Diamond Bar's vision of the future is being written now.

Called General Plans, cities rewrite them once every 20 years.

Responsible Land Use has four major areas of focus for our future:

•   Preserve our remaining open spaces.

•   Focus our development on infill instead of destroying more natural land.

•   Keep our traffic from getting even worse.

•   Create a business development plan which best suits the historical legacy of our city.

But much more will be required to preserve our quality of life and sense of "country living".


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Could Diamond Bar become another Camp Fire Tragedy?

DB Center's trails

The similarities between Diamond Bar and Paradise are eerily similar.

Click here to see how vulnerable we really are to a similar tragedy.



Oak habitat defines our city.

DB Oak Habitat

Coast Live Oak woodland dominates the city of Diamond Bar

Oak hillsides and valley habitat are a historic legacy, and define the iconic, scenic character of Diamond Bar.

It is this hillside habitat which gives Diamond Bar its sense of "Country Living."

Given that our Oak heritage defines us as a community, doesn't it deserve to be protected?

Shouldn't we have a tree protection ordinance which actually protects our Oaks?



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Responsible Land Use has recommendations for the GPAC

1. We very much appreciate the city and the GPAC making the effort they did to give our proposals serious consideration.

At the November 29th, 2018 meeting, the vast majority of policy changes proposed by Responsible Land Use were either accepted as written, or policies were rewritten to incorporate the spirit of our concerns.

However, there are still areas which we believe need to be addressed by the GPAC:

2. Tres Hermanos: We strongly urge that the GPAC pass a motion which designates Diamond Bar's portion of Tres Hermanos as a "biologically significant area" and classifies it for zoning purposes as open space.

In the City's Proposed General Plan's Preferred Land Use Plan, the city's portion of Tres Hermanos is currently classified for zoning purposes as a planning area. Planning areas have no environmental protections or development restrictions. They are basically an open ended development device.

We recommend that Diamond Bar's portion of Tres Hermanos be reclassified with the understanding that the Tres Hermanos issue has many moving parts, and that the GPAC has no specific ability to preserve Tres Hermanos.

That said, this is one thing that the GPAC can do which, if Diamond Bar's general plan and zoning ever acquires authority over that area, will offer an important degree of protection our portion of Tres Hermanos otherwise would not have.

The reason is that the city's revised and updated policies, (which we recommended be accepted above,) stipulate that once an area has been designated and then zoned as open space, that designation can only be changed by a vote of the people.

We believe doing this is especially important if the rumor about Commerce attempting to purchase the Tres Hermanos property turns out to be true.

3. Given the recent fire which destroyed Paradise, we strongly recommend that policies be strengthened in the safety element so that they more emphasize the creation of evacuation plans in the case of wild fire and the creation of evacuation in place plans.

Diamond Bar is only four fifths the size of Paradise, with twice the population. Like Paradise we have a limited number of exit routes. Quickly evacuating this city in the face of a fast moving fire would be impossible.

The city's revised and updated policies discuss updating building codes, educating citizens about fire danger, and working with fire agencies, etc, but nothing is mentioned about the creation of fire evacuation plans or the creation of evacuation in place fire plans.

4. We recommend that policies be added to the safety element which require that only fire-resistant plants be allowed in the city, and that a city ordinance to that effect be enacted.

This might best be accomplished by general plan language which notes the need for fire resistant landscaping and instructs the city to create a Landscaping Ordinance which would describe the specific types of landscaping allowed. Please note that native plants are generally considered to be the fire retardant.

5. Hillside development: We recommend the GPAC pass a motion which instructs the city to revisit the Hillside Management Ordinance, (Ord. No. 02(1998) § 2, 11-3-98), and decrease the Allowable Residential Density factors in table 3-4.

This is an important technical detail which is needed to make Diamond Bar's Hillside Management Ordinance consistent with new general plan language that emphasizes the protection of hillsides and ridgelines.

The table contains multiplier factors which, when multiplied by zoning density, diminish the number of dwelling sites allowed in a development as hillside slopes increase. The current table was last changed in 1998. It specifies a minimal Density Reduction Factor, favoring development. We believe Density Reduction Factors should begin at .5 for slopes 0% to 25%, .4 for slopes 26% to 30%, .3 for slopes 31% to 35%, and no development allowed on slopes above 35%.

6. We urge the GPAC to pass a motion requiring that deed restrictions be placed on all city owned natural open spaces. The deed restrictions should preserve and protect those spaces in perpetuity.

We appreciate the city, in Meeting #9 Agenda and Meeting packet, classifying the 424 acres of trail area around Diamond Bar Center as open space.

However, concerns remain. In GPAC Meeting #7, page 40, the city claims that land, "acquired through negotiations with the developer... will be preserved in perpetuity."

That statement was not, technically, true when that document was written. When that document was written, there were no deed restrictions that we've been able to find on that land at all.

As one can see in Tract Map 1245-057, page 1,upper left hand corner, the 424 acres, referred to as all of lot 4 and portions of lots 5,6 and 7 of Tract 31479, were deeded over to the city of Diamond Bar with no deed restrictions attached.

We believe that additional protections in the form of deed restrictions for that land should be created. This should be done in the spirit of transparency. Because we have seen how things can change. One never knows what might happen in the future..

Specifically, our concerns are that general plans can be modified by a vote of the city council. A vote of the people is not required to do that. We want all of the city owned natural open spaces to indeed be preserved and protected in perpetuity, regardless of who happens to sit on the city council. The best way to ensure that is through a tightly written and placed deed restriction.

7. We strongly recommend that the GPAC pass a motion instructing the city to correct the Existing Condition Reports.

We have noted elsewhere that inaccuracies exist in the Existing Conditions reports published by the city. There are many omissions of protected and endangered species.

It is also stated that Oak Habitat only exists in a small area of the city. The reality is that Los Angeles County as well as state certified biologists have extensive data showing that Oak Habitat exists throughout the city.

8. We have serious reservations about the Transit Oriented Development proposed by the city.

We understand the need for high density housing in Diamond Bar. And we support the idea of using infill, as opposed to paving over what's left of our natural open spaces, to meet that housing need.

And we aren't opposed to the idea of a Transit Oriented type of development in portions of the proposed TOD area. But we do have concerns about how the TOD is to be implemented.



Natural open space is Diamond Bar's most precious asset.

DB Natural Open Space

Oak studded hills & valleys are quintessential California landscape, and Diamond Bar's historic legacy.

•   Diamond Bar is located in one of the world's thirty-six ecologically sensitive, biodiversity hot spots. Hot spot defined. See map.

•   Native landscapes and watersheds are a scientifically proven system of storing carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and filtering groundwater recharge through natural climate solutions

•   As natural open space replenishes aquifers in the soil, it also regulates ambient temperatures from surrounding land, cooling city heat and improving air quality.

•   Natural open land is what gives Diamond Bar its sense of place, residents call "Country Living."

•   The gentle rolling hills, valleys and wildlife provide many ecosystem services, including spiritual refreshment and emotional stability.

•   Diamond Bar's natural open land also links important wildlife corridors through city and sphere of influence, contributing to ecological sustainability beyond its borders.



Our Vision

Backed up freeway traffic.

Preserving natural open space is compatible with economic vitality and carefully planned business aspirations.

20 years from now, when our general plan is due to be redone, the most treasured asset of cities in our area will be natural open space. That's why we need to preserve ours now:

•   If existing open space habitats are preserved, effectively linking wildlife corridors and trail systems, the City of Diamond Bar will be in a perfect position to build a unique ecotourism identity.

•   As a premier, inland Southern California ecotourism destination, Diamond Bar, can reap cultural and economic benefits as a gateway city.

•   We envision themed eco-education opportunities, California Native landscape preservation and nursery attractions, music and fine arts programs, quality passive recreations along with carefully planned active sport fields.

•   Because these deliverables are ecological, potential environmental business partners include water districts, schools, universities, count and state parks & recreation agencies, county, state, national and international science research groups, arts councils and selected associated retailers.



Solutions

Millennium Grading

It is still possible to save Diamond Bar's natural hills and valleys from bad planning practices.

•   Diamond Bar's new General Plan is not yet finalized.

•   We invite the General Plan Advisory Committee, (which represents the people), and the city council members, to embrace the best, scientific planning practices and the concepts of green infrastructure. A forward-thinking approach to authentic community resilience.

•   We ask the City of Diamond Bar planning department to initiate a specific Conservation Element, in the new general plan.

•   Responsible Land Use has initiated proposed General Plan language revisions which prioritize natural open space protection equally with long term economic vitality.

•   We desire a meaningful dialog with city decision makers, on how to hold fast to a more “resident based” vision of the city's future.

 



Call to Action

Responsible Land Use needs YOUR help to:

•   Oversee that the General Plan language is changed to reflect conservation planning.

•   Affirm that the city’s iconic character of hills, valleys, trees, wildlife are preserved in perpetuity.

•   Call the city to designate Diamond Bar's Sphere of Influence and Tres Hermanos Ranch areas designated as significant ecological areas, protected natural open space.

You can help with this by joining our efforts. If many of us spend a little bit of time, we can make a difference.


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