The General Plan outlines the goals for physical growth, conservation, and community life in Soledad, and contains the policies and actions necessary to achieve those goals. City staff members use the General Plan to guide decisions about zoning, permitted development, provision of public services, and transportation improvements. Soledad’s current General Plan was adopted in 2005 and reflects the data, attitudes, and assumptions of that time. However, as the Salinas Valley and Soledad have changed over the past 18 years, conditions have evolved, and the General Plan needs to evolve as well. The updated General Plan will help the diverse Soledad community create and achieve a shared and aspirational vision for future preservation, growth, and change that is environmentally, economically, and equitably feasible and sustainable.
Typically, a General Plan begins with a Vision Statement and then establishes specific goals and policies related to a range of civic issues. These issues are organized into a series of topic-specific “Elements” or chapters of the General Plan. State law requires General Plans to address the following broad topics: land use, open space, circulation, housing, conservation, safety, noise, and environmental justice. These topics can be combined or presented in any order that best fits the community. Additional Elements can be added to the General Plan depending on local needs and goals and Elements can be combined with one another. Incorporated cities or towns are required to adopt their own General Plans.
The current General Plan addresses all State-required Elements, except for environmental justice, and includes three additional Elements — parks and recreation, public services and facilities, and economic development — for a total of nine Elements. As part of the update process some Elements may be combined.
California law requires the City to conduct a thorough analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the updated General Plan to ensure that future development and policy changes do not negatively affect our community. This component involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to identify potential environmental impacts and measures we can take to reduce or avoid them. A program EIR that analyzes the environmental impacts of the General Plan Update and the implementation measures will be used for this project.
The Housing Element is one of the required Elements of the General Plan. It will identify policy direction to meet the housing needs of the city, both by preserving existing homes and by clarifying priorities for housing creation. The Element will include an overview of housing policies and programs and will identify locations that can accommodate future housing. The Housing Element will be reviewed by the State Department of Housing and Community Development. Due to State-required adoption deadlines, the Housing Element will be prepared on a separate but parallel track to the General Plan.