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General Plan
Adopted in November 2002, the Atherton General Plan is intended as a map for the Town to guide the growth and development. The General Plan is a comprehensive document articulating policies and guidelines for developing and preserving the quality of life in Atherton. General Plans typically contain goals, objectives, policies and programs all intended to support the Town's desire to develop in a particular manner and to attain a community vision.


State Law

Section 65300 et seq. of the California Government Code requires that each planning jurisdiction (i.e. city or county) shall prepare, and the legislative body shall adopt, a comprehensive, long-term, general plan for the physical development of the city. Section 65302 requires that each general plan shall consist of a statement of development policies and shall include a diagram or diagrams and text setting forth objectives, principles, standards and plan proposals.

About the General Plan

The General Plan is a comprehensive document that covers many aspects of the community including development, preservation of the community and safety. The General Plan is a long-term document that is intended to guide the growth of the City over the next ten years.

The Town of Atherton General Plan is divided into six elements. Each element contains background information that has been collected and analyzed to establish goals and policies that are intended to guide development and City actions in a particular manner. Community involvement plays a major role in establishing the goals and policies of the General Plan because the goals and policies reflect the views and concerns of the citizens and attempt to achieve their vision of the City.

General Plan Elements

The Atherton General Plan is divided into five elements: 1) Land Use; 2) Circulation; 3) Housing; 4) Open Space and Conservation; 5) Noise; and 6) Community Safety.

Land Use Element: The Land Use Element delineates in written and graphic terms Atherton's goals, objectives and policies concerning future land uses within the Town's jurisdiction. The Element sets forth the distribution, location and extent of residential, open space and public land uses.

Circulation Element: The Circulation Element describes facilities and policeis fo rthe movement of people and goods throughout the Town. It includes a plan of roadways, in addition to facilities for pedestrian, bicycle, and rail transportation. Since Town policy seeks to preserve all streets and highways as scenic routes, this Element also serves as the Scenic Roadways Element of the General Plan.

Housing Element: The State of California requires that all cities within the San Francisco Bay Area update the Housing Elements of their General Plans on a regular basis. The purpose of the Housing Element is to evaluate existing and project future housing needs of all economic segments of Atherton. The Element evaluates existing policies and programs aimed at the preservation, improvement and development of housing and development of new policies and/or programs with the same goal.

The Housing Element includes an analysis of housing needs, statements of goals and policies, a schedule of programs and actions and an estimate of the number of housing units the Town expects to be developed, improved and maintained in the local housing stock. Programs and policies included in the Element are evaluated and modified where necessary to reflect changing market conditions and policy priorities.

Open Space and Conservation Element: The Open Space and Conservation Elements have been consolidated into a single document. These elements relate closely to the Land Use and Circulation Elements and address the preservation of natural resources, managed resources, outdoor recreation, and public health and safety.

Noise Element: The Noise Element describes the present and future noise environment of Atherton in an effort to prevent intrusion by harmful and annoying sound levels. Major noise sources are identified, the effects of noise on the community are discussed, and strategies for minimizing unwanted noise are outlined.

Community Safety Element: The Community Safety Element describes natural and man-made disasters which may pose a hazard to the residents of Atherton. The Element sets forth general policies for responding to threats to public safety. The Element is not intended to serve as the Town's Emergency Response Plan.