The General Plan is a comprehensive long range planning document that will guide its decision makers on land use decisions and physical development of the city. The General Plan has been often referred to as the city's constitution or blueprint for the future on land use and development issues. State law (Government Code Section 65300) requires each city to prepare and adopt a general plan. The long term perspective of the general plan is contained in the numbers of goals, policies and implementation measures for various land use and development issues prepared in the form of "elements," which must also be internally consistent with each other. Furthermore, an adequate general plan must be able to meet the test of state law to avoid invalidity or legal challenge.
General Plan Elements
The General Plan must consist of seven mandatory elements that address the following issues:
The General Plan may contain optional elements which, in the judgement of the city council, identify and discuss other vital issues relating to development in the city.
- The life of the general plan varies depending upon the conditions within the community.
- Appropriate goals and policies contained in the document can be both long and short terms.
- Most cities will elect to utilize a 15 to a 25 year horizon for its general plan.
Importance of the Housing Element
The only element that has a mandated time specific update is the Housing Element, which is required every five years. This discussion is very timely in that the city is currently undergoing a full update of the General Plan. City planning staff will be working with a General Plan Update Task Force containing various City Commissioners, Board members and At-Large members, and utilizing the services of consultants to prepare the update, which is anticipated to take approximately 14 -18 months.
Of paramount importance will be the participation of the public. The process will include various public meetings and other methods to solicit public input, including newsletters and use of the Internet. This entire community effort will be undertaken to establish "vision" for the future of Monterey Park.