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What is a General Plan?

The State of California requires that each City have a long range plan for its physical development through the adoption of a General Plan. The General Plan is a comprehensive document consisting of text, maps and exhibits that describe goals, objectives and policies for future development. The City of San Dimas adopted its update to the General Plan in September 1991. Any new development is intended to conform with these new goals, objectives and policies.

There are seven elements required by the State of California to be included in the General Plan, although additions are allowable. These elements are as follows:

Land Use -- This chapter designates the general distribution, location and extent of the uses of land for housing, business, industry, open space, education, public buildings, and other categories of public/private uses.

Circulation -- This chapter identifies the general location and extent of the existing and proposed major roads, highways, trails, railroads, public transit routes and stations, and other public utilities and public facilities.

Housing -- This chapter identifies the existing and projected housing needs for the city. It establishes goals, objectives, policies and programs for the preservation, improvement and development of housing to meet the needs of all economic segments of the economy.

Open Space -- This chapter details plans and measures for the preservation of open space for natural resources, the managed production of resources, outdoor recreation, and public health, safety and welfare.

Conservation -- This chapter provides for the conservation, development and use of natural resources such as water, forests, soils, air, rivers, lakes, harbors, fisheries, minerals and wildlife.

Safety -- This chapter establishes standards and plans for emergency preparedness to protect the community from natural hazards such as fire, flooding, and earthquakes.  There are also provisions for the identification of these hazards that municipalities must consider when making land use decisions.

Noise -- This element examines the sources and impacts of unwanted sounds that disrupt the physical health, psychological stability, social cohesion, property values, and economic stability of the general public. It serves as a guide for land use policies and other decisions regarding proposals may effect the sound environment.

Click here to view the sections of the General Plan and download.

General Plan Amendments

In certain cases, the City Council may consider making changes to the General Plan. Changes to the General Plan are called General Plan Amendments.

General Plan Amendments have specific application requirements. Applications are only processed two times each year. Applications must be filed before February 1 and before August 1 each year.

Before an official application is filed, we suggest that you meet with a city planner to discuss the proposed project. In this pre-application meeting, the planner will explain necessary city regulations and provide you with any application processing information. Representatives of the Community Development Department will be happy to assist you in any way possible to help you understand the application process.

Application Process

The applicant should submit a written proposal to the Director of Community Development prior to the application deadline. The written submittal should contain the following information:

  • Nature of the amendment (detail of location and proposed changes);
  • Disscussion of the specific elements and sections of the General Plan text directly affected in terms of the proposed change;
  • Reasons for the proposed amendments.

After the written submittal is received, Staff initiates a preliminary review of the proposal in terms of the required Council findings.

The City Council, based upon the information presented, determines whether or not the General Plan Amendment proceedings should continue. If the amendment is initiated by Council, the item will be heard by the Planning Commission and the final decision is made by the City Council.

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