General Plan Amendment to Agricultural Element Policy Ag-P5.3 (Agricultural Buffer) and Related Amendments Regarding Agricultural Uses and Non-Agricultural Zones
On January 12, 2016 the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to Butte County General Plan 2030 and related amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The amendment is to Policy AG-P5.3 (Agricultural Buffer) of the Agriculture Element of the Butte County General Plan and related Zoning Ordnance amendments regarding agricultural uses in non-agricultural zones. These amendments continue to apply the County’s 300-foot agricultural buffer requirement to all lands zoned Agriculture and other zones within 300 feet of the boundary of Agriculture zones. The amendments require a minimum 25 foot setback in residential zones from lands that are used for orchards or vineyards. The amendments also allow animal grazing and crop cultivation as an interim use on parcels at least 1-acre in size in all residential, commercial, and industrial zones.
The 300 foot agricultural buffer requirement has not been altered for areas where a residential zone and an agricultural zone are adjacent to each other. The 300-foot agricultural buffer continues to be fully enforced at these locations. The amendment to Policy AG-P5.3 clarifies that the agricultural buffer is applicable on all lands zoned agriculture and other zones within 300 feet of lands zoned Agriculture. In residential zones, the amendments provide for the maximum practicable setback width, but in no case less than a 25 foot residential setback from existing orchards or vineyards.
The amendments have no impact on the Chico Area Greenline.
The amendments provide an opportunity for agriculture to continue on an interim basis in residential zones until development takes place. These residential zones have been designated throughout a 6-year comprehensive update process to the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. They are areas where the county has designated future growth to occur based upon many public meeting and public decision-making. This amendment was directed by the Butte County Board of Supervisors to provide for growth designated by the County’s General Plan, and at the same time help to accommodate interim agricultural uses taking place in residential zones.
These amendments changed policies and regulations of the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, but do not change the General Plan land use map, zoning map, or the amount of development anticipated to occur by the General Plan horizon year of 2030.
January 12, 2016 Board of Supervisors Public Hearing
On January 12, 2016 the Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing in the Butte County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 25 County Center Drive, Oroville. The Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to General Plan Agricultural Element Policy AG-P5.3 (Agricultural Buffer), related new General Plan Policies, and related amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The Board of Supervisors also certified the FSEIR pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
December 10, 2015 Planning Commission Public Hearing
On December 10, 2015, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to continue its consideration of proposed amendments to General Plan Policy AG-P5.3 (Agricultural Buffer) and related amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. A Supplemental Agenda Report for the December 10, 2015 hearing was provided, and a Revised Final Supplemental EIR. These documents provide more detail concerning the proposed amendments and staff recommendations. At this hearing, the Planning Commission acted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors Certify the Final Supplemental EIR, Adopt the General Plan Amendments, and Adopt the Zoning Ordinance Amendments. The Planning Commission’s recommendations will be provided to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration at a public hearing to be held on January 12, 2016.
November 12, 2015 Continued Planning Commission Public Hearing
On November 12, 2015, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to continue its consideration of proposed amendments to General Plan Policy AG-P5.3 (Agricultural Buffer) and related amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. A Supplemental Agenda Report for the November 12, 2015 hearing was provided, and a Revised Supplemental Final Supplemental EIR. These documents provide more detail concerning the proposed amendments and staff recommendations.
October 22, 2015 Planning Commission Public
The Butte County Planning Commission held a public hearing on Thursday, October 22, 2015 to consider a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors regarding:
- Certification of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the project; and
- Adoption of an Amendment to the Butte County General Plan to Agricultural Element policy AG-P5.3 Agricultural Buffer) and related amendments to the zoning ordinance (Chapter 24 of the Butte County Code) concerning agricultural uses in non-agricultural zones.
A presentation was provided by Development Services staff on this project, and the County’s consultant PlaceWorks provided a presentation on the Final EIR. Nine members of the public provided comment during the hearing. Because additional amendments were being recommended by staff, the Planning Commission continued the hearing until the November 12, 2015 Planning Commission meeting.
The October 22, 2015 public hearing on Amendments to General Plan Policy AG-P5.3 and related Zoning Ordinance Amendments was continued until the Planning Commission meeting on November 12, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Supervisor's Chambers in the County Administration Center, 25 County Center Drive in Oroville. At the October 22, 2015 hearing, Development Services staff presented an amended Exhibit A to the Planning Commission’s Draft Resolution regarding these amendments. The Amended Exhibit A includes additional amendments to the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance as summarized below:
- Added a requirement to General Plan Policy AG-P5.3.2 requiring that the Zoning Ordinance include a requirement for an Agricultural Maintenance Plan for agricultural uses taking place in residential zones, which may limit restricted material permits issued by the Agricultural Commissioner.
- Added new Policy AG-P5.3.3 directing that the Zoning Ordinance shall require that a buffer be established on property proposed for residential development requiring discretionary approval in order to protect existing Williamson Act contracts.
- Amending Table 24-19-1 pertaining to Permitted Land Uses in the Residential Zone by applying new footnotes 15 and 16 for the Animal Grazing and Crop Cultivation uses in the VLDR, VLDCR, LDR, MHDR, HDR, and VHDR residential zones that implement a requirement for an Agricultural Maintenance Plan for these uses, and in the case of the LDR, MHDR, HDR, and VHDR residential zones a minimum 1-acre parcel size requirement.
- Amending Section 24-82 A. 4. of the Agricultural Buffers Section of the Zoning Ordinance by including a requirement that applies the agricultural buffer to all areas within 300 feet of a Williamson Act Contract.
Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report
A Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (Final SEIR) has been prepared in accordance with CEQA. Responses to CEQA related comments on the Draft SEIR have been prepared and are contained under Chapter 5 of the Final SEIR. Changes directed by comments on the Draft SEIR are also shown in the Final SEIR under Chapter 3. The Final SEIR was considered by the Planning Commission at a public hearing on October 22, 2015.
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report
A Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) was prepared for the County of Butte Department of Development Services (County) in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to analyze the potential environmental impacts associated with the General Plan Amendment and related amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.
In compliance with CEQA, the DSEIR describes the potential environmental impacts of the proposed General Plan and Zoning Ordinance Amendments as compared to those of the adopted Butte County General Plan 2030 and Zoning Ordinance, as evaluated in the 2010 General Plan 2030 EIR and 2012 Supplemental EIR. As a Program EIR, this Supplemental DEIR is not project-specific, it does not evaluate the impacts of specific projects that may be proposed. Such project proposals will require separate environmental review pursuant to CEQA to secure the necessary discretionary development permits.
A copy of the DSEIR may also be reviewed at the Butte County Development Services Department, 7 County Center Drive, Oroville, CA 95965 and at all
Butte County Public Library branches.
Comments Received on the Draft Supplemental EIR:
Public Hearing and Comment:
The County is soliciting comments on the adequacy and completeness of the analysis described in the DSEIR.
A 45-day public review period for the DSEIR began of June 17, 2015 and continued through August 7, 2015. You may comment by providing testimony at a public hearing before the Butte County Planning Commission or by providing written comments prior to the close of the review period.
The Planning Commission held a public hearing to accept public comment on the DSEIR on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
How to Comment:
Please provide comments to Dan Breedon, Principal Planner, at Butte County Department of Development Services, 7 County Center Drive, Oroville, CA 95965, or at
firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the close of public comment on August, 7, 2015, at 4:00 pm or provide testimony at the public hearing on the date and time specified above. Please limit comments to the specific environmental issues evaluated in the DSEIR. If you have questions, please call 530.538.7629. If you challenge this environmental document in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues raised by you or others in written correspondence or in hearings on the proposed project.
Questions and Additional Information
Questions and comments may be directed to Dan Breedon, Principal Planner, Butte County Department of Development Services at
email@example.com or 530.538.7629.