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(Frequently Asked Questions)

What is included in the General Plan?

The City’s existing General Plan contains eight elements as well as a General Plan Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR):

  • Agriculture, Conservation, and Open Space Element (2007)
  • Land Use Element (2001)
  • Circulation Element (2021)
  • Housing Element (2021)
  • Safety Element (2001)
  • Noise Element (2001)
  • Economic Development Element (2012)
  • Parks and Recreation Element (2001)

As a part of updating the General Plan, the City may reorganize or modify existing elements and/or add new elements to emphasize new planning issues that have arisen since the current General Plan was adopted.

Why Update the General Plan?
Arroyo Grande adopted its current General Plan in 2001, with some elements being updated since then. While the existing General Plan is serving the community well, the City has initiated the update to refine the Plan, address emerging trends and recent State laws, consider new issues, and remove completed implementation measures. This effort is intended to be a fine-tuning of the existing General Plan, rather than a comprehensive overhaul of the document. Specifically, the General Plan Elements in need of an update are Land Use, Noise, Circulation, Safety, Parks and Recreation, and Agriculture, Conservation, and Open Space. To address arising issues regarding environmental issues and equity and align with recent State law, the City will be adding an Environmental Justice Element to the General Plan as part of this process. This planning effort will allow the General Plan Team to implement best practices in planning to ensure that Arroyo Grande is resilient to future risks while also improving quality of life.
What are the legal requirements to update the General Plan?
State law requires the City to adopt a General Plan to address land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, safety, and environmental justice. General plans may also address and emphasize other subjects of local importance. The updated General Plan will guide how Arroyo Grande should develop and evolve, and where funds and resources for infrastructure, services, and programs should be directed.
What is the difference between the General Plan and Zoning?
The General Plan sets forth long-term policies that guide future development. It identifies the types of development that will be allowed, the spatial relationships among land uses, and the general pattern of future development. Zoning implements General Plan policies through detailed development regulations, such as specific use types and building standards. State law requires that zoning be consistent with the General Plan by having the land uses specified in the General Plan be reflected in the zoning regulations. Development must not only meet the specific requirements of the Zoning Code, but also the broader policies set forth in the General Plan.
What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)?

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the potential environmental impacts of all major development projects must be assessed, disclosed, and appropriately mitigated. The results of this environmental review process are conveyed in the form of an environmental impact report, or EIR.

As required by CEQA Guidelines, the Arroyo Grande General Plan EIR will identify the potential environmental impacts associated with the implementation of the General Plan. This analysis will assess and, if necessary, include measures to mitigate potential impacts related to CEQA-required topics. These topics include: air quality, greenhouse gases, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology, land use, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, mobility and transportation, utilities, agricultural and forest resources, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, and aesthetics.

When will the New General Plan Update be completed?
The General Plan is anticipated to be completed by July 2025.
Why should I get involved?
The General Plan Update process provides all residents and businesses with the unique opportunity to help guide the future of Arroyo Grande. A successful General Plan will reflect the community vision and priorities, to do this we need public input from community members throughout the process.
How can I get involved?

The General Plan Update process is an opportunity for community members to discuss the city’s future. There will be many opportunities to participate, including meetings, pop-up events, community surveys, and public hearings. We have created numerous opportunities for the community to contribute their ideas to the Arroyo Grande General Plan Update process, including...

  • Attending an event or meeting
  • Joining the e-mail list to receive notifications of upcoming events
  • Submitting comments via this website
  • Mailing your comments to the Arroyo Grande Planning Division at 300 E. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

How will my feedback be used?
Public input from every engagement opportunity is recorded and cataloged to ensure that City staff and decision-makers have a full understanding of public sentiment when drafting the vision, guiding principles, goals, and policies. The General Plan team, Planning Commission, and City Council will consider all public feedback on General Plan materials (including goals and policies) when making final Plan revisions.
What is a planning workshop?
A planning workshop is an interactive community engagement event that incorporates land use concepts into exercises to gain a deeper and more thorough understanding of what residents want to see in their community.