What is a General Plan?

A General Plan is a comprehensive policy document that provides the general framework for all zoning and land use decisions within a community. It establishes a community’s long-term vision for the future and contains goals and policies that will shape future housing, support job growth, foster healthy and resilient neighborhoods, protect and manage natural resources, ensure community safety, and promote social and economic equity. The City’s current general plan was last updated in 2009 (General Plan 2035).  

While the goals and policies of the General Plan guide day-to-day planning decisions (housing, commercial development, infrastructure improvements, public services, facility improvements), it also supports programs that provide neighborhood social services and protect natural resources.

Since the 2009 General Plan was adopted, the City has experienced low housing production and increased homelessness, the destruction of housing and displacement of residents by the Tubbs fire, the impact of cannabis business activity on industrial and commercial land, and the annexation of the Roseland community into the City (an approximately 714 acre area in southwest Santa Rosa). In addition, State Law now requires the City’s General Plan to address infrastructure and service deficiencies, and environmental degradation within designated disadvantaged community areas within the City. 

Because of these reasons and many others, it is a good time to discuss with the Santa Rosa community how the city should change over the coming years. For more information on the State’s requirements, visit the State of California Office of Planning and Research website, which has detailed guidelines for the development of general plans.

Existing City Policy Documents and Resources