What is the General Plan?
Every county and city in California is required by State law to have a General Plan, and the plan is required to be up to date. The General Plan identifies the City’s goals, policies, and implementation actions regarding future development.
Some of the topics it covers include:
- Locations of public facilities such as parks, open space, and cultural facilities, locations and types of new housing developments,
- Locations of future commercial and industrial developments determining how large and how tall buildings should be,
- Improving the transportation system and dealing with traffic congestion,
- Addressing quality of life issues such as noise, air quality, public safety, schools, and the design of buildings and public space.
The Soledad General Plan is a blueprint for the orderly growth and development of the City for the next twenty to fifty years. The Plan envisions substantial growth substantial growth for the City during this time frame. Complete build-out of the City and its sphere of influence in accordance with this General Plan would accommodate about 58,000 people (not including the State prison population).
The Plan provides policies and programs to manage the location and pace of new development so that the build-out is accomplished without financial hardship to the community, and so that the quality of life enjoyed in Soledad is preserved and enhanced. The primary focus of the Plan is to foster a climate conducive for expanded economic development in Soledad, including expanded opportunities for shopping and tourism, the provision of more and better-paying jobs, and affordable housing.
Goals and elements of the plan include:
- Protecting the City’s natural, cultural, visual and historical resources,
- Encouraging the use of alternate forms of transportation other than the automobile,
- Creating a pedestrian-friendly, walkable community,
- The promotion of community character, livability, affordability and housing choice, by requiring an integrated mix of housing types in new residential areas,
- Providing an adequate supply of sound, affordable housing in a safe and satisfying environment for all residents,
- Improvement of the City’s overall economy and fiscal condition,
- Ensuring that new development does not impose a substantial financial burden on the City,
- Providing for good local jobs for Soledad residents, and
- Maintaining and supporting a healthy and diverse local economy that meets the present and future employment, shopping, recreational, public safety, and services needs of Soledad residents.
Housing Element of the General Plan
The City of Soledad’s 2009 Housing Element is an element of the Soledad General Plan and covers a five year period from 2009-2014, which identifies development sites to accommodate a variety of housing types for all income levels, analyzes resources and constraints to housing development and affordability, and outlines policies to promote housing opportunities for all persons.
State law is more specific about the content of housing elements than any other portion of the General Plan. The Housing Element is the only element that is subject to review and “certification” by the State.
The Housing Element is required by State law to include the following information:
- Information about the existing housing stock, covering such items as the amount, type, cost, tenure, and structural conditions of the units,
- Analysis of potential barriers to housing production including both governmental and non-governmental constraints of the units,
- Information about energy conservation opportunities in housing rehabilitation and new construction,
- Information about existing subsidized housing and the possibility of its being lost due to conversion to market-rate units,
- Specific goals, measurable objectives, policies and implementation measures.
- Objectives must include targets for housing unit production, based on a “fair share allocation.”