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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


What is included in the General Plan?

The City’s existing General Plan contains the following Elements:

  • Circulation (adopted 2008)
  • Community Design (adopted 1988)
  • Conservation and Open Space (adopted 2016)
  • Land Use (adopted 2008)
  • Noise (adopted 2013)
  • Parks and Recreation (adopted 2009)
  • Safety (adopted 2016)

As a part of updating the General Plan, the City will reorganize or add new elements to emphasize pertinent planning issues that have arisen since the current General Plan was adopted.

Why update the General Plan?

The City of Solvang adopted its current General Plan in piecemeal fashion. While the existing General Plan Elements are serving the community well, the City has initiated the update to refine the Plan, address emerging trends and recent State laws, consider new issues, and create forward-thinking implementation measures. This effort is intended to be a comprehensive overhaul of the document. This planning effort will also allow the General Plan Team to implement best practices in planning to ensure Solvang is resilient to future risks while also improving quality of life.

What are the legal requirements to update the General Plan?

State law requires the City to adopt a General Plan to address land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, safety, and environmental justice. General plans may also address and emphasize other subjects of local importance. The updated and integrated plan will guide how Solvang should develop and evolve, and the allocation of funds and resources for infrastructure, services, and programs.

What is the difference between the General Plan and zoning?

The General Plan sets forth long-term policies that guide future development. It identifies the types of development that the City will allow, the spatial relationships among land uses, and the general pattern of future development. Zoning implements General Plan policies through detailed development regulations, such as specific use types and building standards. State law requires the City to ensure consistency between land uses specified in the General Plan and the zoning ordinance. Development projects must meet the specific requirements in the Zoning Code, as well as the broader policies set forth in the General Plan.

What is an environmental impact report (EIR)?

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the project sponsor must assess, disclose, and appropriately mitigate potential environmental impacts of all major development projects. The project sponsor documents the results of this environmental review process through an Environmental Impact Report, or EIR.

As required under CEQA Guidelines, the PlanSolvang EIR will identify the potential environmental impacts associated with the implementation of the General Plan. This analysis will assess and, if necessary, include measures to mitigate potential impacts related to CEQA-required topics. These topics include: air quality, greenhouse gases, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology, land use, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation, utilities, agricultural and forest resources, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, wildfire, and aesthetics.

When will the General Plan be completed?

The General Plan is anticipated to be completed by early 2023.


Who is preparing the General Plan update?

The General Plan Update is being developed by City staff with direction from the City Council and input from the Planning Commission and the community. The development of the General Plan Update is being lead by City staff from the Community Development Department.

To assist in the development of the Update, the City has also hired a team of advanced planning specialists that include community planners and technical specialists:

  • Mintier Harnish (lead consultant)
  • Rincon Consultants, Inc. (environmental subconsultant)
  • DKS (transportation and mobility subconsultant)
  • Applied Development Economics (economic subconsultant)

Why should I get involved?

The General Plan Update process provides all residents and businesses with the chance to help guide the future of Solvang. A successful General Plan will reflect the community vision and priorities, and we need public input to create the vision and priorities.


City of Solvang
Planning Division
Attn: Rafael Castillo, AICP, Planning Manager
411 2nd Street
Solvang, CA 93463

Phone: (805) 688-5575

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