The City is in the process of updating the General Plan which provides the overarching policy direction for future development in the City of Petaluma. The General Plan update is a lengthy process that involves technical experts, extensive community engagement, and environmental review. When complete, the General Plan is implemented through updates to the Implementing Zoning Ordinance, where standards for residential development would be added. As the IZO is guided by the General Plan and required by law to be consistent, it is critical to complete the General Plan update before updating the IZO to create new standards.
Similarly, if the City were to adopt Design Guidelines, which it currently does not have, they would need to be consistent with the General Plan as well. It would not be cost-effective or productive to create design guidelines before completing the General Plan Update, as they would have to be updated after completing the General Plan and Implementing Zoning Ordinance update.
The Objective Design Standards must be completed now because they apply to projects that are exempt from the discretionary review process, meaning that there are no standards or applicable design criteria for new structures. If the City does not adopt Objective Design Standards to fill the gap, we could be compelled by the State to approve a housing development that is inconsistent and incompatible with Petaluma.