The General Plan is required under state law (Government Code Section 63500) and governs most land use approvals and development within the city. The city must make a formal finding that each of the following is consistent with the general plan before it is approved: zoning; subdivision maps; building and housing regulations; master plans and specific plans; capital improvements; conditional use permits; and open space and parks dedications. It is a policy document that sets the goals, strategies, and, in some areas, regulations regarding the distribution of land and its type and intensity of use, both public and private.
Under state law the document must address seven elements or major topics, with the option for the local agency to add to that list. The Carlsbad General Plan contains the following elements with each element containing maps and figures, policy statements, over-arching goals, more specific objectives, implementing programs, and, in some instances, development standards.
Proposed General Plan amendments are reviewed by the Planning Commission and approved by the City Council through formal public hearing processes. Because of the importance of housing policies in California, any proposal to amend a jurisdiction's Housing Element must also be formally reviewed by the California Department of Housing and Community Development for consistency with state housing laws.
The Carlsbad General Plan last underwent a comprehensive update in 1994, and in 2008, the city started the process Envision Carlsbad to update the plan again. The current update process includes two phases. The first phase, which focused on a community visioning process, was completed in early 2010. The resulting Community Vision will help guide the second phase to comprehensively update the General Plan, as well as the Local Coastal Program, and Zoning Ordinance. This second phase is expected to be completed by mid-2013. For more information, please visit Envision Carlsbad.
* Optional Under State Law