General Plan FAQs

What is included in the General Plan?

The City’s existing General Plan contains six elements:

  • Community Design and Development
  • Housing
  • Transportation and Circulation
  • Public Facilities and Services
  • Community Resources and Potential Hazards
  • General Plan Management and Coordination

As a part of preparing the New General Plan, the existing elements may be reorganized and new elements may be added to emphasize new planning issues that have arisen since the current General Plan was adopted.

Why create a new General Plan?

The City of Gilroy last updated its General Plan in 2002. Over the past 15 years, the city has grown and changed, including the passing of Measure H, the Urban Growth Boundary ballot initiative by Gilroy voters. In November 2016 These changes require a reevaluation of the existing General Plan and a new vision for Gilroy.

Since the last General Plan process began in the late 1990s, the city population has grown by 20 percent and the City has survived the Great Recession. With the economy slowly improving, this General Plan process can position Gilroy for a strong, deliberate economic recovery. This planning effort will also allow the General Plan Team to use the most current planning strategies to make Gilroy resilient to future risks and protect against flood risks, improve air and water quality, and provide improved access to healthy foods. In short, it is time for a new vision and set of guiding principles that reflect the important changes of the last decade and capture the community’s aspirations for the future.


What are the legal requirements to update the General Plan?

State law requires the City to adopt a General Plan to address land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. General plans may also address and emphasize other subjects of local importance. The updated and integrated plan will guide how the city should develop and change, and where funds and resources for infrastructure, services, and programs should be directed.

What is the difference between the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance?

The General Plan sets forth long-term policies that guide future development. It identifies the types of development that will be allowed, the spatial relationships among land uses, and the general pattern of future development. The Zoning Ordinance implements general plan policies through detailed development regulations, such as specific use types and building standards. However, the land uses specified in the General Plan will usually be reflected in the local zoning maps as well. State law requires that zoning be consistent with maps and policies in the General Plan. Development must not only meet the specific requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, but also the broader policies set forth in the General Plan.

What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)?

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the potential environmental impacts of all major development projects must be assessed, disclosed, and appropriately mitigated. The results of this environmental review process are conveyed in the form of an environmental impact report or EIR.

As required by CEQA Guidelines, the New Gilroy General Plan EIR will identify the potential environmental impacts associated with an implementation of the General Plan. This analysis will assess and, if necessary, include measures to mitigate potential impacts related to CEQA-required topics. These topics include: air quality; greenhouse gases; hazards and hazardous materials; hydrology; land use; noise; population and housing; public services; recreation; traffic and transportation; utilities; agricultural and forest resources; biological resources; cultural resources; geology, soils, and mineral resources; and aesthetics.

When will the New General Plan be completed?

The General Plan is anticipated to be completed in Winter 2015. View the full process here.

Why should I get involved?

The General Plan process provides all residents and businesses with the chance to help guide the future of Gilroy. A succesful General Plan will reflect the community’s vision and priorities, and we need public input to set the vision and priorities.

How can I get involved?

The General Plan process is an opportunity for community members to discuss the City’s future. There will be many opportunities to participate, including meetings, workshops, and public hearings. We have created numerous opportunities for the community to contribute their ideas to Gilroy’s New General Plan. They include:

How will my feedback be used?

Public input from every engagement opportunity is meticulously recorded and cataloged to ensure the General Plan Advisory Committee, planners, City staff, and decision-makers have a full understanding of public sentiment when drafting goals and policies. Public feedback on General Plan materials (including goals and policies) will be considered when making final revisions.