Checking Up On Irvine’s General Plan

Irvine’s General Plan, as per State mandate, was created in 1973, to present Irvine’s long range plan for the development, improvement and preservation of the city. It has been periodically updated ever since. Irvine is currently working on a comprehensive General Plan update which will refine the City’s goals and objectives and reflect changes required by the State, which will be reviewed by the Planning Commission this Thursday, August 19, 2021 (Agenda Item 4).

[Read staff report]

In 2020, State law changes required previously exempted charter cities, including Irvine, to submit annual progress reports to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research regarding the status of the City’s implementation of the General Plan objectives. In compliance with the State’s requirements, the City of Irvine’s 2020 General Annual Progress Report outlines project approvals, initiatives, ordinances, policies and programs that have been instituted to fulfill the General Plan objectives.

General Plan Elements

The General Plan is divided up into different elements which are individually addressed by the annual report. The goals, objectives, policies and programs for each element are as follows:

Housing Element

  1. The housing element is updated separately and the update is submitted to the California Department of Housing, thus the annual report does not address it.

Land Use

  1. Ensure compatibility and balance between residential, commercial, manufacturing and employment centers.
  2. Maintain visually attractive and organized communities.
  3. Set forth design related criteria to enhance “livability” and pedestrian activity within the area.
  4. Establishment of a neighborhood revitalization program which includes residents working with the city to identify needed neighborhood projects.
  5. Establishment of a Capital Improvement Program to encourage economic prosperity.


  1. Implementation of  projects and programs to provide a safe and efficient circulation system for a variety of mobility choices  including roadway improvement, ride share programs (Spectrumotion, i Shuttle, Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) traffic analysis guidelines), traffic signal synchronization, and  the expansion and maintenance of the bicycle trail network,


  1. Development of ordinance, policies and enforcement programs serviced by Code Enforcement, to  ensure that projects are consistent and compatible with the “Land Use and Compatibility Matrix” in the City’s municipal code.
  2. Resurfacing streets with rubberized pavement using recycled waste tires in order to reduce air and noise pollution.


  1. The City reduces the severity of public safety hazards  by means of establishing an alert and evacuation program
  2. Establishment of the Public Preparedness Program.
  3. Activating the Emergency Operations Center in response to incidents occurring within the city such as the Silverado Fire during which Community Services opened up community centers to provide services and support to evacuees, and the Covid 19 pandemic.
  4. Established the City’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan which assesses threats the City faces from natural and human caused hazard events and coordinates strategies to reduce the identified threats.

Open Space and Conservation

  1. Policies and programs to protect and maintain over 6500 acres of open space in perpetuity.
  2. The City implements this commitment through partnerships with non-profit organizations such as the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
  3. Provides docent led trips to archeological, historical and paleontological sites.
  4. Protection of cultural resources.
  5. Maintain a network of recreational and open space area, which includes over 50 parks, to the “land use fabric” of the city.

The Annual report will also include General Plan modifications in order to comply with State Law which include:

  1. Climate Change: Irvine will address Climate Change by adopting a Climate Change and Resiliency Strategy under which the City will assess climate change risks, goals, policies and objectives and an implementation program to be included in the General Plan.
  2. Environmental Justice: Irvine will address Environmental justice by adopting environmental justice related policies to ensure that no segment of Irvine’s community is forced to deal with more pollution because of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.