The General Plan is the document that provides the foundation for Modesto’s growth and development. A General Plan is often described as the “constitution” that guides the development of a city, typically for a 20-year time period. It establishes a vision for the future, as well as the policies and implementation measures that will help the community achieve that vision. It addresses the nine topics required under State law: land use, housing, open space, circulation, conservation, safety, noise, environmental justice, and air quality. It is the foundation on which all land use and regulatory decisions are made.
Every city and county in California must adopt a general plan, per State law. The State Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recommends that general plans be comprehensively updated every 10 to 15 years to reflect changes in community values, economic conditions, and emerging issues and challenges. However, with the exception of the Housing Element, there is no legal requirement from the State to regularly update the General Plan.
The City last comprehensively updated the Modesto Urban Area General Plan in 1995. While there have been targeted revisions to the document since then, a lot has changed in the past 25 years. The General Plan Update will provide an opportunity for the community to review the current policies and make changes that will guide Modesto through the next 25 years. Furthermore, the City will need to incorporate new information and policy guidance to remain compliant with current State law (see next question).
The State legislature regularly modifies or creates new general plan requirements. The requirements must be included at the next update of the General Plan. The following is a list of some, but not all, of the recent State legislation that must be addressed:
The General Plan has a chapter devoted to economic development with policies designed to increase economic opportunities, provide sufficient land supply for these opportunities, and develop infrastructure (like roads, street lights, and public transit) to support economic development opportunities. The General Plan Update will revisit these existing goals, policies, and implementation actions to strengthen economic development opportunities in the city. The City seeks to provide more quality jobs and enhance economic opportunity through the General Plan Update.
The General Plan Update is an opportunity for community members to discuss how the city will grow through 2050. There will be many opportunities to participate, including community workshops and events, online engagement, and public hearings. You can join the email list to receive updates about upcoming events.
The City wants to hear from everyone, including underrepresented communities, so that their needs are heard and their vision is incorporated. The City will conduct outreach in all parts of Modesto to ensure that all voices and perspectives have the opportunity to shape the future of the city through the General Plan Update. In addition, the City will empower community leaders that can engage participants from specific geographies, cultural or demographic groups, or other backgrounds to act as ambassadors, helping to reach community members through these trusted connections.
The General Plan will reflect the community’s vision and priorities, and your voice is crucial to produce a Plan that establishes a shared vision for the City’s future. When you participate in the process through a workshop discussion, survey, online activity, or comment at a public hearing, your comment will be documented and compiled as part of a summary from that event. City staff will look to that input for guidance when drafting components of the General Plan, and we will share that input with decision-makers, like the Planning Commission and City Council, for consideration when we ask for their direction at key milestones.
The General Plan is being led by staff from the Community and Economic Development Department. Edgar Garcia, Housing & Urban Development Supervisor, is serving as the project manager, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (209) 571-5101. The City also selected a multidisciplinary consultant team that is led by PlaceWorks, and supported by Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, Iteris, Inc., and BAE Urban Economics.