Understanding Goleta’s General Plan

The General Plan is an often referred to, yet frequently misunderstood, document. It is a hierarchy of land use planning regulations. Every city, regardless of its size or location, has a General Plan which guides future physical changes and public decision making within a community. It serves as a set of rules for a community to make decisions and balance competing interests. City departments use the Plan as a guide in setting work programs and when applying for grants to fund specific projects.

Eighteen distinguishing qualities and characteristics about Goleta are identified in our General Plan. These include statements on the value of open space and ecological resources, scenic vistas, small-town atmosphere, healthy business climate, active recreation and many more!

Goleta’s Plan strives to create a coherent vision for the City’s future and builds upon the individual and sometimes conflicting visions of a diverse population. This overall community vision forms the foundation for the plan’s goals, objectives and policies.

The City’s first General Plan was adopted in 2006 after years of research and public input. It guides all future growth, including the supporting public facilities, and governs the regulation of land use and development through various codes or ordinances such as the zoning code, building code and design  review ordinances. The General Plan is a living document and is periodically amended to respond to  changing conditions or community values. Accordingly, our General Plan has been amended through the public review process.

How does the General Plan impact me?

A General Plan can be described as a “road map” for decision making in a city. The Goleta General Plan designs our future and how to address growth, housing, environmental protection, neighborhood compatibility and preservation and transportation. It effects you! The General Plan identifies transportation improvements,new park locations, future housing sites and more. For example, a future overcrossing between Calle Real and Hollister is required by our General Plan to improve the quality of our street system. General Plan policy impacts our every day life.

How do I learn more?

The City’s Advance Planning Division provides annual General Plan updates to the Planning Commission and the City Council. The presentations are hosted during regularly scheduled public meetings. The annual report assesses the level of implementation and effectiveness of the General Plan as a guide for orderly growth and development, preservation, conservation of open space land and resources, and the efficient expenditure of public funds.