El Segundo General Plan - 1992

1. Introduction

Table of Contents

General Plan Summary

Overview of the City


General Plan Summary


A general plan is a document that reflects the values and contains the goals of a community with respect to development. It is a statement of policy, with text and diagrams, that is used as a tool for helping decision makers make decisions that are consistent with community goals. The state planning code of California requires every city and county to adopt a general plan. The government code also requires the plan to be an integrated, internally consistent document in which policies do not conflict with each other. Typically, the plan is organized into seven or more sections, or "elements," each focusing on a particular facet of the community. There are seven elements that are required by state law to be contained in every general plan. They are Land Use, Noise, Circulation, Housing, Open Space, Conservation, and Safety. Optional elements may also be included to address topics of local interest which relate to the physical development of the community, such as Air Quality and Economic Development.

The general plan is comprehensive in nature and content. It covers the entire geographic area that is located within the city limits, and it addresses a broad range of issues relating to the physical, economic, and social development of the community. The general plan may also cover areas outside the city limits where land uses have a direct effect upon the city.

The general plan is general in nature and provides a vision of the future. It contains an evaluation of existing conditions and provides the long-term goals and policies necessary to guide growth and development in the direction that the community desires for the upcoming 15-20 years.

Preparing, adopting, implementing, and maintaining a general plan serves a variety of purposes. First, it provides for the identification of the community's environmental, economic, and social goals regarding land use and development. Second, it serves as the basis for local government decision making. Third, it informs the people of the rules for development within a community. Finally, by encouraging citizen participation, the general plan functions as the connecting link between community values and aspirations and the physical decision making process.

California planning law not only requires internal consistency between the various elements, but also consistency with its implementation programs. Because the general plan is a broad-based visionary document, there are a number of ways to implement the policies it contains. Examples of implementation programs which are designed to carry out the goals and policies of the general plan include a variety of detail oriented regulatory procedures, ordinances, and plans that are utilized on a daily basis. They include zoning and subdivision ordinances, specific plans, growth management policies, capital improvements programming, environmental review procedures, building and housing codes, and redevelopment plans. Thus, there is a strong connection between the community's day-to-day decision making process and the general plan. The former operates as the regulatory system and the latter serves as the community's "constitution."

Urban and regional planning is one of the few process of government that encourages public involvement. Citizen participation is the key to preparing and amending any general plan document. This is important because the plan ultimately belongs to the community. It represents the community's vision and values. Therefore, it is imperative a that the community be involved and provide feedback to the planning professionals in every step of the plan preparation process: issue identification, formulation of goals, collection and analysis of data, development and evaluation of alternative plans, selection and adoption of the preferred plan, and monitoring and amending the plan. Citizen input can be achieved through community workshops, meetings with special community organizations, surveys, public hearings and formulation of General Plan Advisory Committees (committees which are comprised of appointed representatives from the community to work closely with city staff and to serve as the official channel for public input into the planning process).

The City of El Segundo adopted their first General Plan in 1975, mainly as a response to the adoption of the general plan consistency requirements of 1971. The consistency requirements increased the importance of planning by requiring zoning and subdivision approvals to be consistent with the general plan. The issues facing the City in the past, and for the foreseeable future, reflect the increased involvement and necessity of planning for accommodating growth.

In August of 1986, the El Segundo City Council appointed a 17-member Citizens Advisory Committee to assist the City in the preparation of a General Plan update and revision. The appointment of this committee marked the beginning of the update program. The committee identified issues and goals, objectives, and policies to be contained in the final documents. Furthermore, the Development Services Department created a detailed background report which documented all available data and focused attention on significant trends and problem areas that needed to be addressed in the update program. The background report functioned as the primary source of information and data about the City of El Segundo and the surrounding region.

In addition to the work conducted by the 1987 Citizens Advisory Committee and the Development Services Department, the 1992 General Plan update involved the participation of regional, responsible, and affected agencies, and persons from the community that attended the four community workshops, as well as the Planning Commission and City Council workshops and public hearings. Furthermore, a General Plan Advisory Committee was formed which conducted nine public meetings over a four-month time period. All public meetings were noticed in public places throughout the community, as well as in the Library, and in City Hall, and were made available to El Segundo cable television subscribers on public television. The draft General Plan was made available for the public to review free of charge at the Planning Department, and the public Library, or for purchase from the Planning Department.

Through implementation and update of the General Plan, the City is attempting to enhance revenue sources while alleviating the negative impacts of growth and development. To this purpose, the City of El Segundo has expanded the scope of the General Plan to include three optional elements: Economic Development, Air Quality, and Hazardous Materials and Waste Management. This General Plan represents the City's desire to take a proactive role in addressing issues and creating a desirable place to live for the residents of the City of El Segundo.

Overview of the City

The City of El Segundo is located in the Los Angeles urban area, Exhibit I-1. It is considered part of the Airport/South Bay subregion at the southwestern edge of the Los Angeles coastal basin. Downtown Los Angeles is about 20 freeway miles from El Segundo.

The City itself, Exhibit I-2, is 5.46 square miles (3,494.4 acres), with a resident population, per the 1990 Census, of 15,223 people and a considerably larger daytime (employee) population of approximately 80,000.

The community served by the City of El Segundo includes a very diverse population, representing the full spectrum of social, environmental and economic issues. The permanent resident of the City, both owners and renters, the employee population, visitors, whether on business or for pleasure, and even neighboring residents, agencies and businesses will all be served to a greater or lesser degree by the goals, policies, and programs found within the General Plan. The City recognized the importance of each of these groups to the long-term well-being of El Segundo, and has sought their advice and attempted to accommodate and respond to their input.

To the north is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles residential areas of Playa del Rey and Westchester are located just northerly of the Airport. To the east is Del Aire, which is an island of Los Angeles County, as well as the City of Hawthorne. Both areas are predominantly residential. Some commercial uses in the City of Hawthorne line Aviation Boulevard.

The City of Manhattan Beach is directly south of El Segundo. The Chevron Refinery is located in the southern portion of El Segundo, between the City's residential areas and the City of Manhattan Beach.

To the west of El Segundo is the Pacific Ocean. A majority of the coastline is owned by the City of Los Angeles, which operates two facilities within this area: the Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant, currently undergoing an expansion, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Scattergood Generating Station. A small portion of the coastline, 0.8 miles, is within the El Segundo city limits. The Southern California Edison Generating Station and a coastal portion of the Chevron Refinery are located along this portion of the shoreline.

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