A General Plan is a comprehensive policy document that provides the general framework for all land use and zoning decisions within a community. It establishes a community’s long-term vision for the future and contains goals and policies that will shape future housing, support economic development and job growth, foster healthy and resilient neighborhoods, protect and manage natural resources, ensure community safety, and promote social and economic equity.
The City of Atascadero’s current General Plan was last comprehensively updated in 2002 (General Plan 2025). The State of California recommends that cities update their General Plans approximately every 15 to 20 years. The State also provides guidance on the required and suggested content for General Plans. However, each community is encouraged to identify policy and program solutions in their General Plan that address local community needs and desires.
The General Plan frames the community vision for how Atascadero should grow and change over the coming years and decades. It is important for the document to reflect community priorities and values while shaping this future. As the City's overarching policy document, every land use, mobility, infrastructure, program, and environmental decisions made by the City Council, Planning Commission, other commissions, and City staff needs to be consistent with the vision, goals, policies, programs, and actions included in the General Plan.
The City of Atascadero’s current General Plan was last comprehensively updated in 2002. In this rapidly evolving world, an update creates the opportunity to address current challenges and emerging trends. As the City’s overarching policy document, all decisions made by the City Council, Planning Commission, other commissions, and City staff need to be consistent with the vision, goals, policies, programs, and actions included in the General Plan. Over the next year or two, staff will focus work efforts on a comprehensive update to the General Plan, looking forward toward year 2045.
It is important that the General Plan reflects community priorities and values. Using an intensive, inclusive, and creative community engagement process, the new General Plan will focus on achieving well-defined guiding principles for a wide range of topics. This General Plan program represents an opportunity for residents and the business community to share their ideas about planning Atascadero’s future, both in terms of near-term actions and a long-term vision.
The General Plan Update process is an opportunity to evaluate long-term city growth, resources, public services and facilities, and a host of other topics essential to our quality of life. This includes policy about where housing can be built, where new commercial businesses are needed, how the road network can better accommodate cyclists and pedestrians, how parks can be improved, and how public safety is addressed in our daily activities, including exposure of people to noise and air pollutants.
The General Plan Update provides a tremendous opportunity for the community, City staff, Commissions, and Council to discuss and refine the vision for what the community can and should become over the coming years and decades. The overall process for updating a General Plan includes a combination of analysis, reports and designs that are reviewed and refined by the community during different phases of the project – with decisions for each phase informing the next phase.
The Project Schedule shows how the various phases of the project will be completed over the next 24 months. This approach includes meetings with the City Council at the beginning (to help frame the process) and end (to review community feedback and provide direction) of each project phase.