The General Plan Update is anticipated to be completed in 2025. The steps of the project and schedule are outlined below.
Briefing Book and Visioning. One of the first steps in the General Plan Update is to establish the community’s vision for Soledad in 2045. Creating a General Plan that represents Soledad residents’ shared core principles and values is the top priority of the General Plan Update. To support this visioning process, an existing conditions review will be conducted that documents the baseline conditions in Soledad. This information will be compiled in a Briefing Book. The briefing book will pull relevant information, including maps, infographics, tables, and photographs from the existing conditions analysis. The existing conditions review started in February 2023 and will be completed around August 2023. The visioning phase will occur between September 2023 and December 2023. Community outreach will be a part of the visioning phase.
Evaluate Alternatives and Identify the Preferred Alternative. In another early phase of the project, the project team will evaluate up to three alternatives to the proposed project, one of which will be the CEQA-required No Project Alternative. After identifying and evaluating a range of alternative land use and circulation patterns, we’ll ask community members, the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Planning Commission, and the City Council to help identify a Preferred Land Use and for the General Plan. The Preferred Land Use Alternative will ultimately be the basis for the General Plan Land Use Map and will guide the type, pattern, and location of land development and conservation in the city. This process will start around August 2023 and will continue into February 2024.
Draft General Plan and Environmental Review. Once we have the vision and the Preferred Land Use and Circulation Alternative, the next step will be to update the General Plan document. Every city and county in California must adopt a general plan. A general plan establishes goals, policies, and actions related to a range of civic issues. These issues are organized into topic-specific “elements” or chapters of the general plan. The following eight elements are required by State law: land use, open space, transportation, housing, conservation, safety, noise, and environmental justice. These elements can be combined or presented in any order that best fits the community. Soledad’s is missing one State required element, environmental justice, this will be accounted for in the upcoming General Plan Update. The General Plan Update will start from the existing General Plan and update each of its elements. However, the specific contents of the elements may change and evolve based on input from the community. As part of the update process some elements may also be combined. During this time the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be created for the updated General Plan. The EIR will address areas where the updated General Plan might create a significant environmental impact and, if necessary, provide mitigation measures to lessen the identified impacts. The EIR will be a public document with a legally required public review process and timeframe. Drafting the General Plan and the EIR will begin in March 2024 and conclude in October 2024.
Public Review and Adoption. The adoption phase includes formal hearings with the Planning Commission and City Council to consider final community input on the Draft General Plan and the EIR. This phase will also include opportunities for public input and feedback from the General Plan Advisory Committee. After review and feedback, the Planning Commission and City Council will hold meetings and consider the General Plan for adoption. Ultimately, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Council, and the Council will certify the EIR and adopt the General Plan. At this time, an accompanying Implementation Plan will be also prepared. This process will begin in November 2024 and conclude around February 2025.