Good news, and thank you Todd Spitzer!
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted on Dec. 15th 2015, by 3-2, to overrule the recommendation of its planning commission and rescind the spot zoning in North Tustin that would have allowed the Catholic Diocese to build a large, 2-story assisted living center ("Bethsaida") just north of 17th street at Newport Blvd.
The project would have been on a 6 acre site where North Tustin's Specific Plan (NTSP) says no commercial facilities can be built.
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Former Sup. Bill Campbell, a large donor to the Catholic church and self-described church "leader," had led the effort to create the spot-zoning category of "Senior Living Residential" which was then applied to just this one location.
North Tustin residents, almost unanimously opposed to changing their plan for this project - by some accounts up to 98%, filed suit via their Foothills Community Association to block the rezoning. And they won in superior court.
But, just as with Saddle Crest, the Diocese appealed to the state's 4th circuit, where they won a reversal. The appeals court concluded that this was indeed spot zoning. Which had been previously held illegal in California.
But this time, inventing new legal ground, the court concluded this spot zoning was fine anyway because the county had decided the project was "in the public interest". And within that context supervisors have broad discretion to do as they please.
Current Sup. Todd Spitzer had campaigned on a public pledge to reverse this North Tustin zoning change.
And that has finally come to pass with this vote. We also are encouraged that he appears to be working on crafting a policy to provide better protection to all specific plans, including Sil-Mod's.
The Diocese still has the option to file suit against this decision of the board of supervisors, so there may yet still be more to come.
► A short, understandable analysis of the legal issues
► Register Article from 2013
► Recent VoiceOfOC Article (Republished from The Sentry)
► Last-Minute Attack on Sup. Spitzer in The Register
► Foothills Community Assocation Website