There has been long-standing citizen involvement in planning in the City of San Diego. The City Council adopted policies in the 1960s and 1970s that established and recognized community planning groups as formal mechanisms for community input in the land use decision-making processes. Community planning groups (CPG) provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City Council, the Planning Commission, and other decision-makers on development projects, general or community plan amendments, rezonings and public facilities. The recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process, and are highly regarded by the City Council and by staff.
In 1966, the San Diego City Council formalized this government-citizen relationship with the adoption of Council Policy 600-05 . The organization and structure of the relationship were further clarified in 1976 by the City Council’s adoption of Council Policy 600-24 , ‘Standard Operating Procedures and Responsibilities of Recognized Community Planning Groups.’ Under this policy, citizens who want to participate in the planning process are able to form "officially-recognized" planning groups. The City Council recognizes one official planning group in each community. Groups work with City staff to formulate and implement the General Plan and community plans, and to advise the Planning Commission and City Council on projects. As part of this function, application materials related to development projects are sent to each CPG for review. These application materials may include drawings, technical studies, and miscellaneous application materials and assessment letters, which are subject to copyright protection and may not be duplicated or altered.
Council Policy 600-24 also includes a bylaws shell for community planning groups to prepare and approve draft bylaws as required by the Council Policy. Draft bylaws are then submitted to the City for review and final approval. In addition, the Administrative Guidelines , assist planning groups with their understanding of CP 600-24.
Community Planning Workshops provide training and background information for planning group members.
On Oct. 27, 2006, the City Attorney issued a memorandum of law advising that community planning groups and the Community Planners Committee (CPC) must comply with California's Open Meeting Law, the Ralph M. Brown Act. The purpose of the act is to ensure the actions and deliberations of public bodies occur openly with public access and input. On May 22, 2007, the City Council approved revisions to Council Policy 600-24 to reflect the Brown Act and standardize operations of planning groups. A summary (PDF) of Brown Act references within Council Policy 600-24 is provided.
A PowerPoint presentation on the Brown Act was presented at the May 2, 2009, Community Orientation Workshop (COW). The League of California Cities Open and Public Handbook is also mentioned at the end of the training video as a helpful resource related to the Brown Act.