Background

The City Council firmly believes that the current General Plan, created and adopted in 1975, is a masterpiece of visionary planning that has served the City well over the past 38 years. However, the Council also acknowledges that certain portions of the General Plan are either outdated or factually incorrect and need a fresh look. Some portions of the Plan that need to be reviewed and updated include traffic, geology and open space from the aspect of existing conditions as well as a vision for the future.

Included in the 1975 General Plan is a list of 28 Goals and 190 policies. These goals and policies were generated by a “grass-roots” organization of over 200 City residents who formed themselves into thirteen committees to look at different elements of the General Plan including land use, recreation and parks, safety and fiscal policy and offer their ideas to guide the future of the City.

As a first step toward updating the General Plan the City Council created a 15-member General Plan Update Steering Committee. The purpose of the committee was to review the existing Goals and Policies of the General Plan and determine which Goals and Policies need to be eliminated, revised or maintained, and if any new Goals and Policies should be proposed, and what technical areas of the General Plan need updating. After over two years of work, on November 4, 2004, the General Plan Update Steering Committee completed their task of reviewing all of the existing goals and policies of the 1975 General Plan. The Steering Committee’s recommendations, along with a General Plan Update Program, were presented to the City Council on December 21, 2004. To find out exactly what changes have been proposed by the Steering Committee, you can access the most recent copy of the "General Plan Goals and Policies - As modified by the General Plan Steering Committee" by clicking here.

At the December 21, 2004 City Council meeting, the Council (1) Directed Staff to proceed with drafting proposed amendments to the General Plan Goals and Policies as recommended by the General Plan Update Steering Committee for future review by the Planning Commission and City Council; (2) Directed Staff to proceed with an update of the factual information within the General Plan for future review by the Planning Commission and City Council; (3) Directed Staff to proceed with the proposed improvements to the general format of the General Plan and the mandatory elements for future review by the Planning Commission and City Council in order to make the Plan more user friendly; (4) Directed Staff to release an RFQ to obtain consultant assistance with updating portions of the General Plan; and (5) Disbanded the General Plan Update Steering Committee.

Progress on the General Plan Update was delayed since the December 21, 2004 Council meeting while Staff focused its attention on a variety of high profile development projects and other issues. In April 2006, Staff sent out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to obtain consultant assistance with updating the General Plan, and on February 20, 2007, the City Council entered into an agreement with three consulting firms to assist Staff with the update.  Since 2007, Staff has been working with the consultants on revising the document.  

On September 29, 2009, the City Council and Planning Commission held a Workshop with the main purpose of providing a “Kick-off” to the General Plan Update process.  At the Workshop, the Council provided direction to Staff on various items regarding the update process including providing direction on the process.

Beginning in late 2009, the Planning Commission began to conduct public hearings on the update of the General Plan document and the General Plan Land Use Map. Nearly 70 public hearings have been conducted at the Planning Commission level. Early on, the Commission
reviewed and approved draft text for each individual Element before reviewing the complete document. In 2013, the Commission reviewed and accepted the draft of the updated General Plan. Since that time, additional necessary land use changes that were inadvertently left out and text amendments based on new statues were introduced by Staff and reviewed by the Commission. In 2015, the Commission again reviewed and accepted a complete draft of the updated General Plan and the General Plan Land Use Map.

In late 2015, the new City Attorney reviewed the draft updated General Plan document and determined that certain text was legally insufficient and the technical studies (Air Quality, Traffic, and Noise) needed to be updated given the recent statutes. Accordingly, the City contracted with Environmental Science Associates (ESA), who completed the technical studies in 2017. The technical studies were reviewed and accepted by the Commission in 2017.  

On November 27, 2017, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released the 2017 General Plan Guidelines. The OPR guidelines identify mandatory and optional elements of the General Plan and provides recommended policy language. Recently, Staff and the City Attorney worked together to  complete the General Plan document based on the current mandatory statutory requirements and the 2017 technical studies. 

On March 27, 2018, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. P.C. 2018-12, recommending that the City Council approve the updated General Plan and associated Land Use Map.
The updated General Plan maintains the majority of the original 1975 goals and policies, and has been updated to represent the current development of the City, current economic and demographic data, City Council-approved land use decisions over the years, Planning Commission directed edits, Staff’s proposed text changes, and statutory requirements. Many of the elements have been retitled in the updated 2018 General Plan document to be consistent with element titles required by the State. In summary, the update can be characterized more as a facelift than a rewrite of the 1975 General Plan.

On April 26, 2018, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing to review the Planning Commission’s recommended updates to the General Plan and General Plan Land Use Map. Since launching the update to the General Plan in 2004, this was the first meeting the City Council held to review the updated General Plan. Based on information presented that evening, including public comments, the Council continued the public hearing to allow additional edits to the document. 

On August 16, 2018, notice of a draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was circulated (30-day minimum) to public agencies, published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, posted on the City’s website, and a message was sent to the General Plan listserv subscribers.

On September 18, 2018, the City Council considered and adopted the General Plan, Land Use Map, and associated environmental document (Mitigated Negative Declaration). Click here to view the adopted documents.


More Information


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