County Settles Final Lawsuit Challenging County General Plan; Key Part of Plan is Implemented

The last lawsuit challenging the County of Tulare’s current general plan was settled last week during the Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting.  In addition, the County has successfully implemented a key part of its general plan in regard to County areas outside of the City of Porterville.

On August 28, 2012, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the Tulare County General Plan 2030 Update. The General Plan Update was then challenged in separate court actions by the City of Porterville and the Sierra Club.

The County and the City of Porterville settled their differences on April 29, 2014.  This left the way open for the County to implement its General Plan policies set out in the Part I, Chapter 2, section 2.4 of the County General Plan 2030 Update in the unincorporated areas surrounding the City of Porterville. These policies were designed to promote a close working relationship between the City and the County to determine future land use decisions and to plan for future development of public facilities in these County areas.

The policies also ensure that future land uses in such areas are consistent with City plans, a policy the County has also made available to the seven other cities in the county. This will help in the seamless incorporation of such areas into the City if or when such areas are annexed sometime within the next 50 years.  These policies were successfully implemented last week when the County adopted its Porterville Area Community Plan 2015 Update inclusive of GPA 14-008 and the City of Porterville Development Standards and Master Plans for sewer, water and storm drain facilities. The County took this action by unanimous votes without opposition after notice and hearing.

In addition, the Board of Supervisors and the Sierra Club approved a settlement agreement in the Sierra Club’s litigation challenging the County’s General Plan 2030 Update. This resolved the last pending lawsuit challenging the County’s general plan. The settlement agreement, approved by the Board of Supervisors in open session, outlines a number of proposed implementation measures for the general plan. These measures will provide an opportunity for the County to, among other things, take a closer at diesel truck idling, flooding and groundwater recharge areas within the County as well as solar panels for new large residential developments.

The County will be considering most of these proposed measures during the next year and will be undertaking reviews and implementing other current policies during the next several years.

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