Page 10 - Community Newsletter :: Spring 2021
P. 10

 General Plan Update
The City of El Centro is in the process of updating the General Plan, scheduled to be adopted in June 2021. The scope of the update includes a complete rewrite of the Land Use Element and Mobility Element (formerly referred to as the Circulation Element); the addition of a new Environmental Justice Element; and the preparation of a Program Environmental Impact Report. The previous General Plan was adopted in 2004. Below is a list of highlights of the draft General Plan Update
Sustainability - The updated General Plan promotes sustainability through goals and policies that support compact, mixed use development that promotes biking and walking and reduces vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.
Economy - Outdated and inflexible land use designations in the Land Use Element were replaced by those that expand economic opportunity.
Social Equity - The updated plan includes a new Environmental Justice Element that is designed to ensure that all land use and transportation planning in the City is fair and meaningful for people of all races, cultures and incomes. Environmental justice also works to ensure that all El Centro residents are treated equitably with respect to environmental regulations, and are protected from disproportionate environmental and health burdens, such as exposure to air pollution or limited access to health care facilities.
Health - The new General Plan elements discuss how the built environment affects the health of the community, and not only encourages walking and biking throughout the community, it emphasizes walkable community design in new growth areas.
Preservation - The updated General Plan supports neighborhood preservation and enhancement, thereby improving quality of life.
Public Involvement - Considerable emphasis was placed on fostering public involvement throughout the development of the plan. The plan emphasizes the importance of inclusion in City affairs, and to provide for meaningful and effective participation, especially for underrepresented groups in the community.
Balanced Growth Strategy - The balanced growth strategy is twofold: to encourage infill development and direct new growth to the Opportunity Areas (see below).
Opportunity Areas (OAs) - The updated General Plan directs most of the City’s new growth to the OAs. OAs identify locations where the City wants or anticipates land use change or growth to occur during the planning period. Several OAs are areas of existing development that can benefit from targeted plans and policies to help guide transformation, while others are proposed for property that either has not yet been developed and/or where growth is expected or proposed to occur. Five key OAs were identified for focus on Land Use and Mobility. A key element of each OA is the correlation of land use and site design with proposed improvements to the mobility infrastructure, including right-sizing existing roadways, adding new roadways, improving sidewalks, adding multi- use trails and bicycle facilities, and facilitating transit.
Visual Enhancement Areas (VEA’s) - VEA’s are areas such as corridors, districts, gateways, and other activity nodes that would benefit from a coordinated design plan for streetscape improvements, amenities, and elements in the public rights-of-way. The Land Use Element features illustrative photo simulations for several of these areas.
The El Centro General Plan update was funded through a Sustainable Communities Grant, administered by the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which encourages local and regional planning that furthers state goals of Safety and Health, Stewardship and Efficiency, Sustainability, Livability and Economy, System Performance and Organizational Excellence.
A draft of the El Centro 2040 General Plan Update may be found online at The City of El Centro invites comments from the public on the draft plan. Comments and questions may be sent to: Angel Hernandez, AICP, Associate Planner 1275 Main Street, El Centro, CA 92243 or email
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