What is the General Plan?

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“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs, author


What is a general plan?

A general plan is the framework for decision-making regarding the management and growth of a city. It is an aspirational blueprint of a city that includes goals and policies to guide a city to achieve the community’s future vision. State law mandates that every California City and county adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The Newport Beach General Plan includes the seven (7) state-mandated elements -- Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Natural Resources, Open Space, Noise, and Safety -- as well as a Harbor and Bay, Historical Resources, Recreation, and Arts and Cultural element.

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research has created guidelines as a "how to" resource for reviewing and drafting a general plan. The guidelines can be found here. The guidelines were updated in 2017 and includes legislative changes, new guidance, policy recommendations and links to other documents and resources.