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Community-Based Planning


Community-based planning is a process that empowers individual communities to create their own unique vision and plan for how their community is identified and shape its future. A community plan helps transform a vision from conceptual to realization. To help communities get started, the County developed a Community Planning Guide to provide a framework for community members to go from a grassroots level discussion about community identification to an enforceable community plan. On November 17, 2014, staff presented the Community Planning Guide to the Board and showed the new Community-Based Planning web page that the Guide would be available for public use. Members of the public made some comments and a few changes were made to the Guide posted below.

Community Planning Guide, October 2014



​Background Information

The General Plan Statement of Vision and Plan Strategies support community identity and encourage growth to reflect the character and scale of the community in which it occurs. General Plan Goal 2.4 promotes the enhancement of the character of existing rural and urban communities. A community's character and identity is protected and enhanced when new development projects (homes, businesses, etc.) place an emphasis on both the natural setting and architectural design elements of a community.

While the General Plan land use map and zoning adequately regulates the type and location of land uses within the County, they do not fully address the appearance of development. With this in mind, General Plan Policy directs the County to develop community design guidelines for each community identified in General Plan Policy and Rural Centers identified in General Plan Policy to the extent possible, to be used in project site review of all discretionary project permits. (The referenced General Plan goals and policies are in Supporting Documents.)

Specifying design criteria unique for each community and requiring proposed projects designed to reflect these guidelines/standards ensures that new development enhances the community’s quality of life, economic health, and community pride.

In 2009, El Dorado County Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) presented a draft framework for initiating General Plan Policy (Community Identification) to the Board. CEDAC recognized that the process needed a document that outlines the process for how a community plan would be created and adopted (i.e. “framework”). At that time, the County had also initiated a process to comprehensively update the Zoning Ordinance and had begun the first 5-year review of the General Plan. Since 2009, community planning and community I.D. has been addressed and supported in the General Plan 5-year review and considered throughout the Zoning Ordinance Update to ensure a process and framework for community planning was included.

In 2012, AIM Consulting was brought on board to assist CEDAC with the community-based and led process. CEDAC was collaborating with several communities that were either developing a strategic economic vitality plan or pursuing economic development strategies. Over the next two years, AIM partnered with CEDAC and other community organizations to identify their unique needs and the best strategies for assisting with this effort.

In July 2013, the first meeting to begin planning for community plans was held to discuss community identification (I.D.) and visioning and implementation plan (VIP) concepts. Approximately 35 people attended this meeting, with representation from all known communities undergoing some form of community planning activity. The goal of this meeting was to determine types of community needs that could ultimately bring forward an adoptable and enforceable Community Plan. Subsequent conversations with more than 40 people from nine community areas surfaced interesting trends that focused on economic development. Lodging and signage for expanded tourism, and widespread Broadband rose to the surface. Other common concerns noted the need for “facelifts” in commercial areas and also the aging population. The areas surveyed included Cameron Park/Shingle Springs, El Dorado Hills, El Dorado/Diamond Springs, Coloma/Lotus, Cool/The Divide, Camino, Pollock Pines, Fair Play/Pleasant Valley, and Meyers.

In summer 2013, the County initiated the Cultural and Community Development Grant Program. This program encourages tourism, agriculture, and economic development in the County by supporting promotional, cultural, and community activities, including projects that facilitate community planning and community I.D. Approximately $80,000 was provided to various community groups for community projects and programs.

In August 2014, nine community meetings were held to share the draft Community Planning Guide and to receive feedback. Meeting locations were in Cameron Park, Camino, Coloma, Cool, Diamond Springs, El Dorado Hills, Fairplay, Pollock Pines and Shingle Springs. Input from the Meyers community was provided by phone. Over 110 community members participated in the feedback sessions. The draft guide was refined to incorporate comments received.

In November 2014, the Community Planning Guide was made available for public use online on the County website.

On April 4, 2016, the Board held a special meeting to discuss community planning.  Staff presented five preliminary options for how community planning could be initiated.  Based on public input and Board discussion, the Board directed staff to prepare additional information focused on two of the options: 1) Updates to countywide Community Design Guidelines/Standards and creating custom design guidelines/standards prototypes for interested communities; and 2) Preparation of corridor plans in specific communities that focus on enhancements to the transportation network.  At this meeting, the Board deferred guidance on available funding until the FY 2016/17 budget discussions.  (Refer to Legistar File No. 13-0561, Attachment 5A - Staff Report 4-4-16).

On September 27, 2016, the Board approved the final FY 2016/17 County budget that included $100,000 for community planning efforts to be led by Long Range Planning staff.  (Refer to Agenda Item 22, Legistar File No. 16-0448).  Due to other higher priority long range planning projects and staffing constraints, these funds were not utilized during FY 2016/17.

On June 19, 2017, the Board-appointed Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) submitted a memo to the Board with recommendations from the CEDAC Community Planning Ad Hoc Subcommittee requesting financial and staff support in the FY 2017/18 budget for community planning efforts. (Refer to Legistar File 17-0406, Attachment "Public Comment Rcvd 6-19-17 BOS 6-20-17").

On September 19, 2017, the Board designated an annual amount of  $250,000 for Community Planning (for the next four fiscal years) in the final FY 2017/18 County budget - $125,000 from the Economic Development budget and $125,000 from the Planning and Building Department budget.  Any unspent monies during FY 2017/18 would be re-budgeted in FY 2018/19 and added to the $250,000 annual amount.  (Refer to Board meeting minutes from September 19, 2017, Item No. 26, Legistar File No. 17-0406).

On December 5, 2017, the Planning and Building Department Director presented the Board with three community planning options, as outlined in the staff memo.  (Refer to Legistar File No. 13-0561, Attachment 6A – Staff Memo BOS 12-5-17).  The Board directed staff to proceed with Option 2:  Create custom design guidelines/standards and prototypes for communities identified in General Plan Policies and (Cameron Park, Camino/Pollock Pines, Diamond Springs/El Dorado, El Dorado Hills, Shingle Springs and interested Rural Centers) with Shingle Springs as the lead prototype.  The Board further directed staff to develop a Scope of Work for a Request for Proposal (RFP) with assistance from the CEDAC Community Planning Ad Hoc Subcommittee and to return to the Board with the draft Scope of Work prior to issuance of an RFP.

On January 5, 2018, County staff and members of the CEDAC Community Planning Ad Hoc Subcommittee met with members of the Shingle Springs community to discuss the components of effective community design standards/guidelines and the role of the Shingle Springs community in developing a lead prototype for these standards/guidelines.   Participants also discussed the next steps for developing a draft Scope of Work for the RFP.

​Community Plan Development

The County’s General Plan recognizes historical patterns of development where, over time, common land use issues and themes have arisen. Those issues and themes, in conjunction with natural topographic and human-made barriers, have developed into unique sub-areas of the County. A community plan is a public document which contains specific proposals for future uses and public improvements in a given community. It provides tailored policies and a long-range physical development guide for elected officials and residents engaged in community development.

A community plan is defined in Public Resources Code §21083.3 as a part of the General Plan which (1) applies to a defined geographic portion of the total area included in the General Plan, (2) includes or references each of the mandatory elements specified in §65302 of the Government Code, and (3) contains specific development policies adopted for the area included in the community plan. A community plan also identifies measures to implement those policies, so that the policies which will apply to each parcel can be determined.

Community plans address a particular region or community within the overall planning area of the General Plan. It refines the policies of the General Plan as they apply to smaller geographic areas, and is implemented by local ordinances such as those regulating land use and subdivision. Community plans also provide forums for resolving local conflicts among competing interests. Community plans must be consistent with the General Plan of which it is an integral component

Similar to the development of a comprehensive General Plan, a community planning process involves many steps that correspond to those in a conventional planning process, including: a complete survey of existing population, land uses and public facilities; projections of future needs and expectations; clear documentation of the communities economic and social role within the County; and an inquiry into the objectives of the area’s residents, businesses, employees, and organizations. These steps lead, in various ways, to an array of major options for development of a community plan. Most importantly, given the local nature of a community plan, it is especially important to involve landowners as well as special-interest groups and associations in the planning process.

Shingle Springs - Design Standards for Multi-Family/Commercial

​Content here.

Cool - Community Planning Effort (2017)

​Content here..

​Board of Supervisors Agenda Items

Please note: These agenda items may not reflect the most current information and are subject to change. For the latest information on agenda items related to this project, refer to the County online agenda calendar:

DateItemFile IDVer.Description
​12/5/201736​​13-0561​6Community Development Services, Planning and Building Department, providing a workshop regarding community based planning options and recommending the Board direct staff to return to the Board with a proposed scope of work, prior to issuance of a Request for Proposals, for one of three community planning options as outlined in the Staff Memo dated December 5, 2017.
9/26/2017​26​​17-04065​ Chief Administrative Office recommending the Board: 1) Adopt and authorize the Chair to sign Resolution 145-2017, incorporating Exhibits 1 through 6, adopting the County Budget and Budgets for Board Governed Special Districts for Fiscal Year 2017/18, and 2) Adopt and authorize the Chair to sign Resolution 146-2017 adopting the Amendment to the adopted Personnel Resolution.
​9/27/201622​​16-0448​5Chief Administrative Office recommending the Board: 1) Provide direction of whether to include $814,000 in additional placeholder appropriations in Department 15 for potential contributions to fire districts and decrease the amount included in the Capital Reserve by the same amount; and 2) Adopt and authorize the Chair to sign either (a) Resolution 160-2016 adopting the County Budget and Budgets for Board Governed Special Districts for Fiscal Year 2016-17 including a placeholder appropriation for an additional $814,000 for potential contributions to fire districts, resulting in a Capital Reserve amount of $2,534,732; or (b) Resolution 161-2016 adopting the County Budget and Budgets for Board Governed Special Districts for Fiscal Year 2016-17 without the additional placeholder appropriation of $814,000 for potential contributions to fire districts, and maintaining the Capital reserve amount of $3,348,732; 3) Adopt and authorize the Chair to sign Resolution 162-2016 adopting the revised personnel resolution.
4/4/2016 113-05615Community Development Agency, Long Range Planning Division, recommending the Board: 1) Receive and file information; and 2) Provide preliminary feedback regarding community planning related efforts.
11/17/2014 3313-05614Community Development Agency, Long Range Planning Division, recommending the Board consider the following: 1) Receive and file the Community Planning Guide; and 2) Discuss next steps for implementing General Plan Goal 2.4 - Maintain and enhance the character of existing rural and urban communities, emphasizing both the natural setting and built design elements which contribute to the quality of life, economic health, and community pride of County residents.
6/24/2014 2713-05613Chief Administrative Office providing an update on the development of the Community Planning Guide; and recommending the Board receive and file the same.
Supervisors Briggs and Nutting recommending the Board receive a presentation provided by the Shingle Springs Community Alliance as an update on the progress to create a new Shingle Springs Community Plan.
11/12/2013 2613-05612Chief Administrative Office providing an update on the Community Vision and Implementation process including a presentation by AIM Consulting, Inc., regarding community planning efforts.
05/14/2013 2713-05611Supervisor Santiago recommending the Board receive an update on the Community Identification (Community ID) process and have a discussion on how it relates to the General Plan, Targeted General Plan Amendment and Zoning Ordinance Update, and the role of the County and Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) in that process.

Supporting Documents​

Historic Area Plans

In the 1970's and 1980's, the County prepared Area Plans for over 20 local communities within the County. Scanned copies of these Area Plans are posted below. Note: These Area Plans are County historical planning documents for reference purposes only. For current land use planning documents/ordinances, see the County's adopted General Plan and Code of Ordinances.

shops If  you have questions or would like more information on the community-based planning process, please contact:

Anne Novotny,  Principal Planner ; (530) 621-5931 Direct (530) 621-4650 Main