Winchester Community Plan
Project Contacts

Paul Swancott
Project Manager

Phone: (951) 955-3103
Email: PSwancott@rivco.org

Manny Baeza
Principal Planner
(Project Supervisor)

Phone: (951) 955-9294
Email: MBaeza@rivco.org

Winchester Community Plan

The Winchester Community Plan (WCP) project is expected to be completed in the Summer of 2022. The project proposes an update to the General Plan and Harvest Valley/Winchester Area Plan, design guidelines and will include an associated environmental impact report and community design guidelines.

Following the County’s adoption of the updated plan, it is the County’s intention to process a program to update zoning within the plan area, where necessary, to ensure that all zoning within the plan’s boundaries is consistent with the plan’s amended General Plan Land Use designations.

At this time, the WCP is expected to be completed in draft form, and then the draft EIR for the plan would be circulated for a 45-day public review and comment period, during the Spring2022. Following this, public hearings before the County’s Planning Commission, and then, Board of Supervisors, are expected to begin hearing the project in Summer of 2022, with final adoption of the plan by the County’s Board of Supervisors occurring –Summer -Fall 2022.

Project Characteristics

The proposed general plan amendment for Winchester (GPA No. 1207) would amend the Riverside County General Plan by:

  1. Expanding the Winchester Policy Area to approximately 23,153 acres of land within the General Plan’s Harvest Valley/Winchester Area Plan.
  2. Amending the boundaries of the General Plan’s Harvest Valley/Winchester, Sun City/Menifee, and Southwest Area Plans so that the proposed Winchester Policy Area falls within the limits of the Harvest Valley/Winchester Area Plan only.
  3. Revising land use designations within the new Winchester PA, including Foundation Component amendments. Those land use changes that are not considered Foundation Component amendments would include changes from Rural Residential and Estate Density Residential to Low Density Residential, Medium Density Residential, Commercial Retail, Business Park, and Light Industrial. Approximately 225 parcels totaling 1,480 acres would require Foundation Component Amendments that include changes from the Rural and Rural Community components to the Community Development component. Consistency zoning revisions would occur in the future as a result of the revised land use designations proposed as part of the project.
  4. Amending the Circulation Element of the General Plan to revise the current Highway 79 Policy Area (PA) language by removing the 9% reduction in density for residential projects. Revisions to the Highway 79 PA language would be carried throughout the General Plan document, where necessary, for internal consistency. This policy area covers approximately 26,908 acres. Additionally, revisions to several policies within the Circulation Element to address the transition from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) thresholds including as identified in the environmental assessment.
  5. The project also proposes the creation of new Design Guidelines for the Winchester Policy Area.

Winchester Policy Area Plan Boundary

Winchester Policy Area Plan Boundary

Background

Riverside County’s existing General Plan land use policies for most of the Winchester Community Plan area are articulated primarily through the Harvest Valley/Winchester Area Plan. The County’s existing General Plan land use policies for the southwestern portion of the community, specifically that area located between Briggs and Leon Roads, and between Newport and Scott Roads, are primarily articulated through the Sun City/Menifee Valley Area Plan. Both Area Plans were adopted in 2003, as part of the new countywide General Plan adopted at that time in conjunction with the Riverside County Integrated Project.

Several important planning studies and actions have taken place in recent years that have facilitated the proposed Winchester Community Plan, including the Winchester Land Use Study, the Riverside County 2021-2029 Housing Element (of the General Plan), and Caltrans’ Record of Decision regarding the preferred route of the Highway 79 realignment project,

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) concluded several years of studies and environmental reviews as it signed its Record of Decision establishing Highway 79 Realignment Project Alternative “1br” as its preferred alternative for the highway realignment project, as it moves forward. Project Alternative “1br” would realign and widen Highway 79 throughout the Community Plan area to a limited-access, four-lane expressway. This project would provide improved circulation and traffic capacity to accommodate growth in Winchester and surrounding communities.

Outreach

Get involved! The Riverside County Planning Department is conducting periodic public meetings to inform the community about the status of this project and to receive public input.

Community Outreach

Initial Presentation only: February 9, 2017 - Project Introduction at the Winchester-Homeland Municipal Advisory Council (WHMAC) meeting.

Workshop No. 1: May 11, 2017 - Introduction, History, and Visioning at the WHMAC meeting.

Workshop No. 2: September 14, 2017 - Visioning at the WHMAC meeting.

Workshop No. 3: February 8, 2018 - Land Use Alternatives at the WHMAC meeting.

Workshop No. 4: October 11, 2018 - Draft Land Use Plan at WHMAC meeting.

Project Update: April 14, 2022 - PowerPoint Presentation at WHMAC Meeting. 

Future community meetings: Notice will also be posted here in advance of each future community meeting.