The City of San Luis Obispo is revising its zoning regulations to bring them in line with the General Plan and the recently updated Land Use and Circulation Element. Confused yet? Let’s break it down.

General Plan
The General Plan is like a blueprint for the city’s future. The 748-page document lays out goals and policies for:

  • housing
  • how people get around (referred to as circulation)
  • noise
  • safety
  • conservation and open space
  • parks and recreation
  • water and wastewater

Those goals and policies then guide decision-making on land use as well as providing and improving city services including police, fire and park maintenance. It is updated periodically by section, the most recent being….

Land Use and Circulation Elements (LUCE)
These portions of the General Plan were updated in 2014 after a comprehensive process involving significant community input. Dubbed SLO 2035, it aims to guide progress toward full build-out of the city.

The land use portion dictates the general location and density of housing, business, industry and open space as well as educational, public and waste disposal facilities across the city.

The circulation element addresses how people and goods move around the city, whether by car, bike, bus, air or foot.

Zoning dictates how the goals and policies in the General Plan get implemented, regulating the nitty-gritty details of what gets built where. These regulations are getting an update to bring them in line with the 2035 LUCE and cover things like:

  • building height
  • how many units are allowed per acre (density)
  • lot sizes
  • how much of the lot buildings can take up
  • parking requirements