Three Rivers Community Plan Update


County of Tulare Resource Management Agency planners were at the Monday, Feb. 5, Town Hall meeting to review the Three Rivers Community Plan Update. After requests before, during, and after the meeting, the RMA announced this week that  the comment period was being extended to Wednesday, March 14, for the scoping portion of the two draft documents.
More than 60 people were in attendance at the Town Hall meeting. The purpose of RMA’s presentation was to answer questions and present an overview of the draft Three Rivers Community Plan Update and the accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Report that consists of 1,170 pages. Together, the two documents contain more than 1,500 pages that must be reviewed and assimilated by interested Three Rivers residents.
The consensus among the audience was that the release of the documents was rushed to meet an end-of-the-year deadline in December, and the deadline for comments did not provide enough time to fully digest  the information. Members of the audience, including Karen Bodner, who has been involved in the Three Rivers plan update for more than a decade, said that the timing of the comments is critical to when and how they are included in the final documents.    
Dave Bryant, RMA special projects planner, presented a PowerPoint presentation on how the two documents are intended to provide a context for understanding the vision and legal requirements for future development in Three Rivers. Among the reams of information compiled in the documents, Bryant said that there are many firsts in the documents that are unique to the Three Rivers plan.
Among the highlights of Bryant’s presentation was the commitment to creating a town center. Three distinct areas are under consideration with the Village Shopping Center as the preferred alternative. 
An important part of the plan, according to Bryant, is to standardize zoning by designating more C-2 (commercial) for mixed use that would cluster residential development in commercial zones. A development checklist adopted in the Foothill Growth Management Plan is also contained in the Three Rivers Community Plan.
Bryant said some implementation standards that are used in the Complete Streets program could also work in Three Rivers, which translates to safe routes to school, curbs, sidewalks, bus stops, and bike lanes.   
Unique to Three Rivers is that the main street in town is Highway 198, a state highway under the jurisdiction of Cal Trans. Developing a typical main street is restricted by physical space and the Cal Trans right-of-way.
“The county supports 198 as a scenic highway — the framework and planning considerations — but not a formal designation,” Bryant said.
In terms of planning for the future of Three Rivers, Bryant said county planners analyze what percent of the land was used for residential, commercial, and industrial uses in the past and project appropriate zoning requirements in the updated plan. 
“There have been some obvious changes in the requirements like the zoning variance for the new brewery,” Bryant said.
Bryant also touted the importance of a voluntary oak woodlands section that is in the plan to maintain visual quality. The trees plan presents criteria, mitigation thresholds, and outlines best practices.
Questions centered mostly on how standards and mitigation measures are to be implemented and enforced. Hector Guerra, RMA’s chief environmental planner, said the environmental document depends on the recommendations of their consultants. 
The meeting was held at the Three Rivers Memorial Building and hosted by the Three rivers Village Foundation.  
David Wood, moderator, said county planners have been invited to continue the dialogue at the March 5 Town Hall. 
On December 29, the County of Tulare released the Three Rivers Community Plan Update and Draft Environmental Impact Report. A public comment period on the proposed documents will continue through WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018. 
The documents are online at
Go to the Three Rivers Library or the Visalia Library during normal business hours. A copy is also available for review at the office of the Tulare County Resource Management Agency, 5961 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia.
Mail or hand-deliver comments to: 
Hector Guerra, Chief Environmental Planner
Tulare County Resource Management Agency
5961 South Mooney Blvd.
Visalia, CA  93277 
Contact Hector Guerra, Chief Environmental Planner, (559) 624-7121
—After the close of the public comment review period, there will be a public hearing before the Tulare County Planning Commission (in late March).
—Why submitting comments is important: If you challenge a proposed action in court, then you may be limited to raising only those issues or objections you or someone else raised during the public comment period or the public hearing, or in written correspondence delivered to the Tulare County Resource Management Agency within the review period or to the Planning Commission during the public hearing.


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