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About Us

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Welcome to the Planning Department! We are proud to be carrying on the long and distinguished history of city planning here in San Diego.

Planning in San Diego has a long and proud history, dating back to John Nolen's path-breaking plans for the City in 1908 and the Balboa Park Exposition in 1915. We devote much of our time to implementing the "City of Villages" concept contained in the 2008 General Plan, largely by updating the City's 50 community plans on a regular basis. As a mature city with a dwindling amount of raw land, San Diego must use its remaining land resources wisely and focus on infill development in order to maintain both our prosperity and our quality of life. The community plan updates are undertaken by our Long-Range Planning Department.

Our Facilities Financing section --works hand-in-hand with Long-Range Planning to make sure that, as San Diego grows, we also have the financial resources available to build the public infrastructure and facilities required to support that growth.

Planning is also the "wheelhouse" for San Diego's implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act. In our Environmental & Resources Analysis Division, we update the City's CEQA significance thresholds, conduct CEQA analysis on community plans and city capital projects, and coordinate CEQA practices citywide. Environmental & Resources Analysis also implements our Historic Resources policies, our Multiple Species Conservation Plan, and our Parks Planning efforts, which are closely linked to community plan updates and facilities financing efforts.

We have become a leader among cities for our visionary approach to planning. The innovative strategies we have created have received local, state, and national awards, and made us a model for other cities to follow.

Awards

Since 2012, the Planning Department has been honored with the following awards:

2015

  • The Otay Mesa Community Plan received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Comprehensive Planning Award for a Large Jurisdiction.
  • The Barrio Logan Gateway Sign in Barrio Logan received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Implementation Award for a Large Jurisdiction.
  • The City Heights Urban Greening Plan received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Innovation in Green Community Planning Award.
  • The City of San Diego Bicycle Master Plan and EIR received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Transportation Planning Award.
  • The National Avenue and Euclid Avenue Gateway Master Plans Brochures EIR received San Diego Section American Planning Association Merit Awards.

2014

  • The Otay Mesa Community Plan received an Association of Environmental Professionals Outstanding Planning Document Award.
  • The San Diego River Park Master received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Comprehensive Planning Award for a Large Jurisdiction.
  • The Pop-Up Outreach for the Southeastern San Diego and Encanto Neighborhoods Community Plan Updates received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Public Outreach Award.
  • The Barrio Logan Community Plan Update Historic Context, Survey and Historic Preservation Element received a Community History Award by the City of San Diego’s Historic Resources Board.

2013

  • The General Plan’s Housing Element received a San Diego Section American Planning Association Outstanding Planning Award for Comprehensive Planning.
  • The Planning Project Mercado del Barrio, received a California Chapter American Planning Association Award of Excellence.

2012

  • The Affordable Housing Parking Study received both a California Chapter and a San Diego Section American Planning Association Award for Best Practices and Honorable Mention. 

Our Programs and Sections

Long Range Planning

The Long Range Planning Department includes General Plan monitoring and conformance, Community Planning, Mobility Planning, and Maps & Urban Analysis. This division focuses on comprehensive community plan updates, plan implementation, monitoring, and amendments, administering planning grants to further planning initiatives, and support citywide efforts to further the City of Villages smart growth strategy for growth and development.

Environmental & Resources Analysis

The Environmental & Resource Analysis Division includes Historic Resources, Multiple Species Conservation Program and CEQA Policy and Review. This division is responsible for the City's "CEQA Policy Wheelhouse" which provides policy guidance on environmental review, as well as environmental review for plan updates, amendments and city projects and focuses on policy and project-level review for the Multiple Species Conservation Program, Historic Resources, and Park Planning.

Facilities Financing

The Facilities Financing section manages the impact fee programs associated with land development designed to fund the community serving infrastructure.