General Plan

State planning law requires that each city and county in California have a General Plan consisting of seven “elements” which include the Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Noise, Open Space and Safety elements.

The general plan is intended to serve as a “constitution” for all future development within the city. The general plan sets broad policies; city ordinances and administrative procedures are the vehicles for the implementation of the general plan. In terms of city planning requirements, the primary implementation mechanism of general plan policies is the Zoning Ordinance, which translates the generalized nature of the Land Use, Housing, Circulation, and other elements’ policies into highly specific development standards.


All cities in the State of California are required to maintain a General Plan and Housing Element, which is one of the required chapters of the General Plan. The “Sixth Cycle” Housing Element Update is underway, and will plan for housing within the City of Sebastopol from 2023-2031. The City of Sebastopol started working on this effort in September of 2021, and the City Council adopted the Housing Element Update on January 3, 2023.