WHAT IS THE GENERAL PLAN?California law requires every city and county to prepare and adopt a comprehensive, long-range General Plan complete with text and a map, to serve as a guide for the physical development of that community. The law requires that, at a minimum, the general plan identify issues and provide policies for seven broad areas, called "elements": land use, mobility, housing, green space, conservation, noise and safety. The law permits other issues to be addressed, either within the required elements or as additional ones. State law requires that day-to-day decisions of a city follow logically from and be consistent with the General Plan.General plans provide the overall framework for translating broad community values and expectations into specific strategies for managing growth and enhancing the quality of life. As community needs and values change, general plans are regularly reviewed and updated to remain realistic documents to achieve the community’s vision.The General Plan and map is available in the Planning and Development Department, Community Planning Section in the Hale Building , 175 North Garfield Avenue or by calling (626) 744-4009. Click here for the General Plan on-line!
WHAT IS A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT?A General Plan Amendment is considered to be any change to the General Plan maps or text. State law provides that each mandatory General Plan element may be amended no more than four times per year.
WHAT DO I DO FIRST?Consult the staff in the Community Planning Section if you are interested in applying for a Planned Development District. A planner will help you find out the zoning and General Plan designations of the project site. You will be provided information on the City’s land use regulations and objectives and policies of the General Plan. The Planner will also help you understand the City’s review and approval procedure, and assist you with the application process. The planner will discuss the importance of meeting with the neighborhood that will be affected by your proposal.A meeting to discuss your project with the surrounding neighborhood is required before you submit a formal application. You are encouraged to seek comments from the residents and work with them to resolve any conflicts on the design of your project, traffic, noise, use of the site or any impacts specifically related to your project. The City’s Neighborhood Connections office and the Community Planning Section can provide you with further assistance to help you conduct and effective meeting.A request for a General Plan Amendment may require a Zoning Map Amendment if the existing zoning designation is different from the proposed General Plan land use designation. If a Zoning Map amendment approval is required, these applications can be processed simultaneously. ( See Zoning Map Amendment brochure for more information).Unless otherwise waived, all applicants are required to go through Concept Plan Review (CPR). The primary purpose of this step is to familiarize you with City regulations and concerns of City departments. General Plan Amendments which are not accompanied by a specific development project may not be subject to CPR and may be directly submitted to the Community Planning Section for processing.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO FILE AN APPLICATION?You can obtain application forms from the Community Planning Section at 175 North Garfield Avenue, or by mail by calling (626) 744-4206. The complete application submittal consists of the following:
ARE THERE ANY FEES AND WHAT DO THEY COVER?There is a flat fee to cover the cost of processing your application as well as additional fees for environmental review. Depending on whether or not your project needs a more extensive environmental review, there may be additional fees. The fees are reviewed yearly and may be adjusted by the City Council. Consult a planner in the Community Planning Section for further details on specific application deposits and fees.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS AFTER MY APPLICATION IS FILED?After we have received your application for a General Plan Amendment, the Community Planning Section will determine if the application is complete. Staff will complete the review of the application within 30 days after you have filed the application. If your application is deemed incomplete, staff will send a letter to you detailing a list of items necessary to complete the application. Once your application is deemed complete, you will be notified, and the Community Planning staff will prepare the environmental review.In addition to your discussing the project with the neighborhood, the Community Planning Section will hold a neighborhood meeting on your project after you file a formal application, to ensure that issues important to the neighborhood have been identified and addressed. If any unresolved or new issues arise that need to be mediated between you and the neighborhood, the Community Planning Section will hold additional meetings.Following the neighborhood meetings, a report is prepared by the Community Planning staff on your proposed General Plan Amendment, including a review of the required environmental documentation; an analysis of the planning issues including a discussion of the consistency of the project with objectives and policies of the General Plan; the neighborhood meetings; and a recommendation based on the staff analysis and public input.
PLANNING COMMISSION HEARINGOnce the report is completed, the Community Planning staff will notice the General Plan Amendment proposal for a public hearing before the Planning Commission. At the Planning Commission hearing, the staff will make a brief presentation and then you will be given an opportunity to comment on the project. An opportunity will then be given to citizens to speak in favor or opposition and/or simply comment on the project. Following this segment of the public hearing, you will be offered a final opportunity to speak to the Planning Commission.At the conclusion of the hearing the Planning Commission can either recommend approval of the proposed project, continue the project until further information is presented, modify the project or deny the project. In addition, the Planning Commission can modify the staff recommendation on the proposed project. If the project is approved, city staff will schedule it for a noticed public hearing before the City Council following the Planning Commission hearing.
CITY COUNCIL HEARINGThe City Council meeting will also be noticed. At the hearing, public testimony will again be received in the same manner it was received before the Planning Commission. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council will make the final decision on your project.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY PROJECT IS DENIED?If your project is denied by the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission is the final decision making body unless the project is "called up" for review by the City Council (PMC 17.104). If your project is denied, no new application for the same or substantially the same General Plan Amendment can be accepted within one year of the date of denial (PMC 17.100.090).
WHEN DOES THE APPROVED GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT BECOME EFFECTIVE?General Plan Amendments are adopted by resolution and are approved immediately upon adoption of the resolution. General Plan Amendments become effective 30 days after the City Council decision.