County of San Diego General Plan

This document is the first comprehensive update of the San Diego County General Plan since 1978 and is the result of the collective efforts of elected and appointed officials, community groups, individuals, and agencies who spent countless hours developing a framework for the future growth and development of the unincorporated areas of the County. This document replaces the previous General Plan and is based on a set of guiding principles designed to protect the County’s unique and diverse natural resources and maintain the character of its rural and semi-rural communities. It reflects an environmentally sustainable approach to planning that balances the need for adequate infrastructure, housing, and economic vitality, while maintaining and preserving each unique community within the County, agricultural areas, and extensive open space.

The General Plan directs future growth in the unincorporated areas of the County with a projected capacity that will accommodate more than 232,300 existing and future homes. This growth is targeted to occur primarily in the western portions of the unincorporated County where there is the opportunity for additional development. Compared to the previous General Plan, this update reduces housing capacity by 15 percent and shifts 20 percent of future growth from eastern backcountry areas to western communities. This change reflects the County’s commitment to a sustainable growth model that facilitates efficient development near infrastructure and services, while respecting sensitive natural resources and protection of existing community character in its extensive rural and semi-rural communities. The General Plan provides a renewed basis for the County’s diverse communities to develop Community Plans that are specific to and reflective of their unique character and environment consistent with the County’s vision for its future. 


General Plan Elements

Cover, Table of Contents, Chapter 1- Introduction, Chapter 2 - Vision and Guiding Principles

Chapter 3 - Land Use Element

Designates the general location and intensity of housing, business, industry, open space, education, public buildings and grounds, waste disposal facilities and other land uses.

Chapter 4 - Mobility Element

Identifies the general location and extent of existing and proposed major roads, transportation routes, terminals, and other public utilities and facilities. It must be correlated with the land use element.

Chapter 5 - Conservation and Open Space Element

Addresses the conservation, development, and use of natural resources including water, forests, soils, rivers, mineral deposits, and open space.

Chapter 6 - Housing Element

Comprehensive assessment of current and projected housing needs for all economic segments of the community and region. It sets forth local housing policies and programs to implement those policies.

Chapter 7 - Safety Element

Establishes policies and programs to protect the community from risks associated with seismic, geologic, flood, and wildfire hazards.

Chapter 8 - Noise Element

Identifies and appraises noise problems within the community and forms the basis for distributing new noise-sensitive land uses.

Chapter 9 - Environmental Justice Element

Addresses long-standing inequities, disparities, and disproportionalities in the EJ Communities by focusing on key interventions that will engage the community, strengthen existing services, and improve outcomes.

Chapter 10 & 11 - Implementation and Glossary


Housing Element Appendices

General Plan Implementation Plan

General Plan Map (Countywide)

General Plan Annual Progress Reports

2012     2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018     2019    2020

 Central Mountain
County Islands

Crest Dehesa






Jamul Dulzura








Mountain Empire




North County Metro


North Mountain




Pala Pauma

Pendleton De Luz







San Dieguito


Spring Valley




 Valle De Oro


Valley Center

Environmental Review Documents 

Environmental Impact Report 

GPU FEIR Summary, 15183 Reference

The General Plan Update Process history remains available on the department GPU hearings page.