How Decisions Are Made in the Planning Framework By David Roemer


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  • Good morning I’m David Roemer, an instructor at San Jose State in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning where we offer an advanced degree in planning, Masters in Urban and Regional Planning or MURP. I am also a regional Planner. I worked for many years at AMBAG, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments and last but not least I am your neighbor and pass through commuter. I live in Hollister.This morning I am going to take you through an overview of land use planning before the rest of the folks get specific.
  • This is how land use decisions normally seem to be made. Developer gets and idea for a project goes to the planning department who takes a look and then forwards it to the planning commission for a decision.
  • And much of the time that is how it works but that is only because it is following a larger framework already established by state laws such as these.
  • Planning law is founded on laws for health and safety. These provisions contain many of the laws pertaining to the regulation of land uses by local governments including: the general plan requirement, specific plans, subdivisions, and zoning.
  • CEQA's purpose is to disclose the potential impacts of a project, suggest methods to minimize those impacts, and discuss alternatives to the project so that decision makers will have full information upon which to base their decision.CEQA is a complex law with a great deal of subtlety and local variation.
  • Assembly Bill 32 sets California on the road that the rest of the United States have yet to walk. Not only does the bill aim to stop the rise of greenhouse gases but to turn down the gases to 1990 levels.
  • SB 375 enhances California's ability to reach its AB 32 goals by promoting good planning with the goal of more sustainable communities. It also forms a hard linkage between Transportation planning and land use planning at the city, county, and regional level.
  • It is the official city or county policy regarding the location of housing, business, industry, roads, parks, and other land uses, protection of the public from noise and other environmental hazards, and for the conservation of natural resources.General plans must hold seven mandatory elements but may have others as the community sees fit. These seven contain the bulk of needed information to direct land use decisions in a general way.
  • The Land use element is the what where and how much now and what will be needed later
  • The Circulation Element tells how you can get from one place to another and more importantly how you are going to continue to get there in the future
  • Housing is what you have and what you will need
  • Conservation how to best use the natural resources you have,
  • I think of conservation and open space as a pair, not competitors with conservation making use of the resources and open space preserving and protecting those resources.
  • Noise tries to minimize impacts around airports, recreation venues and loud industry,
  • and the Safety element plans for responses to natural hazards.All these elements should be consistent both internally and with each other.The state allows a lot of variation in the elements to allow the general plan to have local relevance.
  • Beyond the seven mandatory elementseach jurisdiction is free to adopt a wide variety of additional elements covering subjects of particular interest to that jurisdiction such as recreation, urban design, or public facilities. Santa Clara County will be including a new innovative Health Element into their General Plan. We will hear more about this element a little later today.
  • General plans are living documents. As communities change in population and complexity the general plan is updated. In fact all the elements are continuously being reassessed. The latest large changes coming in response to AB32 and SB 375.
  • The general plan does not stand on its own it is supported by documents that give it day to day power.In general, land cannot be divided in California without local government approval. In addition, the city or county may impose a variety of fees upon the subdivision, depending upon local and regional needs, such as school impact fees, park dedications, etc.
  • Cities and counties often adopt other ordinances besides zoning and subdivision to protect the general health, safety, and welfare of their inhabitants.
  • The purpose of zoning is to implement the policies of the general plan.
  • Over time cities grow and want to add land, smaller settlements grow in size and complexity and want to become cities. LAFCOs make these changes orderly.
  • This is another look at land use decision making but I don’t want you bogged down by the seeming complexity but rather marvel in the amount of possible public involvement. At nearly every step the process is open and waiting … for you.
  • I wouldn’t be an instructor if I didn’t give you a reading list so here is a bibliography.
  • Thank you. I’ve made this presentation available to you through Erin.
  • How Decisions Are Made in the Planning Framework By David Roemer

    1. 1. HOW DECISIONS AREMADE IN THE PLANNINGFRAMEWORKDavid Roemer, MURP , Lecturer,San Jose StateUniversity, Department ofUrban and Regional Planning
    2. 2. Land use decisions in theory • Brings an Application to a planning department which Developer examines the project and does an environmental review • The Developer Planning presents the Commission project before the with planning Public Input Commission • Congrats or back to the drawing A Decision is Made board 2
    3. 3. The PlanningFramework • State Law and Local Planning • The California Environmental Quality Act • AB 32 • SB 375 • The General Plan • Zoning • Subdivisions • Other Ordinances and Regulations • Annexation and Incorporation 3
    4. 4. Local planning inCalifornia is THE PLANNING AND ZONING LAWestablished in state (California Government Code)laws TITLE 7. PLANNING AND LAND USE DIVISION 1. PLANNING AND ZONING Chapter 1. General Provisions (Sections 65000 et seq.) 4
    5. 5. A California statutepassed in 1970 • CEQA requires local and stateThe California governments to consider theEnvironmental potential environmental effectsQuality Act (CEQA) of a project before deciding whether to approve it or not. 5
    6. 6. Assembly Bill 32:Global WarmingSolutions Act (2006) Reduce statewide levels of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 6
    7. 7. Senate Bill B375, The Sustainable “In order to reachCommunities and California’s greenhouseClimate ProtectionAct of 2008 gas goals we must rethink how we design our communities” (From Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office Fact Sheet on SB 375) 7
    8. 8. The General Plan A shared vision of the community’s distant future with policies and program ideas to make that vision a reality State law requires that each city and each county adopt a general plan containing the following seven components or "elements": land use, circulation, housing, conse rvation, open-space, noise, and safety 8
    9. 9. Seven MandatoryElements • The land use elementLand use designates the generalCirculationHousing location and intensity ofConservation housing, business, industry, oOpen-space pen space, education, publicNoiseSafety buildings and grounds, waste disposal facilities, and other land uses. 9
    10. 10. Seven MandatoryElements • The circulation elementLand use identifies the general locationCirculationHousing and extent of existing andConservation proposed roads, publicOpen-space utilities and facilities. It mustNoiseSafety be correlated with the land use element. 10
    11. 11. Seven MandatoryElements • The housing element is aLand use comprehensive assessment ofCirculationHousing current and projected housingConservation needs for all economicOpen-space segments of the communityNoiseSafety and region. 11
    12. 12. Seven MandatoryElements • The conservation elementLand use addresses theCirculationHousing conservation, development, aConservation nd use of natural resourcesOpen-space includingNoiseSafety water, forests, soils, rivers, an d mineral deposits. 12
    13. 13. Seven MandatoryElements • The open-space elementLand use details plans and measures forCirculationHousing preserving open-space forConservation natural resources, and theOpen-space identification of agriculturalNoiseSafety land. 13
    14. 14. Seven MandatoryElements • The noise element identifiesLand use and appraises noise problemsCirculationHousing within the community andConservation forms the basis forOpen-space distributing new noise-NoiseSafety sensitive land uses. 14
    15. 15. Seven MandatoryElements • The safety elementLand use establishes policies andCirculationHousing programs to protect theConservation community from risksOpen-space associated withNoiseSafety seismic, geologic, flood, and wildfire hazards. 15
    16. 16. Santa Clara CountyGeneral Plan Update • Santa Clara will be one of theNew Health Element first counties in California to integrate a Health Element into their General Plan. • The Health Element will address a number health and wellness topics affecting County residents. 16
    17. 17. Now withSustainabilityin mind Source: The California Sustainability Alliance program, managed by Navigant Consulting, is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. 17 Copyright ©2011 Navigant Consulting, Inc.
    18. 18. The StateSubdivision Map Act • In general, land cannot be(commencing with divided in California withoutGovernment Code local government approval.Section 66410)Subdivisions • The local general plan, zoning, subdivision, and other ordinances govern the design of the subdivision, the size of its lots, and the types of improvements (street construction, sewer lines, drainage facilities, etc.). 18
    19. 19. Other Ordinancesand Regulations • Common types include: flood protection, historic preservation, design review, hillside development control, growth management, impact fees, traffic management, and sign control. 19
    20. 20. • A zoning ordinance is the localZoning law that spells out the immediate, allowable uses for each piece of property within the community. • Zoning is adopted by ordinance and carries the weight of local law. • If a landowner proposes a use that is not allowed in the zone, the city or county must approve a rezoning (change in zone) before development of that use can begin. 20
    21. 21. Annexation andIncorporation • Annexation (the addition of territory to an existing city) and incorporation (creation of a new city) are controlled by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) established in each county by the states Cortese-Knox Act (commencing with Government Code Section 56000). 21
    22. 22. Another look at the land use decisions Environmental Review Planning Significant Environmental Dept. Impact Report Project (Versions) Law suits Design and Review Hearings PlanningPublicReview Commission Public Review Next Hurdle 22
    23. 23. BIBLIOGRAPHY• Alternative Techniques for Controlling Land Use: A Guide to Small Cities and Rural Areas in California, by Irving Schiffman (University Center for Economic Development and Planning, California State University, Chico) 1982, revised1989. This book discusses, in detail, concepts suc h as hillside development standards, planned unit development, and specific plans.• California Environmental Quality Act: Statutes and Guidelines (Governors Office of Planning and Research, Sacramento, Califo rnia) 1996, 301 pp. The CEQA Guidelines describe the requirements for evaluating environmental impacts. Out of Print, check in the government documents se ction of your local library.• California Land Use and Planning Law, by Daniel J. Curtin Jr., (Solano Press, Pt. Arena, California) revised annually. A look at the planning, zoning, subdivision, and environmental quality laws that is illustrated by references to numerous court cases.• The General Plan Guidelines (Governors Office of Planning and Research, Sacramento, California) 1987, 368 pp. The Guidelines discuss local planning activities and how to write or revise a general plan.• Guide to California Government, (League of Women Voters of California, Sacramento, California) 13th Edition, 1986, 167 pp. An excellent summary of the processes of local and state government.• Guide to the Cortese/Knox Local Government Reorganization Act of 1985, by the Assembly Local Government Committee (Joint Publications Office, Sacramento, California),1985, 228 pp. A compilation of the law that authorizes annexations and other local government reorganizations. It contains a flowchart illustrating the annexation process.• Planning Commission Handbook (League of California Cities, Sacramento, California) 1984. A well -written overview of the role of the planning commission and California planning law.• Subdivision Map Act Manual, by Daniel J. Curtin, Jr., (Solano Press, Pt. Arena, California), revised annually. A practitioner s guide to the Map Act, including pertinent legal precedents.• Your Guide to Open Meetings, The Ralph M. Brown Act, by the Senate Local Government Committee (Joint Publications Office, Sac ramento, California), 1989. An easy to read explanation of the states open meeting laws and the responsibilities of local government with regard to publ ic meetings.• Source for most of this presentation taken from the web site: 23
    24. 24. THANK YOUDavid RoemerSan Jose State UniversityUrban and Regional