Contact Info:

United States
Phone #:760-630-7070


   Agenda & minutes


   Bonsall history

   Bonsall history - schoolhouse

   Bonsall planning area map

   Current general plan

   Hillside developement guidelines

   Nuisance ordinance

   Viewshed protection

   Wireless plan draft #2      PDF format




Viewshed Protection Program


“The values that land use regulation represents are spiritual, as well as physical, aesthetic as well as monetary. It is within the power of the legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful as well as healthy, spacious as well as clean, well-balanced as well as carefully patrolled”

Mr. Justice Douglas

Bonsall’s ridges, gaps and foothills are the soul of our community. These scenic heights of public domain counsel our spirits and absolve the mundane. They are gifts and habitats for a stunning array of flora and fauna – hunting grounds for those that soar as well as those who crawl. Land that is good for agriculture is also best for building, but it is limited. Once violated, it will never be the same.


Thus Bonsall has come to a serious juncture for the preservation of its natural beauty. Either we continue with no plan and unbridled development or we have the wisdom to realize that preservation is done with foresight not hindsight. True prosperity hinges on intelligent protection of our scarce visual resources.


We are experiencing irreversible ridge development and exploitation. The ridges and Hillside development can permanently change the character of a community so Bonsall needs to make careful choices. Typically, hillside regulation has taken one of three approaches:

  1. To use site design and engineering to virtually eliminate all hazards to public safety (usually by slope reconstruction).

  2. To perform selective grading, drainage improvements and vegetation clearance to achieve public safety while retaining valuable natural features of hillsides.

  3. To prohibit hillside development because of the natural value of hillsides and mistrust of the dependability of proposed solutions. Bonsall intends to combine elements of all three by being more explicit about its goals so that developers and planners can more consistently address community concerns.

Goal of Bonsall’s Viewshed Protection Program

  1. Providing hillside development standards that minimize the impact of man-made structures and grading on views of exisiting land forms, unique geological features, landscape features and open space as seen from the scenic public roads designated in the Bonsall Community Plan.

  2. Protecting and preserving views of major and minor ridgelines as seen from the designated public roads listed below. Major ridgelines are those that have a sky backdrop and minor ridgelines have a landform backdrop.

  3. Minimizing grading operations so that finished slopes are compatible with existing community character.

  4. Promoting architecture and design compatible with hillside terrain while minimizing impacts.

Properties subject to this Program

  • New structures

  • Modifications to existing structures located on a major or minor ridgeline (as described above) or on hillside slopes of 15% or more.

  • Future building sites identified on tentative maps

  • Final parcel maps

  • Subdivision maps

Use permits and building permits issued after the adoption date of the Bonsall 2020 Plan must comply with this program. In addition to the usual materials a hillside development project must include the following

  1. A legible, reduced copy of the grading plan

  2. A legible plan showing compliance with setback provisions

  3. Proposed grading plan including complete information regarding the heights of the cut and fill slopes for the building pads and private roads.

  4. Cross sections shall be provided for all lots visible from view corridors

  5. If slopes are to be disturbed, then a landscape mitigation plan must be included. This plan will describe the number and type of dense plantings of native and naturalized drought tolerant plants to reduce the visual impact of graded slopes.

San Diego County Planning Director can allow administrative approval providing the project:

  • Contains no component higher than 25 vertical feet below any major or minor ridgeline

  • Covers an area not more than 4,000 square feet for a main residence or agricultural structure; and 2,500 combined square feet for all accessory structures

  • Limits any height to 24 feet along 50% of the longest wall, as viewed from designated public roads.

  • Reduces removal of existing vegetation to a minimum

  • Includes a landscaping plan to screen the project if any tree greater than 6” in diameter is removed

  • Retains a significant portion of the natural vegetation

  • Provides exterior tones that blend in with the surrounding vegetation and land forms

  • Limits grading to less than 1.5 acres

  • Avoids environmentally sensitive areas

  • Includes a detailed landscape plan as prepared by a landscape professional.

Failing to meet one or more of the above criteria will cause the project to go before the Planning Commission.

Designated Public Roads in Bonsall

  1. SR 76

  2. Gopher Canyon Road

  3. Little Gopher Canyon

  4. West Lilac Road

  5. Camino Del Rey

  6. Olive Hill Road

  7. Osborne