General Plan Overview

California Courts at various levels have ruled that the General Plan is the constitution for all future developments within a city or county.  The County's General Plan provides long-term direction for the growth and development of the unincorporated areas. It expresses community values and goals, and portrays the community's vision of the future. The core elements of the plan address land use, circulation, housing, resource conservation, open space, noise, and protection from hazards.


The Work Program / Calendar 2017 (PDF) provides an overview of the remaining phases of the General Plan Update process. The timeline is an estimate and is subject to change, so please check back often.

Why Update the Plan

State law requires that the General Plan have a 20-year planning horizon and be periodically reviewed and revised as necessary. All zoning and development regulations must conform to the adopted General Plan. The current county General Plan consists of Volume I - the Framework Plan, completed in 1984, and Volume II - Area Plans, which contains a number of individual plans for specific community areas and the Coastal Zone and includes plans that were adopted between 1981 and 2002. The General Plan is being updated to reflect changes in land use, resource management, community needs, and community values and to ensure that the plan remains consistent with any changes in law that have been made.

The current plan is comprised of 26 different documents, dating from the 1960s to the 2000s. An updated General Plan will unite most of these separate documents into a more accessible and easy to use set of documents.

The update offers an opportunity to improve the county's information base and plan for the county's future needs. The new plan will include updated demographic information (e.g. population, growth projections, and economic indicators) and modernized mapping.

Importance to You

The General Plan is an expression of the community's values and its plans for growth. Good planning depends on community involvement, and strong communities depend on good planning. With your input, the General Plan will reflect the values of the people who live here.