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Programs & Services : Planning

Development Review

The Development Review Division of the Community Development Department assists the community with land use issues and questions, evaluates all types of development applications (including City-sponsored projects), and maintains the City's development regulations. The primary goals of the division are to: 1) assist in achieving desired development within established policies, guidelines and standards; 2) provide for an enjoyable place to live, work, or visit; 3) protect the public health, safety and welfare; 4) stimulate high public awareness of decisions on planning and environmental issues. The division has five major responsibilities:

Evaluating development applications  Processing use permits, variances, architectural review applications, development plans, subdivisions, and home occupation permit/business tax certificate review; conducting environmental review of development projects and capital projects referred by other departments; processing general plan and zoning amendments; processing annexation and pre-zoning proposals.

Inter-department support  Providing support and assistance to the Building Division, Public Works Department, Economic Development Program, and Natural Resources/Environmental Program for project review and program implementation.

Maintaining development regulations and standards  Updating land use regulations (such as the Zoning Regulations, Subdivision Regulations, Sign Regulations); updating Architectural Review Guidelines and Environmental Review Guidelines.

Public information  Helping staff the department's public service counter and responding to citizen and student requests for information as well as providing an important liaison between project proponents and neighborhood groups.

Council and advisory body support  Providing staff support for the City Council, Cultural Heritage Committee, Architectural Review Commission, and Planning Commission for development review items and work goals.

Long-Range Planning

The purpose of long-range planning is to insure that the needs and desires of the community continue to be met into the future.  Long-range planning is the forum in which the community describes what it wants to be or become, and how it will get there. The Long-Range Planning Division of the Community Development Department prepares and maintains plans and programs to accomplish these purposes. Plans cover topics that include how much land will be available for various uses, maintaining an adequate supply of housing, and the use and protection of natural resources. Programs are developed to implement the plans. Programs are carried out by all of the departments in the City, and by individuals and organizations in the community.

The primary long-range plan is the City's General Plan. The General Plan is the blueprint for the physical development of the City. California law requires that all development be consistent with the General Plan. In addition, all land acquisitions and disposal of real property by the City is subject to a review for conformity with the General Plan. Ideas about the community's future change as new concepts are developed, new problems are identified, old solutions are reconsidered, and the population changes. Consequently, the General Plan is constantly being studied and revised.

According to State law, a general plan must address land use and transportation needs, housing needs, open space preservation and resource conservation, and public safety and community noise levels. Local governments may include other elements in their general plans. San Luis Obispo's General Plan includes elements addressing park and recreation facility development, the use and supply of water resources, and planning for wastewater treatment facilities.

The Long-Range Planning Division works with the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to obtain Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds CDBG monies must primarily be used to benefit low and moderate income people in the community. The Division assists the City Council in the preparing the Comprehensive Plan, a plan for how the grants will be used. The Division coordinates the monitoring and reporting required for disbursing the funds. Many of the CDBG programs involve affordable housing and improving community services.

Other long-range planning activities include working with the Local Agency Formation Commission on the annexation of additional lands to the City and preparing and processing focused “specific plans” for these areas; working with other City departments to prepare natural resource inventory maps; working with other City departments to develop a long-term open space protection program; working with the County and regional planning agencies to develop consistent goals and to coordinate efforts; managing and coordinating programs to preserve the historic and cultural heritage of the City; and working with various City departments to evaluate the environmental impacts of City projects.

Link to Long Range Planning Home


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