The General Plan is the guide for the future social, physical, and economic development of the City. It is a long-term document consisting of written text and diagrams that expresses how a community should develop over time, and it is a key tool for influencing the quality of life. It specifies locations for new businesses and residences, roads, parks, and other public infrastructure. The plan is a basis for land use decision-making used by policymakers such as the Planning Commission and the City Council. All cities and counties in California are required by law to have general plans.
State law mandates that each city and county in California adopt a "comprehensive, long-term general plan.” The purpose is to plan for important community issues such as new growth, housing needs, and environmental protection. A general plan is used to project future demand for services such
as sewer, water, roadways, parks, and emergency services.
There are both State-mandated and optional “elements,” or chapters, that go into a general plan. These elements make up the framework for decision-making regarding growth and development in the City. State law requires that a general plan contain at least seven mandated elements: Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise, and Safety. The City of Belmont’s General Plan will also include a Belmont Village Element for the Downtown.
Belmont’s existing General Plan was adopted in 1982, and now needs to be comprehensively reexamined to ensure that it reflects the city’s goals and priorities for the next 20 years. Many of the objectives of the existing General Plan have been met, and new opportunities and challenges have arisen. We need a new plan to manage Belmont’s future growth, revitalize Downtown, attract high quality businesses and jobs, protect natural resources, promote high quality design of buildings and public spaces, and maintain public safety and municipal services – all of which contribute to the quality of life that residents have come to expect.
The Housing Element is one of the seven State-mandated elements of the General Plan. However, per State law, the Housing Element must be updated more frequently than the rest of the General Plan, and it must meet a variety of statutory requirements. The City of Belmont is currently updating its Housing Element for the 2015-2023 planning period, like all other cities and counties in the Bay Area. The Draft Housing Element should be available for public review in late 2014 with adoption hearings anticipated in early 2015. As we prepare the rest of the General Plan Update, we will ensure that the plan is consistent with and supportive of policies and programs in the Housing Element. For more information on the Housing Element Update process, please visit www.belmont.gov/housingelement.
The City of Belmont has been engaging key stakeholders and the community at large in planning for improvements to the Belmont Village area for the past several years. The ideas and priorities that have arisen from this dialogue will directly inform the policies in the General Plan that pertain to Belmont Village. Community outreach activities, such as workshops and stakeholder interviews in early 2015 will give community members the opportunity to affirm the direction for Belmont Village and suggest new ideas as well. Also, the City will receive grant funding to prepare an implementation plan for Belmont Village concurrently with the General Plan, which will provide greater detail and direction on zoning regulations, public realm improvements, design guidelines for new development, historic preservation, and other desired changes for Belmont Village.
An environmental impact report is a detailed analysis of the environmental effects of a plan or development project. The EIR identifies alternatives to the proposed project and presents ways to reduce or avoid environmental damage. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a general plan is considered a project, thus requiring that an EIR be completed in conjunction with the plan. Community members can provide input at two different phases in the EIR process: in response to the Notice of Preparation (NOP), which declares that an EIR is going to be prepared, and to the Draft EIR itself.
We are soliciting citizen participation in all phases of General Plan development. Please visit the Workshops and Meetings page for details on upcoming events or contact us directly with your thoughts or questions.
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