Borrego U

Education Series

The Borrego Valley Stewardship Council will be holding 6 educational community sessions to inform the community about an array of topics related to the future of the Borrego Valley, including Economy, Health, Environment, and Water. 



Our first meeting was held by Howard Blackson on November 29th, from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at the Borrego Springs Library.

     Town planning 101        Howard Blackson 

Town Planning involves processes undertaken by the County or City planning departments to visualize, plan for, coordinate, and act on the three-dimensional physical layout of the town. This includes the zoning of different areas for various uses, such as residential, commercial, and office spaces. It also includes the subdivision of public property and the creation of public streets and park spaces. In addition, it takes into consideration the economic, transportation, political, legal, environmental, utility and sanitation infrastructures.


The goal of town planning is to achieve a desired urban form and to ensure that a certain level of walkability, adaptability, efficiency, and economy are built in and adapted to over time. The public streets and spaces provide the long-term structure for building a town, and private development provides the day-to-day life within this framework is allowed to change and adapt as needed.


Today, town planning has been dominated by zoning, the regulation of private property. However, this focus on zoning can sometimes overlook the more permanent and important patterns of subdivision, which involve the ordering of public and private property. Therefore, the challenge in town planning is to balance these two domains of zoning and subdivision to create a town that is healthy, safe, and welfare-promoting.


We will discuss the following:

  • Town Planning Patterns
  • Public and Private Spaces and Buildings
  • Planning Types – from the Region to the Lot
  • Place Types – from Pristine Nature to the Town Center
  • Character – From Memory to Expectation        



           County Planning 101                        Donald Chase 


The home you live in, stores you shop at, and places where you work and play all have a connection to the County of San Diego. Managing the built environment and how it fits into the mosaic of regional social, economic, and environmental systems is a big part of what the County does. The County works with a wide range of stakeholders to understand the needs of communities. County planning staff continually seek to answer important questions like where will future growth occur, or not? How is your neighborhood changing? What kind of new homes will be built, and will they be safe? How do we offset climate change? 


The goal of County planning efforts is to balance community, economic, and environmental interests to ensure the highest quality of life for the public of San Diego County. To help achieve this, the County of San Diego department of Planning & Development Services (PDS) has a Long Range Planning Division that is responsible for maintaining planning documents, programs, and policies as required by federal, state, and local laws. As directed by the County Board of Supervisors, the Division aims to modernize regulations and remove barriers without compromising public safety, the environment, or quality of life. Organized by interdisciplinary sections, County planners operate cross-functionally to ensure flexibility and full integration of planning efforts. Planners seek to continually improve the quality of life in the unincorporated area by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to address the unique needs of 26 unincorporated communities. 


We will discuss the following: 

  • Planning Process 

  • General Plan, Elements, and Implementation

  • Community Plans & Specific Plans 

  • Zoning Ordinance

  • Permitting & Subdivisions 

  • CEQA Process 



 Community Sponsor Group      John Peterson

Have you ever heard of the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group? Join us for an introduction to this group by the board chair; John Peterson. Learn how this group is formed, how they communicate with the county, and why they are important in building the future of our community.



We will discuss the following: 


  • Who the BSCSG represents 

  • How are members appointed and how do they serve

  • Frequency of meetings and who can attend

  • Discretionary projects and the review process.



Water-Dependent Ecosystems      Travis Huxman

We have been carrying out research in the basin looking at the ecohydrology of desert plants and the role of GDE’s in the water budget, funded by a grant from CA Department of Water Resources through the Borrego Water District. Our work demonstrates a high probability of mesquite accessing groundwater in the basin, satisfying the definition of a GDE, and requiring consideration as a beneficial user under SGMA. We have been tackling important questions related to management, such as the spatial distribution of the ecosystem, the patterns of water-use in time, the magnitude of groundwater extraction, and the trajectory of ecosystem health. Each of these questions are important areas that will inform the management of groundwater in the basin and require careful consideration by those who live and work in Borrego when crafting the future vision of this desert town.


Town Economics      Eduardo Velasquez
     Economic and demographic overview of the Borrego Springs community in comparison to the overall San Diego region, as well as the fundamental building blocks of any successful regional economy.