Etiwanda Heights Neighborhood & Conservation Plan
The City is working towards producing a long-term plan for limited neighborhoods and extensive open space.
Over the course of this year, the City has been working with the community to determine whether and how to proceed with the possible annexation of the 4,288 acres that makes up the majority of the remaining unincorporated lands of the Etiwanda area. Through community workshopsand surveys conducted in the spring of 2018, a clear community consensus emerged that the City should take over control of the future of this area, now under County jurisdiction, and that new taxes on residents to acquire it as open space were not acceptable. Based on that community feedback, the City Council directed that limited neighborhood development was the most practical way to enable local control without imposing new open space taxes on existing residents, and requested City staff to continue to work with the community and prepare a plan concept that prioritized open space retention balanced with enough neighborhood development to cover the open space costs.
This past summer, the City conducted a series of pop-up events, community interviews and an online survey to better understand the community's vision for a neighborhood and open space conservation plan, which is now called the Etiwanda Heights Neighborhood and Conservation Plan. Three initial conceptual plan alternatives were developed and presented to the community. Based on feedback received through those engagement opportunities, a refined concept plan was revealed at a community open house on September 21st at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center.
The refined concept proposed for 83% of the 4,288 acre plan area to be kept rural, and 17% to be made available for neighborhoods. The rural area would be a mix of existing and new habitat conservation, very limited low intensity rural residential similar to what is already present there, continuing flood control operations to protect the City from flood hazards, and a trail system for controlled recreational and educational access. The neighborhood areas would include a range of single-family housing types from very large to small, a network of neighborhood streets and parks for walking, biking and play, and a few small centers with neighborhood-serving amenities such as a school, library, small shops and restaurants, and play fields. Trail connections from existing and future neighborhoods into the foothills to the north will be a major priority.
The open house was an opportunity to present and receive comments on a conceptual plan for the Etiwanda Heights area at the northeast corner of the City. A series of "stations" were set up in the courtyard of the cultural center, walking participants through the history of this plan, the alternatives considered over last summer, community responses received, and refined plan concepts assembled by City staff and design team to reflect the community's expressed preferences and priorities. During the open house, and in the days following it, the City received additional input from the community on how the neighborhood plan could be further refined to better meet the vision of the community. The City has taken this input and incorporated it into the planning process to work towards producing a long-term, community-based plan for limited neighborhoods and extensive open space for the 4,288 acre plan area.
Over the next several months, the City will be conducting extensive environmental and economic analysis to better understand the feasibility of a plan for new neighborhoods and open space conservation. One of the critical processes that will start soon is environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act. Before a plan goes before the Planning Commission or City Council, the City will prepare an Environmental Impact Report to identify potential environmental impacts and recommendations for alleviating those impacts. This document will also serve to provide the public and decision makers with a better understanding of the potential issues of new development under the plan.
There are still many steps before the City Council will evaluate this plan in 2019. The community's input has been a foundational component of the plan's development. As the plan and associated analysis moves forward, we hope the members of the community will continue to stay involved and help craft the vision for the Etiwanda Heights neighborhoods and open space areas. For more information on the community input received and to stay updated on this effort, visit CityofRC.us/EtiwandaHeights.