Ventura County 2040 General Plan Update

Status: Active – Comments on Draft Environmental Impact Report submitted to County February 25, 2020.  Waiting for County response. 

Why it matters?

  • County Economy
  • Housing and cost of living
  • CEQA

A County's General Plan is one of the most important documents that a County produces. It is the document that guides how and to what extent the County will control what you can do on your property and how they will allow you to do it.  It provides the framework that helps craft the rules under which your business must operate.  It is the document that outlines where and how much housing there will be for your children.

VC CoLAB has been at the forefront representing our members as the County drafts the 2040 General Plan Update.

California state law requires that each city and county adopt a general plan.  A general plan represents the community’s view of its future and the community’ development goals over a planning horizon of 20 years.  The County’s current General Plan expires in 2020 and has not been comprehensively updated since 1988.

From the beginning of this effort, VC CoLAB fought to produce a strong plan that would reflect the needs of our diverse residential and business communities.  Over the last 3 years, VC CoLAB has provided expert testimony to County Planning Division staff on a wide range of topics including: water, natural resources, transportation, land use, agriculture and housing.  Our staff and our members and partners have engaged in stakeholder meetings where we worked to help shape and guide the County’s future.

We pushed for the County to add both an Agricultural and Economic Development chapter to the General Plan – and won!

But the fight continues.  The Board of Supervisors has added over 325 new policies and programs to the General Plan.  Some of these policies and programs have a direct impact on Ventura County’s economy and business by adding costly requirements to development.  Still other policies and programs will affect the use of private property and may increase the risk of wildfire.   And despite the fact that independent economists have reported that Ventura County’s economy has had near zero growth over the last 5 years, the Board of Supervisors voted against conducting an economic impact analysis of the hundreds of new policies they are proposing.

As part of the process to update a General Plan, the County must analyze the impacts the General Plan will have on things like agriculture, water supplies, and wildfire risk. The California Environmental Quality Act governs how the County does this.  The impact analysis is called the "environmental impact report" (EIR).

Usually completing an EIR for a General Plan can take 18 months or more after the policy-makers decide on their list of policies to go in the General Plan.  The Board of Supervisors made their decision on the list of policies for the General Plan on September 10, 2019. And the County completed its EIR (administrative draft) only 6 weeks later. And the quality of the County's EIR reflects that timeline.

VC CoLAB encourages our members to engage in the stakeholder process whenever possible. We will post upcoming meeting dates and times and provide our members with information prior to the meetings.  Our members and partners will continue to provide the County with data, information and guidance to ensure that the 2040 General Plan meets the needs of our members.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 26 and May 28, 2020 at the Planning Commission.

 

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