Elements

The General Plan will include the following elements:

Land Use Element
This element provides for the distribution, location and extent of uses of land for housing, business, industry, natural resources, open space, recreation, and other uses. The element guides patterns of development for the county, providing a long-range context for decisions made regarding zoning, subdivision, and public works. These land use policies guide growth and the development and use of land through 2025.

Community Infrastructure & Services Element
This optional element identifies community infrastructure and service issues that affect plan implementation. The Board of Supervisors opted to prepare this element because of the pivotal role that infrastructure and services will play in the growth of the county. The element provides direct focus on existing infrastructure and service capacity, future demand, levels of service, timing, and funding issues.

Telecommunications Element
This optional element addresses telecommunications access, reliability, and capacity. Telecommunications infrastructure and services include basic telephone, wireless telephone, and broadband Internet.

Circulation Element
This element describes the general location and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, transportation routes, terminals, and other local transportation facilities. It includes consideration of roads, public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian travel, airports, and marine and rail transportation.

Housing Element
The housing element identifies housing needs in the unincorporated areas of the county, and directs the implementation of policies and programs to address those needs. The housing element is revised approximately once every 5 years according to state requirements.

The most recent version adopted in December 2004 is bound as a separate document.

Economic Development Element
This optional element provides an overview of the economy, characterizing the trends, land, and infrastructure needs that will shape the future. A set of goals, policies, and implementation measures are included to promote and sustain economic prosperity.

Conservation & Open Space Elements
This chapter combines the plan's required conservation and open space elements. The conservation element guides the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources (water, forests, soils, rivers, mineral deposits, and others), while the open space element guides the comprehensive and long-range preservation and conservation of open-space lands. Together, these elements present a framework of goals and policies for use and protection of all the natural resource and open space assets of the county.

Water Resources Element
This optional element addresses water planning issues including river and stream water quality, stormwater runoff, groundwater management, water needs of fish and wildlife, water consumption, conservation and re-use methods, and state and federal regulations. The primary purpose of this element is to ensure that the county's water resources are sustained and protected.

Energy Element
This optional element presents policies and programs to address energy needs, use, and conservation. The element provides goals, policies, standards, and implementation measures that strive for sustainable renewable energy and self-sufficiency.

Noise Element
This element identifies the county's approach to managing noise levels to minimize the exposure of community residents to excessive noise. The analysis follows the guidelines adopted by the Office of Noise Control of the California Department of Health Services.

Safety Element
The purpose of the safety element is to reduce the risk of death, injury, property damage, and economic and social dislocation resulting from earthquake, fire, flood, and other hazards. The element identifies hazards and hazard abatement provisions to guide local decisions related to zoning, subdivisions, and entitlement permits.

Air Quality Element
This optional element describes the county's existing air quality, sources of air pollution, and strategies for improving air quality. Policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change are included in this element.

Other Chapters
Introduction, Public Guide & Governance Policy
These chapters comprise the introductory part of the General Plan. They include information on the purpose of a general plan, plan organization, the relationship to other documents, and key terms. The governance policy chapter includes information on administration, amendments to the general plan, and inter-governmental coordination.