The General Plan is a master policy document that provides the general framework for all zoning and land use decisions within a community. The plan provides guidance, prioritizes, organizes and directs the patterns of land use throughout the unincorporated County in ways which best serve the interests identified by citizens and stakeholders. The County’s General Plan was last updated in 2008. View the County’s current General Plan.
The General Plan typically consists of a vision of the community’s future that reflects the hopes and aspirations of its citizens. These are translated into a set of policies for the community’s physical development. The general plan bridges the gap between community values, visions, and objectives, and physical decisions such as planning application approvals for development projects.
The plan is required to have at least eight mandatory elements addressing: land use, circulation and mobility, housing, conservation and open space, noise, safety, and environmental justice. In addition to policies that apply throughout the County, the General Plan may include area plans which create more specific policies for smaller geographic areas. This update process would not replace the County’s existing area plans such as the Bennett Valley Area Plan, South Santa Rosa Area Plan, or Petaluma Dairy Belt Area Plan, but may call for new area plans to be developed, or for existing plans to be updated.
For more information, visit the State of California Office of Planning and Research website, which has detailed guidelines for the development of general plans.