July 2, 2024

Riverside County Supervisors Unanimously Approve Rancho Ordinance

Staff & Wire Reports

The Beach at the Packhouse at the Aziz Farms Rancho

Riverside County supervisors unanimously approved a new county ordinance on June 25 to define the land use and create regulations for Ranchos in the Coachella Valley. Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, the community, and county staff worked on this effort for the past three years.

In rural areas of the Coachella Valley, Ranchos are large agricultural properties used by families for generations to hold events, primarily outdoors, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, baby showers, quinceañeras, graduations, and more.

The ordinance sets standards for noise, trash, access for first responders, parking, traffic, and land use. It requires 40 percent agriculture use and 20 percent date palms, creating a balance between safety and wellness for the entire community.

The 5-0 vote at the Board of Supervisors meeting establishes what may be a first as a county, unique in the state and possibly the nation, with a land-use ordinance that recognizes these types of properties. The ordinance allows Ranchos to become permitted full-time event venues in the county.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez has worked with the community on the Rancho ordinance for more than 3 years.

“I’m very proud of this day,” said Supervisor Perez. “This is what it’s all about. It’s historical, it’s cultural, it goes way back. I want to thank the staff, three years… And you know what, we’re not done yet… but we are going to move this forward today. I want to thank my colleagues for being so gracious and supportive and being here in solidarity to make this happen. This is a proud moment for all of us.”

The ordinance will be returned for a second reading in July before it takes effect 30 days later. Rancho owners will then be able to apply for a permit by sending an application to the Riverside County Planning Department. The county will hold a workshop for Rancho owners and have a designated planner to answer questions and process Ranchos.

Over 30 people in the Rancho community attended the meeting in support. Speakers expressed that Ranchos represent an opportunity to support families and the date business. Comments touched on the opportunity for families to be able to pursue their dreams to have their special days and celebrations held at Ranchos. Another highlighted the small businesses supported by Ranchos. This long list includes food vendors, tables and chairs, event coordinators, bakeries, musicians, DJs, hotels, Airbnb owners, real estate vendors, hair and makeup, photographers, videographers, photo booths, janitorial services, security crews, landscape maintenance companies, and decorators.

Rancho 51 Date Garden is a popular event location.

Claudia Lua Alvarado, owner of Rancho 51 Date Garden and leader of Ranchos and Vendors United, states, “After three long years, we’re very happy to have the support of Supervisor Victor Manuel Perez and all the Supervisors to get this final vote. We thank them for getting this vote because now we get to stay in business, our Ranchos and vendors will continue, our community will thrive, and our heritage, our families, and our traditions will stay alive. Thank you again for all your support and we’re just excited to continue our beautiful businesses in our Coachella Valley.”

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