Cities are required by State law to adopt General Plans that lay out plans for development and growth, with elements that cover housing, land use, open space, and other needs. When cities plan for development of a large parcel or area, they often choose to create specific plans, a tool included in California law that implements the General Plan, but allows for a customized set of development standards to be legally adopted for that specific area.

A specific plan can range from a set of broad policy concepts to a comprehensive plan that provides significant details about the land uses, infrastructure, and resources.

Precise plans are similar to specific plans, though they are more loosely defined, allowing more flexibility in defining the priorities for a selected area. Some cities may use the terms interchangeably.

While San Jose has adopted specific plans, including the Midtown Specific Plan and the Evergreen Specific Plan, in recent years it has adopted a new planning concept called Urban Villages.

SV@Home’s Position: We Need to Proactively Support Policies that Facilitate Affordable Housing Development

SV@Home supports proactive land use policies and plans that include significant housing and affordable housing near transit and jobs and has the following priorities:

  • Developing policies that enable affordable housing development, including allowing by-right development of affordable housing on small sites and requiring affordable housing as an integral component of precise and specific planning areas.
  • Supporting policies that require that a minimum of 20% of units in all specific plans be affordable to lower- and moderate-income households.
  • Promoting transit-oriented development by working with cities, transit agencies, and other public entities to facilitate housing development on land near transit and jobs, and ensure that development plans become a reality
  • Supporting policy makers in modernizing outdated land use policies that favor sprawl and that restrict growth, and instead support policies that focus on the built environment, where urban mixed-use and mixed-income development come together to create complete communities.
  • Working with employers and local agencies to create opportunities for housing on their campuses, particularly where significant land is used for parking, building on top of parking garages, or rethinking surface parking.
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