Friday, December 6, 2013
I believe the California Coastal Commission is our state’s premier land use planning agency. Here is why I say that. In many if not most local communities, the word “planning” is really not very accurate. Instead of planning for land uses in advance, and then implementing those land use plans with specific projects, most cities and counties let “projects,” not “plans,” guide their actual development. While each city and county does have a General Plan, as state law requires, and while project approvals have to be “consistent” with the adopted General Plan, it is all too typical for cities and counties to consider development applications that include not only a “project” approval, but also a modification of the General Plan.
In other words, a community’s “planning” policies actually get dictated by project and development applications, rather than the other way around. If you would like to do a bit of reading on this topic, let me recommend a short book I wrote myself, recently updated, Land Use and the General Plan, published by LandWatch Monterey County.
In the Coastal Zone, the Local Coastal Plan does dictate what projects get approved, not the opposite. That’s why the Coastal Commission is truly our premier land use planning agency. There are some important items on the Commission’s December 11th agenda. Get more information at kusp.org/landuse.