We want to provide the community an update on our General Plan Update program.
The General Plan Update process started in March 2019. Over the course of the next year, we made great progress toward developing our plan for the future, including two informational community pop-up events, a three-day community workshop on alternatives, seven General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) meetings, and updates to the Planning Commission and City Council. During this time, the City also published an Existing Conditions and Trends Workbook, prepared a Vision Statement and Guiding Principles to guide the General Plan development, and developed a first round of land use alternatives. For more information, visit pleasanthill2040.com/documents.
In March 2020, as the result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing Public Health restrictions on group gatherings, the City suspended General Plan Update activities. As the blueprint for the community, it is critical that residents play an active role in the creation of the General Plan Update. Without the ability to meet with the community, we felt the plan had to go on hold.
Given the length of the pause since March 2020, the City recognized that the State-mandated Housing Element update, which was scheduled to start in mid-2021, could now be integrated with the development of the General Plan. While the Housing Element is part of a General Plan, it is updated on a schedule determined by the State. At the start of the General Plan update, the two schedules did not overlap well, but with the COVID-19 delay, they can now be done together. Doing the two updates together will allow us to reengage the community on land use choices and plan for new housing need projections.
The Housing Element is designed to provide the city with a coordinated and comprehensive strategy for promoting the production of safe, decent, and affordable housing within the community. Next year, based on State and regional estimates, the City will be provided with the number of housing units, at different levels of affordability, that the City must demonstrate can be accommodated in the community. In other words, the City must demonstrate that it has land areas available to accommodate the expected housing need. Meeting the city’s housing needs also means evaluating demographic trends and other factors that affect how people live.
For these reasons, the City is planning to restart work on land use and housing alternatives in the Spring of 2021. We will be resuming work on other elements of the General Plan that are not dependent on land use choices sooner. On November 18th, the GPAC will meet to begin discussing these other elements.
Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to having your help in developing the plan for our future.
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