Permitting the Inland Empire

With much of Southern California running scarce on land the Inland Empire of California is looking to rezone their general plan, and reshape how they will allow permitting in the Inland Empire. In this article, I am going to cover what’s in and what’s out under the proposed plan changes in the area. As always, if you look to permit in any area of the US, please consider getting a consultation from Permit Advisors to save time and money during the process.

What’s Out: Warehouses, distribution centers, and logistics buildings. With most developers, and even the area itself, surviving the recession by building distribution centers with the likes of Amazon and now JC Penny, most residents are ready to move past survival and want beautification. They worry that their desert landscape will become the next Vernon, California, and the depressed concrete jungle it has become. The proposed plan reduces the land available to be developed for such uses by 70%. In other words, they’re going to be picky about what developments go where from here on out.

What’s In: Upscale housing and multifamily units. Actively looking to gentrify, city officials are pursuing and approving upscale housing and multifamily units by promising new schools in the area. They are hoping with the upswing of the economy they can go back to the 1940s and 1950s when the likes of Clark Gable, Micky Rooney, Judy Garland, and who could forget the favored son: Roy Rogers, owned homes in the area. Indeed, the area was in competition with Palm Springs as the favored resort area to the stars. If you don’t believe me search the name: Newton T Bass. You will find abandoned plans of large-scale resorts and upscale town-centers.

What’s Out: High-density multifamily units. Older natives of the IE will tell you the controversial story: primarily a ranching community, the area became inundated with low-income and crime carrying populations from LA and various Orange County communities in the last 30 years. Widespread opinion in the area claims the welfare and housing offices in those areas advertised cheap rent, land, and opportunity in the area to such populations resulting in an influx of both people and crime. Whether this controversial opinion is rooted in fact is almost irrelevant as it is the local opinion that affects the vote for zoning in the area. This proposed plan reduces zoning that would allow for high-density units in the area.

What’s In: Community parks. To balance the existing clusters of industrial developments the proposed plan allocates acreage to building both public and private parks. Again the idea for many with this plan is to beautify an area ravaged by what many locals view as irresponsible development. CurbedLA released an article last year highlighting the wasted developments in the IE resulting in empty office and industrial buildings that had been approved by city officials. Such public outcry mandates the city give back with parks for their families.

What’s Out: Gas stations and inline discount retail. A planner friend of mine in the area told me if he gets another proposed gas station or inline discount retail concept he’s going to pull his hair out. Local residents are tired of not having access to what they have been traditionally priced out of not because of demographics but because developers have decided they didn’t want to develop there. Residents and their public servants are hoping by laying an emphasis on upscale housing they can attract higher retailer concepts to their area.

What’s In: B Class Retailers and fast casual dining. The Inland Empire wants a return to the comparable Dillard’s and Macy’s to the area instead of watching its residents drive “down the hill,” as they call it, to do their shopping. By making permitting easier in the area for fast casual dining and middle-class retailers they hope to increase revenue for the area.

While it is to be seen whether the plan will be adopted in the area, many controversial items with even more politically charged reasoning will be put before the councils. Permitting the Inland Empire has historically been very welcome in the area; while this doesn’t look to change, this new plan would provide a road map of how the residents want to develop the area which means there very well could be more rejections. Call me to get a consultation as you conduct your due diligence in the area and my team and I will help you know if your project meets the new plan’s require

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Mar 6, 2017 By admin