The Comprehensive Plan Amendment Process

The Comprehensive Plan is the City’s overarching planning document, presenting the community’s vision in sections, or “Elements,” that address land use, transportation, housing, the natural environment, community services, and business and economics.

The Plan was updated in 1998 with the intent of being re-examined by 2010. City Staff and consultants started work with the Planning and Transportation Commission in late 2008 to review each Element, and the City Council also directed that conceptual plans be prepared for the California Avenue/Fry’s and the East Meadow Circle/Fabian Way areas as part of the update process.

From then until now, the PTC has carefully reviewed each Element. As changes have been identified that are needed to create a clearer, more cohesive document, the original update program has evolved into an effort that includes changing the format and organization of the Plan.

Meanwhile, renewed development pressures have exacerbated concerns about traffic, parking, and other quality of life issues in Palo Alto. Accordingly, new language has been developed to address emerging issues and trends, and the City is initiating a new community dialog to ensure that the updated Plan, to be called Our Plan Palo Alto, is just that: a blueprint for preservation, change, and growth management over the next two decades that truly reflects our collective community vision.

The new public engagement process includes forums, surveys, and workshops covering the issues of most concern to Palo Altans. The Environmental Impact Report scoping process is being extended to allow additional opportunity for comment and better bring the community into determining potential alternative future land use scenarios.

The technical process of gathering and analyzing data to support Our Plan’s goals, policies, and programs also has been intensified so that all of the scenarios considered can be fully understood before one is selected to guide the future of Palo Alto. Traffic impact reports, noise and air quality modeling, and a climate change analysis will be a part of the Environmental Impact Report, and Our Plan will feature an interactive online version a guide in plain English for understanding and using the plan.