General Plan Resilience Updates
The resources on this page provide specific guidance on integrating resilience into the General Plan Safety, Housing and Environmental Justice Elements. Integrating resilience into these Elements is increasingly required for Bay Area cities. In particular, SB 379, SB 1035, SB1000 and SB1241 have placed new resilience requirements on how and when local jurisdictions need to review and update Elements.
Approaches to the General Plan
The General Plan is more than the legal underpinning for land use decisions; it represents a vision about how a community will grow, reflecting community priorities and values and shaping the future.
This 2017 edition of the General Plan Guidelines (GPG) contains significant changes to the 2003 General Plan Guidelines. It includes guidance for all mandatory plan elements, including the Safety and Housing Elements, with supplemental documents focused on the Environmental Justice Element and issues like fire hazard planning and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
For mandatory and common optional elements of the General Plan, the GPG sets out each statutory requirement in detail, provides Office of Planning and Research (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. Documents focusing on implementation will provide value to planners working on General Plan Safety Element or Housing Element updates.
This comprehensive resource reviews recent planning legislation relevant to the Housing and Safety Elements and the resulting implications. The document describes the connection between planning legislation, and provides considerations for addressing multiple planning requirements. Additional resources are available within the document to provide further regulatory context.
The document includes an illustration of the known status of Local Hazard Mitigation Plans (LHMP) — updated October 2020 — in the nine-county Bay Area, indicating when the plan needs to be updated for each jurisdiction. It is helpful for considering how LHMP updates coordinate with other planning efforts. This map also shows which towns and cities are subject to SB 1241, which applies to communities with very high fire hazard severity and unincorporated communities in state responsibility areas.
This resource is also a part of the collection of resources to integrate resilience into the Housing Element. For more information, see General Plan Housing Elements.
General Plan Housing Elements
ABAG has identified resilient housing as a crucial element of resilient communities. Keeping residents housed and in the community allows cities to bounce back after fires, floods and earthquakes. To support resilient housing, ABAG/MTC has created a suite of resources to integrate resilience into the Housing Element update. For further information on Housing Element requirements, please refer to ABAG’s Housing page.
Resilient Housing Element Resources
The collection of resources are organized into four steps to integrate resilience into the Housing Element. The Instruction Guide provides an overview of how a set of instructions for how to use each resource and is a good document to start with. Step 1 and Step 4 include supplemental resources to support the primary document.
Step 1: Integrated Planning Guide
- Supplemental Resource 1a: Sample Integrated Planning Agenda
- Supplemental Resource 1b: Status of Planning Requirements
- Supplemental Resource 1c: New Requirements for Safety Elements
- Supplemental Resource 4a: Resilient Housing Policy Spreadsheet
General Plan Safety Elements
Efforts to streamline state and local planning include allowing a jurisdiction to incorporate by reference the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and or other climate adaptation and resilience planning documents in the General Plan. While the same curated resources that can help a jurisdiction craft a successful hazard mitigation or climate adaptation plan can be used to develop an effective Safety Element, the resources on this page provide specific guidance on meeting state General Plan requirements and compliance with recent state laws. Our goal here is to streamline hazard mitigation planning into a single process that satisfies all requirements at once, through a single effort producing both Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- and state-approved plans.
The goal of the planning guide is to help provide a robust fire hazard mitigation program to California communities. It is designed to assist city and county planners in discussions with fire mitigation, preparedness and response professionals for the purpose of developing effective fire hazard policies for the General Plan. Because communities throughout California are varied, the voluntary recommendations in this technical advisory are designed for a wide spectrum of uses and applications. The guide includes:
- A summary of federal and state requirements that directly address fire hazard planning and mitigation, including Senate Bill 1241
- An overview of how policies related to fire safety may be developed to meet local needs and conditions
- An extensive list of specific issues related to fire hazard planning that local governments should consider when developing fire hazard policies to include in the General Plan
- Appendix B and C including a long list of resources (tools, examples, networks, guides and funding) to support local fire hazard planning and implementation efforts