Frequently Asked Questions
What is a General Plan?
California State law requires cities to adopt a general plan, which is a document that is required to address land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, safety, noise and the general needs of the city. These subject areas are known as "elements". A general plan defines the city’s vision for the quality of life of the average person within the community. Once the community has defined the city’s vision, through the adoption of its General Plan, other documents and tools are created to implement this defined vision, such as zoning ordinances and specific plans.
Can the General Plan be changed or updated?
A general plan is not intended to be a static document. As a city grows or as technology changes, a city’s needs and vision may change. Therefore, State law recommends that a general plan be updated in a timely manner, typically every ten years. Additionally, periodic amendments to the general plan may occur to address timely matters. However, State law limits such amendments to no more than four amendments per element per year.
What is the Housing Element?
Where the general plan is typically updated every ten years, the housing element of the general plan is required to be updated every five years. The purpose of the housing element is to set forth goals and objectives to ensure that housing for all economic levels within the community are addressed. Reedley's last Housing Element Update was completed in 2003; another update is currently being completed.
Documents Implementing the General Plan
Zoning Ordinances and Specific Plans set forth the development and design standards for a community that will implement the City’s vision, as identified through the General Plan.
What is a Zoning Ordinance?
The City’s Zoning Ordinance is the primary tool to implement the General Plan. The Zoning Ordinance provides detailed standards for development or the use of land. These standards include what types of uses are permitted in particular zone, minimum lot size, height restrictions, building setbacks, parking requirements, wall heights, sign criteria and other standards.
What is a Specific Plan?
From time to time, the City or private developer may desire a plan that addresses design/development standards for a specific area of land. The specific plan either replaces the standards of the City’s zoning ordinance and design guidelines, or may provide standards that enhance the City’s existing regulations.