Land Use Element

Only areas below are considered part of the General Plan.

Overview
Menifee has historically been viewed as a collection of distinct communities with very different characteristics and needs. Communities range from rural to suburban, agrarian to industrial, and established senior residential enclaves to newer planned communities catering to families and a younger population. Menifee's biggest challenge is to find the common threads that will create a cohesive community while maintaining the features that make each neighborhood unique.

Vision 2035 and Land Use Approach
At the outset of the General Plan process, the community and the City Council developed a vision for Menifee as the foundation for the land use plan. The core objective of the vision is to establish a fiscally sustainable balance of land uses and continually seek new and innovative ways to enhance the city's quality of life. The Vision 2035 specifically called for:
  • A mix of land uses that promote ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, functionality, and sustainability of the city
  • Preservation of established neighborhoods and rural communities essential to the community's distinctive character
  • High quality development, amenities, and public services as a stipulation of future growth
  • An array of housing choices for a variety of life stages and lifestyles
  • A vibrant downtown area that serves as the primary gathering space for the community
  • Continual investment and reinvestment in the community that makes Menifee a sought after and safe place to live, work, and visit in the Inland Empire
Using the Riverside County Integrated Plan (RCIP) General Plan Land Use map and associated goals and policies as a starting point, the city worked with the public, General Plan Advisory Committee, and elected and appointed officials to make refinements to the land use plan and General Plan goals and policies that are intended to implement Menifee's Vision 2035. The process acknowledged that there were fundamental components of the county's general plan that should be carried forward into the city's inaugural General Plan effort, including preservation of established communities (Sun City, Romoland, Quail Valley) and preservation of the rural residential lifestyle that is characteristic of Menifee.

Community Structure
At the most basic level, the City of Menifee comprises a series of established residential communities and nonresidential uses predominantly consisting of neighborhood centers and industrial uses along Ethanac, Newport, McCall, and Scott Roads. Exhibit LU-1, Menifee Community Structure, illustrates at the most fundamental level the natural clustering and distribution of residential land uses proposed within the city, open space areas, and commercial and industrial areas that will be home to jobs centers throughout the city. The general pattern of land uses shows that the concentration of nonresidential land uses is along the I-215 corridor. These areas slowly transition to rural and residential land uses adjacent to the city boundaries. The residential land uses are generally clustered into 4 village areas, primarily delineated by Salt Creek and I-215. Areas north of Salt Creek are predominantly developed as traditional or master planned single-family neighborhoods, and the areas south of Garbani Road (east and west of I-215) tend to be more rural in nature. The general land use patterns were used to further refine the locations and types of land uses in the General Plan. The General Plan Land Use Map can be seen in Exhibit LU-2; Exhibit LU-3, Land Use Designations, provides the explanation of each use illustrated on the land use map.

Purpose of Element
Section 65302 of the State of California Government Code identifies 7 mandatory elements in a general plan, including land use. According to the California Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the purpose of the land use element is to designate the proposed general distribution and general location and extent of uses of the land in the city. The land use element focuses on preserving established land uses and accommodating the future growth and physical development of the community.

Section 65302 (a) defines the types of issues that need to be identified and addressed The distribution of housing, business, industry, recreational facilities, and open space (including agricultural land) and the location of educational facilities and public buildings are addressed in Menifee's Land Use Element. In addition, the Land Use Element addresses infrastructure and utilities issues associated with existing and future development.

The Land Use Element generally establishes the density, intensity, and location of land uses throughout the city and is complemented by the additional policy guidance provided in other elements that relate to a specific topic. For example, the Community Design Element provides additional policy and design guidance for such things as the preservation of the city's rural character (through design, materials, etc.), viewsheds and view corridors, gateway and landmark features, landscape corridors, and other topics that further enhance the fundamental land uses in this element. The Housing Element is also closely tied to the Land Use Element because the Land Use Element identifies the locations and diversity of housing types available in the City that can be used to achieve housing mandates specified by the State Office of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The Open Space and Conservation Element provides guidance for the recreational amenities associated with conservation and recreational uses identified in the Land Use Element and identifies policies to preserve the city's rock features, natural landforms, and ridgelines that are important features for the City of Menifee.

Land Use Map, Designations & Buildout Summary
The Land Use Map, Exhibit LU-2, shows where residential, commercial, office, mixed use, industrial, public/quasi-public facilities, and open space uses are expected. It also illustrates the location of properties with approved specific plans.

Land use designations provide descriptions of proposed land uses and define the type, density, and intensity of development within the city. Land use designations distinguish between levels of intensity and allowable uses and include categories reflecting existing land uses as well as projected development. Exhibit LU-3, Land Use Designations, provides definitions for and describes each one of the land use designations illustrated on the land use map.

Each one of the residential designations includes a maximum and/or a range of allowable densities. The maximum density signifies the maximum number of dwelling units per gross acre that are allowed in each residential area. The lower number signifies a minimum amount of development that is anticipated (provided required conditions can be met), and the upper end represents a potential maximum that can be achieved if a proposed development includes features to achieve a high quality project. Building intensities for nonresidential uses are measured by floor area ratio (FAR), which guides the amount of square footage and building coverage that can be accommodated on a site. Additional information about densities and FAR can be found in the Land Use Background Document.

One of the Land Use Element's primary objectives is to establish the maximum buildout potential for housing units, nonresidential building square footage, population, and employment that could be generated by the Land Use Plan. These projections are identified in Exhibit LU-4, Land Use Buildout Summary.

Sphere of Influence
Land use planning does not necessarily stop at a city's boundaries. A city's sphere of influence (SOI) addresses unincorporated lands adjacent to city boundaries that are defined by the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) as areas likely to be serviced or annexed by the city sometime in the future. Cities do not have regulatory control over these lands, but they do have the authority to designate their preferences for land use planning in the county areas if the properties are annexed to the city sometime in the future. Since the City of Menifee is a newly incorporated city, its SOI boundary is contiguous with the city boundary.

Over time, the City of Menifee may wish to consider annexation of adjacent unincorporated areas or engage in discussions with LAFCO, and that could lead to a future revision of the city's current SOI boundaries. It should be noted that no annexations of the unincorporated county areas adjacent to the city or amendments to the SOI boundaries are proposed as part of this General Plan. Applications to amend the city's existing SOI will require appropriate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review and a General Plan Amendment to update the Land Use Plan.

Goals
Click on the goal links below to see the policies that are associated with the individual goals identified in this element. Readers should also refer to the Implementation Actions for additional items that must be undertaken by the city to achieve the goals and policies for this element.
  • LU-1: General Land Use. Land uses and building types that result in a community where residents at all stages of life, employers, workers, and visitors have a diversity of options of where they can live, work, shop, and recreate within Menifee.
  • LU-2: Economic Development Corridors. Thriving Economic Development Corridors that accommodate a mix of nonresidential and residential uses that generate activity and economic vitality in the City.
  • LU-3: Utilities and Infrastructure. A full range of public utilities and related services that provide for the immediate and long-term needs of the community.
General Plan Exhibits