General Plan Information

General Plan Guidance Documents

A general plan is each local government’s blueprint for meeting the community’s long-term vision for the future. The General Plan Guidelines serve as a resource to help jurisdictions draft and update their general plans. Technical advisory documents provide supplemental information about general plan topics in response to local needs around the state or changes in State law.

Guidelines and Technical Advisory Documents

General Plans must be updated within a specific timeframe. However, California Government Code Section 65361 authorizes the Director of OPR to grant general plan extensions to cities and counties. An extension relieves a city or county of the requirement that it adopt a complete and legally adequate general plan or, in the case of a new city, that it adopt its plan within a specific time period. Please refer to OPR’s General Plan Extensions page for more information.

General Plan Annual Progress Report

All jurisdictions are required to provide OPR and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) with separate General Plan and Housing Element Annual Progress Reports (APRs) by April 1 each year, per Government Code Sections 65400 and 65700.

The General Plan APR submitted to OPR should outline the status of the General Plan and progress in its implementation over the previous year’s 12-month reporting period.

Guidance for the General Plan APR by Reporting Year

For the Housing Element APR, HCD also maintains separate guidance and submittal requirements for the Housing Element APR.

OPR Annual Planning Survey

OPR conducts the Annual Planning Survey each year to gain perspective on policies and planning at the local level and to evaluate trends over time. Responses to the survey are used to update the Directory of California Planning Agencies and provide the planning community with insights into key planning policies, particularly those related to the General Plan. View past results using the links below: