Why can an applicant request a change to the General Plan or Implementing Zoning Ordinance?

General Plan Section i.5 – The Planning Process provides the opportunity to amend the General Plan. It states that:

“the General Plan is the heart of the planning process. It is intended to be a living document, and as such, will be subject to more site-specific and comprehensive amendments. Amendments may also be needed from time to time…to eliminate or modify policies that may become obsolete or unrealistic due to changed conditions (such as completion of a task or project, development on a site, or adoption of an ordinance or plan.” (p. i-13)

When considering a General Plan Amendment, City Council reviews evidence contained in the project record to determine if the proposed amendment addresses Key Issues and Guiding Principles included in the General Plan and if it furthers implementation of specific General Plan goals and policies.

Similarly, IZO (Implementing Zoning Ordinance) Chapter 25 sets forth the procedures to amend the Zoning Ordinance or Zoning Map, and within IZO IZO Section 25.020, an “amendment may be initiated by the City Council, the Planning Commission, the Zoning Administrator (Director) or by an application of one or more owners of property affected by the proposed amendment”. Under IZO Section 25.040, staff is required to “make an investigation of the proposed amendment and shall prepare a report thereon which shall be submitted to the City body or bodies with jurisdiction over the proposed amendment”. This report will first be presented to the Planning Commission and if the Planning Commission makes the required findings for amendments to the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, the proposed amendments will go to City Council for their potential adoption. These amendments are discretionary and if the Planning Commission and City Council cannot make the requisite findings, like furthering the City’s goals and being in the City’s interest, then the reviewing bodies may choose to not make the amendments.

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