FAQ

What is a General Plan?

The General Plan is the overarching policy document for Placer County. It provides a policy framework to guide decision-making for the next 25 years in the areas of land use, growth and development, housing, circulation, health and safety, open space, natural resources, sustainability, and economic development, among other topics. 

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A General Plan typically has three defining features:

  • General. As the name implies, a general plan provides general guidance that will be used to direct future growth and resource conservation decisions. It contains the goals and policies upon which planning commissions and board of supervisors base their land use decisions.
  • Comprehensive. A general plan covers a wide range of social, economic, infrastructure, and natural resource factors. These include topics such as land use, agriculture, housing, circulation, utilities, public services, recreation, biological resources, and many other topics.
  • Long-range. General plans provide guidance on reaching a future envisioned for 20 or more years (the proposed General Plan will look out about 25 years to the year 2050). To help achieve this envisioned future, the updated General Plan will include policies and actions that address both immediate and long-term needs.

General Plan Basics

The General Plan is the overarching policy document for Placer County. It provides a policy framework to guide decision-making for the next 25 years in the areas of land use, growth and development, housing, circulation, health and safety, open space, natural resources, sustainability, and economic development, among other topics.

The Placer County General Plan applies to all of the unincorporated area of the County outside of the cities of Rocklin, Roseville, Lincoln, Colfax, Tahoe City, Tahoe City, and Town of Loomis which have their own general plans.

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What is the Housing Element? 

The Housing Element is Placer County’s strategic plan for housing and is a required chapter in the General Plan. Placer County, along with all California cities and counties, is required to adequately plan and meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. The Housing Element identifies enough potentially developable land suitable for residential use to meet its Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation (i.e., units by income level) developed and assigned by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). 

Although the County does not build the housing, the Housing Element does create a plan and regulatory framework, which provides opportunities for the private sector to do so, where market conditions determine when and where housing is built. The goal is to address a range of housing issues such as affordability, design, housing types, density and location, and establishes goals, policies and programs to address existing and projected housing needs.

How do you define an “achievable scope of work?”

The first step in preparing a General Plan update for a county of this scale, with multiple distinct communities, numerous anticipated focus topics, is to establish an achievable scope. What will be the focus of the update? Which policy guidance is most crucial to allow our communities to thrive? How do we best protect and cultivate what we hold dear? 

To build broad acceptance of the next General Plan, and to complete the Plan within a reasonable timeframe and on budget, the scope must be meaningful and manageable. The short-term work plan includes seven tasks: 

  1. Overview. Audit the existing General Plan’s policies and implementation programs.
  2. Early Outreach Preparation. Develop methods and outlines for outreach.
  3. Major Issues. Identify preliminary issues to explore through community outreach.
  4. Public Outreach. Market the planning effort to increase awareness/participation; reach out to community members and stakeholders for input on focus topics.
  5. Scope/Financing. Provide the Board of Supervisors with options for the planning scope and budget.
  6. Recruitment. Recruit a consultant to implement the Board-approved scope.
  7. Commencement. Begin the update and complete a draft document within four years.