General Plan Basics (FAQ)

What is a General Plan?
The state of California requires that all cities adopt a General Plan. A General Plan is an overarching policy document that guides city actions, like a blueprint for a city. It addresses issues that impact the entire city, such as how land is used, where buildings are built, the locations of roads and parks, safety, noise, and more. All city plans, zoning, and private development must be consistent with the diagrams and policies in the General Plan.
Why is the City updating its Plan?

The City of Elk Grove adopted its current General Plan in 2003. Since that time, the city has grown and changed. Additionally, new laws affecting General Plans have been passed, new social and environmental issues have emerged, and new planning strategies and practices have been developed.

This General Plan update looks ahead to the year 2040, making adjustments based on current issues and emergent trends, and positioning the City of Elk Grove for the next 25 years. The update also brings the General Plan into compliance with new laws related to climate change, multimodal transportation, and floodplains.

The City of Elk Grove is committed to engaging community members, City staff, and decision-makers to produce an updated General Plan that is up-to-date, forward thinking, clear and flexible, and fiscally viable.

What topics are addressed in the General Plan?

General Plans are divided into elements based on specific topics. There are seven required elements: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, safety, and noise. Cities can choose to include additional elements, such as community design, public health, or historical resources.

The following initial set of issues to be addressed by the General Plan update were identified by staff and community decision-makers and confirmed by the City Council and Planning Commission:

What is the schedule for the Plan update?
The General Plan update will take place over a two-year period from June 2015 to June 2017. The process can be divided into six consecutive phases: Discovering, Listening, Vetting, Documenting, Presenting, Adopting. These phases will include the following staff tasks and community engagement opportunities:
How can I get involved?

The General Plan update process provides an opportunity for community members to discuss and weigh in on the city’s future. We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities to participate, including meetings, workshops, and public hearings.

In order to collect community input in an open, engaging, and actionable way, the City has designed a series of community events where you will have the opportunity to participate in the planning process. These include:

  • Stakeholder Interviews and Focus Groups — Individual and group interviews will ensure that a broad range of perspectives are included early in the General Plan update process. Feedback collected during this stage will be subject to additional input from the broader community.
  • Citizen’s Planning Academy – A one-day mini-conference to introduce the General Plan update and provide foundational urban planning knowledge so that community members are informed and prepared to contribute to the General Plan update process.
  • Visioning Charrette — A highly interactive, fun, and productive two-day workshop to help identify a unified vision for the city.
  • Mobile Studios — Information about the General Plan update and opportunities to provide input will be available in a moving studio that will be stationed in various neighborhoods throughout the update process. For information about when the studio is coming your way, check this website.
  • Topic-based Workshops – These workshops will address key topics identified through the visioning charrette and other community input.
  • A Public Review Draft General Plan will be made available to the public for review and feedback before the plan is finalized. The City will conduct public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council, and community members are encouraged to attend these meetings.
Why should I get involved?
The City of Elk Grove is committed to involving the community in the planning process. The General Plan update process provides all residents and businesses the chance to help guide the future of Elk Grove. A successful General Plan will reflect the community’s vision and priorities, and we believe that your voice is vital to producing a plan that will reflect your vision for the city’s future. We need your input to make this process a success!
How will my feedback be used?
At each public meeting, community input is carefully recorded and aggregated to ensure that City planners and decision-makers have a full understanding of public opinion when drafting, reviewing, and approving General Plan goals and policies. Public feedback will be considered throughout the process.
How can I stay informed?
Visit the project website to view the dates of upcoming meetings and community events.

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