Planning staff assist the City Council, Planning Commission, other staff members and the general public with all aspects of land use entitlements. Major programs include the General Plan, Development Code, Development Impact Fees, contract administration, records maintenance and inter-governmental coordination.
The Planning Division staff consists of City employees that are committed to providing the highest degree of professionalism in the performance of their duties, and is available to help those with questions on existing projects or those that would like to build or start a project in the City.
Current Planning involves the review of various types of land use applications to ensure that future development will provide safe and high-quality built environment for the City’s residents, visitors, and employees of the many businesses in town. This includes ensuring compliance with the City’s Development Code and Citywide Design Guidelines. Most planning applications are processed on an actual cost basis, with staff time billed against an initial deposit. Some applications are reviewed administratively and approved by the City Planner, and some are required to be approved by the City’s Planning Commission or the City Council.
The California Environmental Quality Act (referred to as “CEQA” and found in Section 21000 et. seq. of the Public Resource Code of the State of California “PRC”) together with the State CEQA Guidelines promulgated by the California Office of Planning and Research are intended to enhance the long-term protection of the environment and to encourage public participation in the process. They present objectives, criteria, and procedures for the evaluation of projects and the preparation of Categorical Exemptions, Negative Declarations and Environmental Impact Reports.
The General Plan’s Housing Element is the City of Yucaipa’s official housing plan and serves as the chief policy document on housing-related issues. A Housing Element provides the plan and programs that focus on conserving and improving existing affordable housing; providing adequate housing sites for all income levels; assisting in the development of affordable housing; removing constraints to housing development; and promoting equal housing opportunities.
The Freeway Corridor Specific Plan (FCSP) area provides the largest undeveloped area in Yucaipa, comprised of 1,242 acres of land, and is poised to capture the regional demand for commercial and residential uses. Pursuant to the General Plan, the FCSP’s objective is to provide for a complete community and is situated in an ideal location to integrate with local and regional transportation systems. The existing FCSP was originally developed in 2007/8, right before the great recession that resulted in dramatic changes to the retail and commercial industry. Since the adoption of the FCSP, the City has also completed a comprehensive General Plan update, which was adopted in 2016, which among other things, resulted in the modification to the City’s Hillside Overlay District requirements.
To address these changes The City of Yucaipa was awarded a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to prepare an update to the FCSP that will reflect and support the policies provided within the 2016 General Plan update, provide consistency with SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, and to reflect the current and projected needs of the commercial and residential market in order to best support the future development of the area.
Please check back periodically for updates.
The original Uptown Business District Specific Plan was adopted in 1995 and provided a long-term design and development strategy to revitalize Yucaipa’s Uptown. The Plan originally focused on design guidelines for streetscape, architecture, and development implementation programs to achieve the following goals for the Uptown: promote economic vitality, preserve and enhance the historic character, enhance the aesthetic character, and improve vehicular circulation.
Download the Uptown Corridor Specific Plan to learn more
The purpose of this Overlay District is to provide land use and development standards and regulations that implement the goals and policies of the Yucaipa General Plan and other similar long-range planning documents. The goal of the College Village Overlay District is to encourage the development of a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly college village that offers a range of housing and nonresidential opportunities, including commercial, public, and institutional uses, to serve the diverse needs of the college, Yucaipa community, and the region. The Overlay District envisions approximately 248,500 square feet of nonresidential development and 418 residential units (396 attached and 22 detached). To facilitate and encourage the development of the site, ministerial approval for the first 100 units is also permitted.
Download the College Village Overlay District Guidelines to learn more
Yucaipa Valley AVA Vision
“Yucaipa Valley AVA is recognized as a thriving, award-winning viticulture region based on sustainable growing and harvesting practices. Successful commercial vineyards have been firmly established within Yucaipa, and consequently wine making, tasting rooms and small inns have emerged in locations that protect and enhance the rural atmosphere. Sensitive habitat areas have been preserved, further enhancing the beauty of the area, and an expansive trail system is enjoyed by residents and visitors. Development options for property owners have incentivized the dedication and conservation of agricultural land for viticulture.”
Interest has grown within the Community to allow for crop cultivation of wine grapes throughout the City, with some small-scale vineyards that have been recently planted. In addition, the City is home to two-locally based wineries, which currently import grapes from other wine regions, and features another winery directly outside of the City limits. On July 9, 2018, the City Council awarded a $5,000 Community Activity Grant to support the efforts of the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance (YVWA) for their petition to the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to establish the City of Yucaipa and surrounding areas as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). This forward momentum suggests that other opportunities for additional wine making efforts will occur in the future, especially once the AVA designation is finally approved by the TTB.
Winemaking presents several different elements from a land use perspective that are not currently addressed by the City’s Development Code; including the establishment of a winery and associated accessory uses, including but not limited to licensed and bonded manufacturing facilities, public tasting rooms, and the land use compatibility of a vineyard adjacent to existing uses. This industry is currently impeded by the lack of agriculturally zoned land; most wine regions in California were created within lands that are zoned for agriculture and that have been historically developed for vineyards. The majority of the undeveloped land within the City, such as the North Bench, is currently zoned for residential uses, and not only are they zoned as residential, much of the area has approved residential projects and the land use rights that are granted as a result. As such, the potential for the loss of available housing sites, coupled with the City’s need to continue to have sites available for development that can meet the state-requirement for housing production and the ‘no net loss’ provisions, must be a factor in the land use review.
An undertaking as substantial as the implementation of an AVA should include input from a broad coalition of community members and stakeholders. To support this input, the City Council established the AVA Planning Committee (AVAPC) to help work through the various issues and different ideas from these stakeholders. The AVAPC is comprised of the following:
Two (2) City Council members
Two (2) representatives from the Planning Commission
One (1) representative from the Trails and Open Space Committee
One (1) representative from the Economic Development Advisory Committee
One (1) representative from the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance
One (1) North bench property owner (15 acres minimum land area)
Three (3) members of the public at large
To help better understand the best approach to use for the City, a two-phased approach was implemented with Phase I being the research and initial outreach phase, and where Phase II would be development of the actual tool. The AVAPC is now known as the Yucaipa Valley Wine County Planning Committee, and information on their meetings is available here: https://yucaipa.org/agendas-minutes/
On September 12, 2019, the City Council approved a Professional Services Agreement with PlaceWorks, a planning consultant firm, to provide professional services for the Phase I part of the process. Over the past year, the AVAPC has been exploring both planning and incentive-based options to help support the potential of an emerging wine industry within the community. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, public engagement was conducted to solicit feedback on developing the appropriate “Yucaipa Style” and ultimately, the outreach completed during Phase I included one field workshop in Temecula, over 8 public meetings and 14 stakeholder interviews. Phase I also included the preparation of various case studies that were considered by the AVAPC and public as Yucaipa developed its own AVA identity.
Through the research efforts as well as community and stakeholder input, the Phase I report was prepared and presented to City Council. Based on the existing conditions in the City, three alternatives to support a new wine industry were identified and evaluated: Alternative One is a Transfer of Development Rights program, Alternative Two is a master plan approach with a clustered approach to create land specific for vineyards and wineries, and Alternative Three is permitting commercial uses in the residential district. At the regular City Council Meeting of January 25, 2021, the City Council directed staff to proceed with Alternative Two as the approach to be used for Phase II, and to have staff prepare a scope of work and contract to begin the development of a Master Plan that would encourage the development of a wine industry.
The City is currently developing the Yucaipa Valley Wine Country Specific Plan that will support future viticulture within the City. The Specific Plan is being developed with input received through the City’s Yucaipa Valley Wine Country Planning Committee, and public feedback is encouraged. If you have additional questions, thoughts or comments, feel free to contact Benjamin Matlock, City Planner, at 909-797-2489 x261. If you would like to be part of a contact list for future updates and/or meetings, please email Ben at email@example.com.
As part of the Specific Plan, the City is also preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to the General Plan EIR, which will provide the necessary environmental review for the implementation of the Wine Country. Please visit the YVWCSP Environmental Review page for more details.
To support the AVA implementation, the City has pursued grant funding and was awarded a $250,000 Sustainable Lands Conservation Program (SALC) grant from the State Department of Conservation to support the Phase II project.
Guiding Principles of the Yucaipa AVA
- Support viticulture and the wine making industry in a way that protects the rural atmosphere of Yucaipa.
- Honor the rights of existing property owners.
- Follow a planned approach to the development of the wine industry to encourage appropriate wine-related economic growth and agritourism.
- Encourage sustainable viticulture and wine making practices.
- Support appropriate small-scale winery- related accessory uses including tasting rooms and bed and breakfast inns where infrastructure permits.
The first image represents what has been approved and directly follows the RL-1 District. Using the slider, swipe to view the second image — the wine country specific plan concept, that integrates wineries and open space to the same number of residential units.
Take a look at the three different winery descriptions: