Land Use Plans
California law requires each county and city in the state to develop and adopt a General Plan. A General Plan serves as a blueprint for the future of a city, prescribing policy goals and objectives that shape and guide its development. Like a book, the General Plan consists of chapters, which are called “elements.” Each element covers a different aspect of the urban environment, such as land use, housing, open space, or conservation.
In Los Angeles, the General Plan Land Use Element is divided into 35 Community Plans, each with a policy document and a map of land use designations such as residential, commercial, industrial, and open space. These plans guide change in our neighborhoods by providing specific policies and strategies to each community’s vision and the broader objectives of the General Plan. The state requires that the Housing Element be updated every eight years, and that the Housing Element demonstrate the City has sufficient capacity to accommodate the number of housing units identified in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).
The City of Los Angeles is launching the 2021-2029 Update to the Housing Element, as the current Housing Element was adopted in 2013 and is in effect through 2021. Information about the General Plan and upcoming events and meetings to provide feedback on land use can be found online here.
California’s RHNA process has failed to live up to its stated purpose, as most jurisdictions have continued to fail to meet their housing goals and those that do perform well often do so because there’s a relatively low bar of success (source).