By Sheryl Hamlin
After a period of four plus years, 20+ public events, 1200 direct notices and hundreds of pages of planning language, the 2040 General Plan of Santa Paula was approved by the City Council on March 4, 2020.
What is a General Plan?
Quite simply, the General Plan is a written document providing for the city’s physical development. In fact, if you download and peruse the now adopted plan at mysantapaula dot com and search for the word “development”, you will find that this word appears 40 times.
Cities in California have produced General Plans since the early 20th Century but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the legislature required adherence to these plans. It is no coincidence that this period also coincided with “slow growth” movements where cities wanted to preserve their historic feeling, while concurrently the State’s Redevelopment Agencies proposed massive development, much through eminent domain. History:
RDA Whitepaper and Land Use History
2020-2040 Development in Santa Paula
According to Planning Manager Michem, future growth in Santa Paula will be vertical and not horizontal. Rather than a lot by lot zoning map, there is now a more generic land use map which specifies only maximums without underlying detail and which includes housing in all areas, a requirement emanating the the State and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). See previous article here about the RHNA.
One of the most important documents in the plan is the “Statement of Overriding Conditions”, which says that if the plan is implemented there will be potential impacts to certain areas. A summary of these conditions is listed below:
Ellen Brokaw spoke on behalf of the Santa Paula Affordable Housing Task Force. From the letter she submitted she wrote:
. We would like to express our collective support for the 2020 General Plan Amendment, and in particular the proposed changes to the Land Use, Economic Development, & Circulation Elements……We feel that the proposed changes speak to the history and existing fabric of Santa Paula, while addressing the current needs of our community: including the need for housing, improved pedestrian connections, improved public transit options, encouragement of street trees, and policies geared to spur community economic development…..”
Note that the Economic Development is new to the General Plan and should be read. The Circulation Element has been renamed to Mobility in order to include any new innovations in human movement.
The Council readily acknowledged the work of the staff and the consultant John Douglas who held this project together through two Planning Directors and three City Managers and countless questions from citizens.
Council Member Crosswhite said she was encouraged with the language on the historic preservation, the potential of a historic 126 and the maintenance of the Santa Paula Branch Line. Mayor Araiza praises the flexibility of the plan but he was concerned about the parking. Planning Manager Michem said that new concepts in parking such as a community parking plan or shared parking would be utilized for parking in multi-unit situations.
Planning Manager Michem reiterated that the RHNA would be updated and re-issued later this year. See this article for the current housing goals for Santa Paula. He also noted that at this point various development ordinances would be updated to comply with the new General Plan.
In a roll call vote, the 2040 General Plan was unanimously approved.
Previous articles on the General Plan:
Read the Executive Summry.
To watch the video, click here.
To read more about the author, click sherylhamlin dot com
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