SAN BERNARDINO – The County Planning Commission has begun hearings on proposed general plans for a vast 19,000-square-mile desert area and 600,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The plans are intended to serve as development guides for the next 20 years. They do no spell out specific zones for each area. The next in the series of hearings will be held July 20.

Planners utilized the so-called broad brush approach and created several new land use categories for the two plans, the same as they did with the general plan for San Bernardino Valley.

The planning department hopes to complete the plans for the entire county by Aug. 31.

The plan for the mountains takes in the entire stretch of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains from the county line on the west to the east and emphasizes conservation of natural resources. For the most part it is the management plan of the U.S. Forest Service.

It indicates in a broad, general way urbanizing areas, critical urban areas (the fire fronts at the base of the mountain), forest land and open and conservation uses.

Desert land use categories include urbanizing areas, special service centers, rural retreat areas, defense reservations, recreation-conservation areas, agricultural areas and resource reserve areas.