There are several reasons why it is important to have a current General Plan:
- Community Vision - The General Plan preparation and adoption process offers the opportunity to bring the community together to express (or confirm) its collective values and shape a common vision for the future and dealing with future conditions. A strong and clear vision built on broad-based participation and consensus will guide long-term decision-making and build community.
- Public Policy Coordination - The General Plan is not just a land-use document that governs future growth and development. It is where all of a community's major policy initiatives are identified, assessed, and expressed in a comprehensive and consistent form. As such, the General Plan process allows for a community discussion about policy goals and objectives, which can then lead to the identification of implementation programs, timing, and priorities. The internal consistency requirement of the General Plan helps ensure that there is coordination among the various elements of the plan.
- Budget and Capital Investment Coordination - An up-to-date General Plan can be used to strategically identify budget and capital investment priorities based on realizing the vision of the plan and its implementation priorities. It is a management tool used by all City departments and decision-makers.
- Legal Basis for Implementation - State statutes and established case law require that local government decisions affecting a community's growth and development must be consistent with the General Plan. Although this requirement is most commonly expressed through the City's review of and action in matters regarding land use, the same legal standard of consistency with the General Plan can also apply to adopting new regulations and fees or undertaking new programs or service initiatives that affect the entire community.