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general plan overview


What is the 2035 General Plan?

The 2035 General Plan is the City of Sacramento's policy guide for the future. It sets policy guidelines for everything from the physical boundaries of the city to its economic growth and physical development. Think of it as a guide for future development and preservation of resources.

What does the General Plan cover?

The General Plan covers topics related to land use and City services. The General Plan is divided into 'elements', which are similar to chapters addressing different topic areas. The 2030 General Plan includes the following elements:

  • Land Use and Urban Design
  • Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Economic Development
  • Housing
  • Mobility
  • Utilities
  • Education, Recreation, and Culture
  • Public Health and Safety
  • Environmental Resources
  • Environmental Constraints

How is the General Plan used?

Once adopted, the General Plan becomes the principal tool for the City to use when evaluating municipal service improvements and land use proposals. Every service the City provides to its citizens, from police and fire protection to park maintenance, can trace its roots back to goals and policies found in the General Plan. Also, all land use decisions are governed by the General Plan and must be consistent with the General Plan's direction. General Plan goals, policies, and implementation measures are based on an assessment of current and future needs and available resources.

How exactly does the General Plan affect development?

The General Plan establishes policies that regulate new development projects within City limits, both directly and indirectly. Directly, General Plan policies give direction about what types of projects can and cannot be approved. As for the General Plan's indirect influence, development projects must comply with the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and design guidelines, all of which are implementation tools for General Plan policies.

The General Plan is designed to be adaptable to unique projects. It provides flexibility in decision-making for certain types of projects.

What about areas outside the City limits?

The 2035 General Plan includes policies for the City's sphere of influence, as well as for special study areas outside of City limits that may be annexed to the City in the future.

Was the General Plan developed through a public outreach process?

Yes, the process of creating the 2035 General Plan included public outreach. Public outreach spanned the length of the General Plan process, which began in 2012 and ended on March 3, 2015, the date the Council adopted the General Plan. Outreach included public workshops, community meetings, open houses, public review period, and many stakeholder meetings with community groups and individuals.

What is different about the 2035 General Plan?

The 2035 General Plan retains the overall land use and policy direction established in the 2030 General Plan.  Elements, chapters, sections of the existing General Plan have not been reorganized or comprehensively changed.  In summary, the technical update focused on the following topical areas:

  • Updating the planning timeframe through 2035;
  • Integrating the 2012 Climate Action Plan (CAP) into the General Plan;
  • Addressing State-mandated flood risk and flood protection requirements;
  • Updating City traffic levels of service;; and
  • Incorporating urban agriculture policies.

Between now and 2035, the City of Sacramento is expected to grow by approximately 165,000 residents and 86,000 jobs. The 2035 General Plan continues to promote Smart Growth as a way to accommodate this population increase while improving the quality of life in the city.

Smart Growth accommodates population growth in a better way than simply continuing to expand the city outward. It involves reinvesting in existing cities and suburbs to create vibrant town centers, providing housing close to jobs, promoting transit use and walking, and minimizing urban sprawl, loss of open space, and traffic congestion.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, see Part 1 of the General Plan. Part 1 defines the General Plan, explains its purpose, use, and legal requirements, describes the vision and philosophy behind the Plan, and details public outreach the City conducted during the General Plan process.