El Cerrito, a Brief Introduction to Neighborhood Plans

I am a member of the El Cerrito Community Council, Planning Advisory Group. Many residents are unfamiliar with the planning documents that shape development in our neighborhood.  One of my projects is to prepare a guide to these documents.

Map of the El Cerrito Community, located in east San Diego, near San Diego State College (1)

 Planning Documents
There are 3 related City documents that affect the form and development of a neighborhood:
General Plan
Community Plan

General Plan
The General Plan is the basic planning document for the City. The General Plan is the comprehensive long-term plan for the physical development of the City.
It includes 7 sections or elements:
.Natural resources
.Open Space
.Land Use
.Public Facilities
It must also include an action or implementation plan.

Zoning and land use approvals are legally required to be consistent with the General Plan.(2)
San Diego’s General Plan was last updated in 2008.
The General Plan can be accessed at: http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/genplan/index.shtml

Community Plans
The community plans are a part of the Land Use Element of the General Plan. Community plans provide more detailed land use designations and site-specific policy recommendations than the General Plan. Community plans typically address community issues such as:
.local street and transit network
.distinctive environmental characteristics
.community landmarks
.location, prioritization and provision of public facilities
.community urban design guidelines
.identification of gateways.
The Community Plan must be consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan. (3)

El Cerrito is divided into two planning areas by El Cajon Boulevard, and is within two Community Plans:
.College Area   http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/collegearea/plan.shtml
.Eastern Areas  http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/easternarea/plan.shtml

Zoning divides the City into different areas, with different regulations governing use and building form.
Zoning must be consistent with the General Plan.
Zoning maps can be accessed at: http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/zoning/zoning.shtml
The San Diego Zoning Ordinance, generally Chapters 10-15, can be accessed at: http://www.sandiego.gov/city-clerk/officialdocs/legisdocs/muni.shtml

1.Map copied from ECCC website
Photo from City website, Eastern Areas Community Profile
2. Curtin’s California Land Use and Planning Law, 23rd edition, Solano Press Books
3. from City of San Diego Planning Department website