Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a General Plan?

All cities and counties in California are required to have a general plan, which serves as the “constitution” for urban development and preservation in the city. Adopted by the City Council, the Richmond General Plan lays out the city’s long-term (20-year) vision, and includes text, diagrams, and maps, accompanied by policies and actions, to communicate how the vision will be implemented. The plan envisions how the community should develop over time and specifies locations for various land uses, transportation improvements, new parks and open spaces, and other public infrastructure and community facilities services. It guides urban development within the city limits — including development on both privately-owned and publicly owned land — and is used a basis for land use decisions by government officials such as the Planning Commission and the City Council. 

What topics will the Environmental Justice Element cover?

State law lists specific topics that must be addressed in an Environmental Justice Element. These include:

  • Pollution exposure (including air quality);
  • Health inequities, negative health indicators, and access to health care;
  • Healthy food access;
  • Access to public facilities and services, and mobility (walkability, access to transit, and biking);
  • Safe and sanitary housing;
  • Natural hazards and urban heat; and
  • Civic engagement (“community engagement”) and factors relating to prioritization of improvements and programs addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities.

What is the difference between the General Plan, other City plans, and the Zoning Ordinance?

The General Plan, other City plans, and the Zoning Ordinance differ in their level of scope and detail. The General Plan outlines a long-term vision for Richmond’s future development through a series of broad policy statements and implementing actions, and directly guides other City plans and ordinances. These other City master plans and the City’s Zoning Ordinance implement the General Plan policies through more area-specific policies, regulations, and standards, and per state law, they must be consistent with maps and policies in the General Plan. Any future development must not only meet the specific requirements of adopted City plans and the Zoning Ordinance, but also be consistent with the broader policies outlined in the General Plan.

When will the 2022 amendments to the General Plan be completed?

A draft of the proposed amendments to the General Plan for the Environmental Justice Element and Public Safety and Noise Element is anticipated to be completed by early fall.   Amendments to the Housing Element will follow. This schedule will allow ample time for public involvement and environmental review.

Why should I get involved?

The City of Richmond is committed to engaging residents from all the City’s diverse communities, business owners and organizations, advocacy and service groups, City staff, and decision-makers to produce a General Plan that is up-to-date, forward thinking, viable, and meaningful. A successful General Plan will reflect the Richmond community’s vision and priorities, and we want to hear from as much of our community as possible on what that looks like. Sign up here  to be added to our mailing list and receive project updates and invitations to events!