A 1,600 acre-foot reservoir to meet domestic water supply requirements for a community of 4,000 equivalent dwelling units and a population of 9,919 individuals. Assuming development of 40 units per year, the reservoir would be needed in the year 2,023. This project will require subsequent environmental analysis prior to development.
Community facility and infrastructure improvements that will serve the specific needs of the Township as it develops over time. These improvements include, but are not limited to:
- Development of wells to supplement the existing water supply for up to 2,500 units.
- A new raw water main connecting the new reservoir to the existing raw water main at
- Expansion of the existing water treatment plant at Brooktrails in its present location to
accommodate growth to 4,000 units.
- A new wastewater trunk main to replace or parallel the existing trunk main from the
Township to the City of Willits Wastewater Treatment Plant to accommodate
development beyond 2,000 units, and a second new line to accommodate 3,000 units.
- A third fire station is anticipated in the near term in the vicinity of the airport to serve
existing development. A fourth fire station and fire vehicles would be required to serve
2,000 units, and a fifth fire station and vehicles would be required to accommodate 4,000 units.
Design Guidelines and Site Development Standards that: protect public health and safety; preserve and enhance environmental resources and public amenities; and establish and enforce design standards that will protect visual quality, and the community's quality of life in the existing semi-rural setting.
Under the Specific Plan financing program, four bond issues are recommended.
The first bond issue will be needed in the near term to finance the second access road
which is needed at this time. The second bond issue would be required to fund wells and
preliminary reservoir work at about the year 2011. The third bond issue would be required
for the new 1,600 acre-foot reservoir around the year 2023. The fourth bond issue would be
required for the third access road, scheduled for construction at 3,500 SFRs around the year 2048.
Development impact fees are also anticipated. An impact fee schedule is estimated based on a proposed
allocation of capital project funding between fees and bond assessments. Actual fee levels, however, will
depend upon the actual timing of the projects and the authorization for assessments.
The Plan assumes the continued involvement of an active citizenry to work with
the Board of Directors in implementing the Specific Plan:
- to continuously collect and update planning and environmental data;
- to prepare annually both a Planning Report and a "State of the Environment"
Report for the Township Board of Directors;
- to assess the needs of the community's senior citizens;
- to make recommendations regarding the provision of facilities and amenities
for off-site property owners, including possible development of time-share units.
- to make recommendations regarding new provisions or refinements for Specific Plan updates.
The Plan's success depends on the continuing community support to ensure that, once adopted, the plan is protected from unwarranted changes, and that its programs are implemented in accordance with the intent of its guiding goals and policies. In addition, the Plan's success depends on the combined efforts of all regulatory and service delivery agencies currently active in the Plan area, and, particularly, on the ongoing close cooperation between Brooktrails Township and the County of Mendocino.