"The general plan must be comprehensive, internally consistent, and long-term. Although required to address the issues specified in state law, the general plan may be organized in a way that best suits the city or county. The plan should be clearly written, available to all those concerned with the community's development and easy to administer" -CA Governor's Office of Planing & Research
The general plan is a set of policies and programs that form a blueprint for physical development throughout the community. It is a long-term document consisting of written text and diagrams that expresses how a community should develop, and is a key tool for influencing the quality of life. The plan is a basis for land use decision making used by policy decision makers such as the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Why is it Required?
State law mandates that every California City and county adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The purpose is to plan for important community issues such as new growth, housing needs, and environmental protection. Furthermore, the general plan is used to project future growth demand services for sewer, water, roadways, parks, and emergency services.
State Mandated Elements
The elements of the general plan make up the framework for decision-making regarding growth and development in the City. State law requires that a general plan contain seven (7) mandated elements such as Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise and Safety. Santa Monica has also adopted a Historic Preservation element.
Why is the Land Use element being updated now?
General Plans need to be updated periodically to reflect current community values, update technical information, and address locally relevant issues. Santa Monica's Land Use and Circulation elements are being updated to reflect changes in land use, community needs and values, lifestyles, and the regional marketplace that have occurred since 1984, when the City adopted its current Land Use element. This update provides an exciting opportunity for Santa Monica residents to develop a strategic community vision for our City's neighborhoods, commercial districts, and open space areas, and to identify how we can implement that vision into the future.