For developers looking to build new projects in Chula Vista, there is now a more streamlined process that city staff says benefits businesses as well as the city.
This new protocol, unanimously approved by the City Council, allows for either the council or the city's Planning Commission to initiate a proposed land use plan or rezoning action.
It also ultimately saves staff and the applicant time and money with the early review and input for the type of development the council is looking for.
Kelly Broughton, the city's development services director, said the ordinance came about over the last few years out of discussions with staff and applicants regarding new development projects in the city.
"In a couple of cases there were projects that required major plan amendments," he said.
Broughton said he discouraged the applicants from coming forward with their projects because "I didn't see any way that my staff or I could recommend approval of them before we went into a lot of extra work."
The additional work could include environmental reviews and extensive technical and traffic studies.
The new protocol includes the City Council providing input to city staff on whether to initiate the process for a new development based what they'd like to see built in the city.
Doing this, Broughton said gives them an indication whether or not the city is willing to entertain the proposed change at some point in the future.
In addition, the change allows for earlier public notification, making the intent of proposed projects more transparent to the community.
Over the years, residents have come forward during council meetings expressing concern that developers are able to request zoning changes without adequate vetting.
"As a homeowner in Chula Vista, anything for rezoning should be really scrutinized," said Alan Curry during the July 11 council meeting. "There should be no shortcut."
The proposed process was brought before the city's Planning Commission earlier this year.
The commission also successfully suggested the ordinance include a reevaluation a year after it's enacted to review any issues or decide if there's merit in continuing it.