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Planning Services

2004 General Plan Overlays

Establishment of overlay designations to provide additional direction for the development of land where circumstances apply generally to the lands regardless of the underlying land use designations.

The following General Plan overlay designations are included:

  1. Agricultural Districts
  2. Platted Lands
  3. Ecological Preserve
  4. Mineral Resource
  5. Important Biological Corridor

The purpose of the Agricultural District (-A) overlay designation is to identify the general areas which contain the majority of the County’s federally designated prime, State designated unique or important, or County designated locally important soils (collectively referred to as “choice” agricultural soils) and which the Board of Supervisors has determined should be preserved primarily for agricultural uses. This designation does not imply any restrictions on agricultural uses in areas not designated specifically as an Agricultural District but only serves to identify agriculture as the principal activity and to discourage incompatible uses such as higher density residential use.

  1. Agricultural Districts shall be used to conserve and protect important agricultural crop lands and associated activities, maintain viable agricultural-based communities, and encourage the expansion of agricultural activities and production.
  2. The minimum residential parcel size for lands containing choice agricultural soils within an Agricultural (-A) District shall be twenty (20) acres or the minimum lot size established by the underlying land use designation, whichever is greater.

    Residential parcels within Agricultural Districts where 70 percent or more of the parcel area is identified by the Agricultural Commission as land unsuitable for agriculture, as defined in “The Procedure for Evaluating the Suitability of Land for Agriculture,” may be considered for a minimum parcel size of ten (10) acres. Clustering of planned residential developments on “non-choice” agricultural soils within Agricultural Districts, that have been identified by the Agricultural Commission as land unsuitable for agriculture, may be allowed but in no case smaller than five (5) acres.

  3. Ranch marketing is encouraged on lands engaged in agricultural production.

The purpose of the Platted Lands (-PL) overlay designation is to identify isolated areas consisting of contiguous existing smaller parcels in the Rural Regions where the existing density level of the parcels would be an inappropriate land use designation for the area based on capability constraints and/or based on the existence of important natural resources. The -PL designation shall be combined with a land use designation which is indicative of the typical parcel size located within the Platted Lands boundaries. The existence of the -PL overlay cannot be used as a criteria or precedent to expand or establish new incompatible land uses.

The -PL overlay designation may also be applied to lands historically zoned with a commercial zone district combined with the Commercial (C) land use designation.

  1. Parcels within the -PL overlay designation shall not be permitted to subdivide to a size smaller than the minimum parcel size allowed by the base land use designation.
  2. -PL district boundaries shall not be modified to include additional parcels for the purpose of allowing subdivision of those additional parcels.

The purpose of the Ecological Preserve (-EP) overlay designation is to identify those properties in public or private ownership which have potential to be established or have been established as habitat preserve areas for rare or endangered plant and animal species and/or critical wildlife habitat and/or natural communities of high quality or of Statewide importance and/or Stream Environment Zones (SEZ) as established in the Tahoe Basin. Ecological preserves may be established by private contract and/or memoranda of understanding affecting interested public agencies.

  1. The Ecological Preserve overlay designation shall be combined with a basic land use designation that is appropriate for the area. The overlay will enable the land use densities or building intensities for a discretionary project to be transferred to other lands, clustered, or otherwise mitigated to maintain the Preserve.
  2. The implementation strategies for the designated Ecological Preserve overlay lands shall be developed and approved by the Board of Supervisors prior to the designation taking effect. Implementation strategies shall not change the base land use designation.
  3. Within the Tahoe Basin, the Ecological Preserve overlay shall apply to SEZ as established by Section 37.3 of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Code of Ordinances.

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The purpose of the Mineral Resource (-MR) overlay designation is to identify those areas that are designated as Mineral Resource Zone 2 (MRZ 2xx) on the State Classification Reports. The -MR overlay shall only be considered appropriate with the following base land use designations:

• Natural Resource (NR)
• Agricultural Land (AL)
• Open Space (OS)
• Industrial (I)
• Commercial (C)
• Public Facilities (PF)
• Rural Residential (RR)
• Low-Density Residential (LDR)

If appropriate, said properties shall also be similarly zoned with Mineral Resource (-MR) combining zone district in conformance with Policy

Before authorizing any land uses within the -MR overlay zone that will threaten the potential to extract minerals in the affected area, the County shall prepare a statement specifying its reasons for considering approval of the proposed land use and shall provide for public and agency notice of such a statement consistent with the requirements of Public Resources Code section 2762. Furthermore, before finally approving any such proposed land use, the County shall balance the mineral values of the threatened mineral resource area against the economic, social, or other values associated with the proposed alternative land uses. Where the affected minerals are of regional significance, the County shall consider the importance of these minerals to their market region as a whole and not just their importance to the County. Where the affected minerals are of Statewide significance, the County shall consider the importance of these minerals to the State and Nation as a whole. The County may approve the alternative land use if it determines that the benefits of such uses outweigh the potential or certain loss of the affected mineral resources in the affected regional, Statewide, or national market.

The Important Biological Corridor (-IBC) overlay shall be as set forth in Policy Where the -IBC Overlay is applied to lands that are also subject to the Agricultural District (-A) overlay or that are within the Agricultural Lands (AL) designation, the land use restrictions associated with the -IBC policies will not apply to the extent that the agricultural practices do not interfere with the purposes of the -IBC overlay.