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General Plan Q&A

General Plan Q&A

General Questions

What is the General Plan Update?

The General Plan Update is a comprehensive update of the Los Angeles County General Plan, establishing future growth and land use development patterns for the unincorporated areas of the County. The General Plan Update will replace all elements of the current General Plan, except for the Housing Element, which was updated and adopted in February 2014.

Why update the General Plan?

The current General Plan was adopted in 1980, and it was based on 1970 census data. During the intervening years, much has changed within the region. The General Plan Update will provide a general plan that more accurately reflects regional growth, resource protection regulations, state law, local ordinances, and provide a guide for future land use patterns.

How can I get involved?

The General Plan Update is an opportunity for community members and other major stakeholders to discuss how the County unincorporated areas will grow through 2035. There will be many opportunities to participate, including meetings, workshops and public hearings. You can join the email list or receive notification of upcoming events through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you have any questions, or would like to provide us with comments, please contact the General Plan Update team, at (213) 974-6417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

My neighborhood is covered by a Community, Area or Specific Plan. Should I participate in the General Plan Update?

Yes. The General Plan Update provides policies for guiding growth and development in all of the unincorporated areas, including those areas covered by a Community, Area or Specific Plan. However, with the exception of digitizing and parcelizing many of the existing community-based plans land use policy maps, the General Plan Update does not propose new land use policy map changes within these areas. The General Plan will provide the framework for future community-based plans and updates to ensure consistency between community-based plans and the Countywide General Plan. Once the General Plan Update has been adopted, community-based plans may be developed or updated with additional policies through a process that will include extensive community and stakeholder participation.

When will the General Plan Update be complete?

The General Plan Update will be adopted in the spring of 2015.

Where can I find information on proposed land uses?

The General Plan Update website contains parcel-based mapping information. The GP-NET is searchable by address, APN or community name. You can access GP-NET by clicking HERE.

Printed maps are available for review, and for purchase from the Department of Regional Planning at a cost of $75 per map. You can also download PDF maps by community HERE.

For a description of the proposed land use designations, please refer to pages 73-80 of the Draft General Plan.

What is the difference between the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance?

The General Plan sets forth long-term policies that guide future development. The Zoning Ordinance implements general plan policies via detailed development regulations, such as specific use types and building standards. Although the purpose and intent of zoning is different from the General Plan, state law requires that zoning be consistent with maps and policies in the General Plan. In the County, uses and densities/intensities are permitted if they are consistent with both the General Plan land use designation and the zoning of the property.

Will there be zone changes with the General Plan Update?

Yes. In conjunction with the General Plan Update, the Department will propose select modifications to the Zoning Code to implement the General Plan Update, and select changes to the Zoning Map. Click here for more information on proposed modifications to the Zoning Code. Proposed zone changes can be viewed on GP-NET.

Will the public receive notification about the General Plan Update public hearings, or other related public meetings?

Yes. You can request to be added to the General Plan Update mailing list for public hearing/meeting notices via mail or e-mail. All notices for public meetings, workshops, and environmental documents, as well as copies of draft documents, will be posted on the General Plan Update website.

How will the General Plan Update affect my pending project?

The General Plan Update includes a proposed applicability provision for projects with completed applications filed prior to the effective date of the General Plan Update to be reviewed for consistency with the previously adopted General Plan. After adoption of the General Plan Update, these projects may be maintained as originally approved, provided the approval is still valid and has not expired. Any subsequent changes of use or intensity will be subject to the policies of the 2035 General Plan.

How can I obtain more information about the General Plan Update?

Please contact the General Plan Update team at (213) 974-6417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Please include your contact information, including name and phone number (or e-mail address).

Growth Management

How does the General Plan Update manage growth? The Development Monitoring System (DMS) is the growth management strategy in the 1980 General Plan, but I cannot find any information on the DMS in the General Plan Update.

There are policies in the 1980 General Plan that are in effect today, including the Development Monitoring System (DMS), that will not be carried over into the General Plan Update. The reason for not including DMS in the General Plan Update is that we are taking a different approach to land use, growth management and infrastructure than we did in the 1980 General Plan. The General Plan Update does not identify urban expansion areas (Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Monica Mountains, and East San Gabriel Valley) as part of its growth management strategy. Instead, it guides growth Countywide through goals, policies and programs that do the following: discourage sprawling development patterns; protect areas with hazard, environmental and resource constraints; encourage infill development in areas near transit, services and existing infrastructure; and make a strong commitment to ensuring adequate services and infrastructure. It also lays the foundation for future community-based planning initiatives that will identify additional opportunities for accommodating growth.


Environmental Justice

How does the Draft General Plan address environmental justice issues?

The Draft General Plan addresses environmental justice by providing information and raising awareness to a number of environmental issues that impact the unincorporated communities of the County, including but not limited to impacts from excessive noise, water pollution, air pollution, heavy industrial uses, etc. The Draft General Plan also emphasizes the importance of: sufficient services and infrastructure; protecting and conserving open space, natural and resource areas, and making them accessible; preventing and minimizing pollution impacts; and stakeholder participation in planning efforts.

Chapter 3 Guiding Principles: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter3_2014.pdf
On p. 16, there is a description of the five guiding principles of the General Plan. The purpose of these guiding principles is to ensure that all elements of the General Plan address sustainability. One of the five guiding principles is to provide Healthy, Livable and Equitable Communities, which includes addressing environmental justice and safety. Another guiding principle, which is to ensure that community services and infrastructure are sufficient to accommodate growth, highlights access to services and infrastructure as a quality of life issue. On p. 17, we have a stand-alone text box that explains environmental justice in greater detail.

Chapter 5 Planning Areas Framework: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter5_2014.pdf
The Planning Areas Framework provides an opportunity to create or update existing community-based plans that reflect neighborhood and/or community-level policy priorities. On p. 26, we lay out an implementation program to prepare plans for all unincorporated Planning Areas.

Chapter 6 Land Use Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter6_2014.pdf
In the Land Use Element, we discuss policies related to special management areas, including military installation and operation areas; brownfields redevelopment as a strategy for infill development and neighborhood revitalization (p. 70); and land use compatibility related to military installations, airports, energy facilities, landfills, solid waste disposal sites, etc. (p. 70). We also discuss the importance of public health considerations, including addressing poor air quality, polluted stormwater runoff, deteriorated housing conditions, and ground and surface contamination. In particular, we include policies that prevent impacts associated with residential and community-serving uses being located within or adjacent to industrial uses (p. 80, Employment Protection District Overlay, p. 81, Policy 1.6).

Chapter 7 Mobility Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter7_2014.pdf
In the Mobility Element, we discuss the impact that transportation infrastructure has on the environment and on communities (p.102). We include goals and policies that support transportation networks that minimize negative impacts to the environment and communities, and emphasize the importance of ensuring the participation of all potentially affected communities in the transportation planning and decision-making process.

Chapter 8 Air Quality Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter8_2014.pdf
In the Air Quality Element, we discuss air pollutants, how they are regulated, and the health implications (starting on p. 111). In particular, we highlight an issue that is of concern throughout the State, which is the impact of traffic pollution on sensitive receptors (starting on p. 115).

Chapter 9 Conservation and Natural Resources Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter9_2014.pdf
In the Conservation and Natural Resources Element, we emphasize the importance of preserving, enhancing and managing our natural and resource areas. In particular, we highlight issues that relate to water pollution (starting on p. 132).

Chapter 10 Park and Recreation Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter10_2014.pdf
In the Parks and Recreation Element, we discuss the need to plan for parks and recreation programs that are accessible and sustainable, and that are designed to meet the needs of a diversity of users (starting on p. 171). The Parks and Recreation Element includes a preliminary parks gap analysis to demonstrate the need for more parks in the unincorporated communities of the County. In conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Element, the General Plan includes implementation programs for a County Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

P/R-1, p.259 and P/R-3, p.261. http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter16_2014.pdf

Noise Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter11_2014.pdf
In the Noise Element, we discuss the impacts of excessive noise, how it is regulated, and the health implications. The goals and policies place an emphasis on reducing and preventing excessive noise impacts through regulations, coordination and planning.

Safety Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter12_2014.pdf
In the Safety Element, we reference the County’s Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Plan and Local All Hazards Mitigation Plan, which includes a compilation of known and projected hazards in the County. The Safety Element also outlines the locations of geotechnical and seismic, fire and flood hazards in the County, and discusses the need for adequate emergency response services.

Public Services and Facilities Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter13_2014.pdf
In Public Services Element, we discuss the need for sufficient, sustainable and efficient infrastructure, from trash hauling to early care and education.

Economic Development Element: http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/gp_2035_Chapter14_2014.pdf
In the Economic Development Element, we reference the land use compatibility issues discussed in the Land Use Element to highlight it as an economic development issue, and also include a policy to ensure environmental justice and economic development activities (p. 239).

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