Under California State law, each governing body (City/Town Council or Board of Supervisors) of a local government in California is required to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the municipality. A municipality may prepare and adopt a Specific Plan to help implement the municipality’s General Plan for a particular geographic subarea of the community. A Specific Plan is incorporated into the General Plan and provides more detailed land use information and establishes the primary means of development guidance within the project area than occurs in the community’s General Plan. By law, Specific Plans must include, among other items:
• Explanation of the relationship to and consistency with the General Plan;
• Location and distribution of land uses, including the amount of each type and the development densities and intensities;
• Development standards and guidelines for each land use;
• Transportation circulation, other infrastructure, and public facilities to support the planned level of development; and
• Implementation strategies, including financing of infrastructure.
Once a Specific Plan is adopted, development applications for the area are reviewed by the municipality for consistency with the Specific Plan as well as other applicable governing land use documents in the community.