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California OPR Releases 2017 General Plan Guidelines

OPR is statutorily required by Government Code Section 65040.2 to adopt and periodically revise the State General Plan Guidelines (GPG) for the preparation and content of general plans for all cities and counties in California. A general plan is the local government’s long-term blueprint for the community’s vision of future growth. The GPG serves as the “how to” resource for drafting a general plan. The 2017 version includes legislative changes, new guidance, policy recommendations, external links to resource documents, and additional resources.

For mandatory and common optional elements of the general plan, the GPG sets out each statutory requirement in detail, provides OPR recommended policy language, and includes online links to city and county general plans that have adopted similar policies. Each chapter contains a sample selection of policies as well. Users can also click the links provided for more detailed policies and plans. All of the referenced policies as well as additional policies are compiled in an appendix.

As more resources become available, they will be added to the GPG through periodic updates. A full update of the OPR website is currently underway, and the General Plan Guidelines page will be reformatted during that process, to enhance navigability and user experience. The new format will allow OPR to add updated text, links, and information directly to the GPG, and announce any additions through the GPG listserv and on the OPR website.

OPR will be conducting workshops around the State over the next year to update communities on the new GPG. Sign up for email alerts on the OPR General Plan email list. Additionally, OPR plans to next update the GPG in 2018 with additional guidance for communities on environmental justice, climate change, and recommendations for the development of an optional water element.


For the PDF of the 2017 General Plan Guidelines, see: