California State law requires all cities and counties to have an adopted general plan. This general plan serves as the blueprint for the community’s future growth and development. The general plan must address certain issues which are directly related to and influence land use decisions.
General plans must address seven issue areas, known as "elements," which need to be consistent with each other. The seven required elements are land use, transportation, open space, conservation, housing, noise, and safety. The plan must analyze issues of importance to the community, set forth policies for conservation and development, and outline specific programs or actions for implementing these policies.