How To Request A General Plan Amendment
The General Plan is a comprehensive policy document which aids County decision-makers in guiding future development in a manner that is consistent with the needs, goals, and interests of the public. The General Plan consists of 11 "countywide" elements, which apply to the entire unincorporated area, and "area wide" and "community" plan elements, which are more detailed plans for particular unincorporated areas and communities. As required by State law, all zoning regulations and development permits must be consistent with the applicable general plan. However, general plans are long range and may need to be amended from time to time to reflect changed circumstances.
General Plan Amendments may be initiated by the Board of Supervisors or the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) or by individual property owners who desire to develop property with a land use or density that is not permitted by the General Plan. General plans can be amended to address changed circumstances but only after thorough study and public hearings before the RPC and the Board of Supervisors. Amendments to State mandated elements of the County-wide General Plan are limited to four per calendar year.
Major issues involved in the evaluation of plan amendments include:
- Need and justification for the amendment, including development plans for the subject property
- Consistency with General Plan goals, policies and programs
- Compatibility with surrounding general plan designations, existing and proposed land uses
- Rationale for existing map designations and/or text
- Land suitability and physical constraints
- Availability of adequate access, public services and facilities to serve the proposed development
- Potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures
- Consistency with State and County standards
General Plan and Zoning information, application forms, and fee schedules may be obtained by contacting the Department of Regional Planning Land Development Coordinating Center in Room 1360, Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Telephone (213) 974-6411. Our office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The office is closed every Friday. If your proposed development involves a land division, (a parcel map or a tentative tract map), you may wish to schedule a "One Stop" counseling appointment in order to obtain additional information from representatives of the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department as well as Regional Planning staff.
When you have completed the application forms and assembled all of the required materials, you will need to call (213) 974-6438 to schedule a filing appointment. A planner will review the materials to ensure that all necessary items, including the required signatures and filing fees, are submitted before accepting the application and assigning a project number.
After the application has been logged into our case tracking system, it will be forwarded to the appropriate processing section. When the processing section has determined the application to be complete and the required environmental documentation has been completed, a public hearing will be scheduled before the RPC. If the project involves a zone change, a land division or discretionary permits in addition to a plan amendment, a concurrent hearing will be scheduled. The processing section will advise you of the hearing date and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property, mail notices to all owners of property within 500 feet of the subject property, publish notices in a local newspaper, and prepare a staff report and recommendation prior to the public hearing.
Following the public hearing, the RPC will make a recommendation to approve or deny the requested plan amendment; and, the Commission's recommendation will be transmitted to the Board of Supervisors. If the Commission recommends approval of a zone change, or the Commission's recommendation for no change of zone is appealed, a public hearing will be scheduled before the Board of Supervisors, who will make the final decision on the requested plan amendment. Because the State Planning Law limits the number of amendments to mandatory plan elements to four (4) per calendar year, it may be necessary to combine individual amendment requests into "compound" plan amendments. In such cases, concurrent hearings will be conducted regarding all of the sub-plan amendments comprising the "compound" plan amendment and a "compound" environmental document will be prepared.
At the time and place advertised in the public notice, the RPC will conduct a public hearing on your request. These hearings are normally held in Room 150 of the Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles. Commission meetings usually convene at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings.
The applicant and/or his representative should attend the public hearing and be prepared to present and explain the requested plan amendment and the proposed development. You may submit maps, graphics, letters, petitions or other documents in support of your request. You may call on other people, such as consultants or surrounding property owners who support your proposal, to assist you in presenting your case. Other interested persons, including neighboring property owners will have an opportunity to address the Commission. You and/or your representative will be given an opportunity to respond to any objections.
The RPC may continue the public hearing and may schedule a field trip to view the subject property and its surroundings. After the hearing has been closed, the Commission will authorize the preparation of a resolution containing the Commission's findings and recommendations and the final environmental documentation, if required, which will be placed on the Commission's agenda for adoption. After the resolution has been adopted, it will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors' public hearing procedures are similar to those of the RPC. The Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board of Supervisors will notify you of the time and place of the hearing and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property. The Board of Supervisors' meetings are held in the Board Hearing Room, (Room 381), in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles 90012.
The Board consists of five Supervisors, each of whom is elected by the voters of his or her district.
Proponents and opponents will be given an opportunity to be heard. Once the hearing is closed, the Board will render a decision to approve, deny, or modify the requested plan amendment. If the Board decides to approve a plan amendment that has been recommended by the RPC, a resolution amending the general plan generally will have been prepared in advance of the hearing and may be adopted on the same day. Otherwise, the Board will authorize the preparation of such a resolution for adoption at a subsequent meeting. In the event that the Board substantially modifies a plan amendment recommended by the Commission, such modification must be referred back to the RPC for further consideration, which may or may not involve further public hearings. Related project entitlements (zone changes, conditional use permits, land divisions), will not become effective until the plan amendment is adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
If you require reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids and services such as material in an alternate format or a sign language interpreter, please contact the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator at (213) 974-6488 (Voice) or (213) 617-2292 (TDD), with at least five business days notice.