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Our City. Our Future.


What is the General Plan?

In California, the General Plan has often been described as a “blueprint for future growth” or a “constitution for future development” of a community.  The General Plan for Modesto is best described as “a set of instructions on how to build a city.”  This concept is further underscored by the General Plan’s full name, the City of Modesto Urban Area General Plan.  From a practical standpoint, the General Plan is a set of policies, maps, and other exhibits that collectively respond to California State Law requirements (Section 65300 et. seq. of the Government Code), structured to meet local conditions.  The updated Modesto Urban Area General Plan will guide the physical development of the overall Modesto community to 2050.

The existing City of Modesto Urban Area General Plan contains the following chapters:

  • Introduction. Describes what the General Plan is, how it was developed, the community vision, how it is organized, and how the reader can interpret the Plan.
  • Community Growth Strategy and Economic Development. Outlines a plan for the city’s growth and facilitates and maintains a balanced mix of economic activity.
  • Community Development. Establishes a comprehensive set of goals and policies to guide the future use and development of land in Modesto and the unincorporated area within its adjacent Sphere of Influence.
  • Housing. Identifies significant issues associated with the provision of housing in Modesto. Provides a strategy that establishes housing goals, policies, and programs intended to give direction to meet current and future housing needs of the city, both in terms of preservation of existing housing stock and in establishing priorities for new construction. Note: As required by State law, the Housing Element is updated on a separate schedule from the rest of the General Plan. The current Housing Element was adopted in 2017 and is valid through 2023.
  • Transportation. Describes and plans for transportation networks, including pedestrian routes, bikeways, transit, rail, roadways, and the City-County Airport.
  • Community Facilities and Services. Identifies goals and policies related to water facilities and service, wastewater collection and treatment, storm water collection facilities, open space and parks, public schools, police, fire protection, solid waste, and hazardous materials management.
  • Environmental Resources, Open Space and Conservation. Sets forth the City’s goals and policies regarding the preservation of open space and the conservation, development, and use of natural resources, as well as policy guidance to protect the community from noise, air pollution, and various hazards.
  • General Plan Implementation. Presents a variety of tools available to help build the physical city envisioned in the Community Development chapter and implement the policies contained in other chapters to achieve the General Plan’s vision.