Multi-Jurisdictional Award Winning Specific Plan Adopted by City of Riverside – Northside Specific Plan

May 13, 2021


The City of Riverside adopted the Northside Neighborhood & Pellissier Ranch Specific Plan and Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) on November 17, 2020.  The Specific Plan provides a vision for future development in the Northside neighborhood, which encompasses approximately 1700 acres within the City of Riverside, City of Colton, and unincorporated County of Riverside.

The city solicited community feedback throughout the planning process and strived to strike a balance between the desire to save open space but also allow property owners to build residential and commercial projects.

KMA was part of a team of consultants, led by Rick Engineering Company, who prepared the Specific Plan and PEIR.  KMA’s initial task was to prepare a market analysis to evaluate the types of land uses that could be supported.  This analysis assessed prevailing market factors, trade area growth projections, and regional/local trends within each major land use category.  KMA then prepared an assessment of market potential and development feasibility for retail, high-quality industrial, and residential development in the SPA.  The adopted plan allows for development of a new village center, added mixed housing, regulated industrial growth and creation of ample open and green space.

After the adoption of the Specific Plan, the City sought to establish a Cost Reimbursement Program to recover the costs from future development projects within the plan that benefit from the land use changes.  California Government Code Section 65456 authorizes jurisdictions to impose fees that, in the aggregate, defray but do not exceed, the cost of preparation, adoption, and administration of a Specific Plan.  To support this effort, KMA prepared a nexus study in support of a reimbursement fee schedule.  The KMA analysis evaluated the Subareas that benefit from the land use changes in the Specific Plan, outlined a reasonable methodology for allocation of the proposed fee, and determined the maximum supportable fee.  In May 2021, the City Council approved the establishment of the Cost Reimbursement Program.

The Inland Empire Section of the American Planning Association recognized the Specific Plan and awarded the City of Riverside and Rick Engineering with the 2021 Award for Comprehensive Plan in a Large Jurisdiction, while the State of California American Planning Association has also awarded the plan with a prestigious 2021 Award of Merit for a Comprehensive Plan (Large) which will be recognized at an awards ceremony in September.