By definition a general plan is long-term strategy that is comprehensive for the physical development of a city. The plan makes a determination of the utilization of land, infrastructure and public services required or desired by the community. The General Plan is a policy document identifying the use of land by the city, the goals and policies in regards to circulation, the environment, and social needs of the city as they are tied to land use and development. Therefore, it acts as a source of guidance to the citizens of the city, developers and decision-makers on the rules for any developmental activities. State laws require that every city and county should adopt a General Plan for developing the city physically and land outside the city’s boundaries that is related to the planning.
According to California’s laws cities and counties should have general plans. The plan is like the constitution the developing the city physically. The City of Moreno valley is with the California state and its general plan reflect what the community considers as a necessity for the creation of a safe, healthy, prosperous, and desirable place for living, working, and playing. This paper addresses the General Plan of the City of Moreno Valley in regards to Land use and specifically with a focus on parks, recreation, and open spaces. The focus is on highlighting comparing the city’s general plan with topics covered in the course and the applicability of the element picked including time frame for implementation.
Components of a General Plan
A General Plan comprises of several elements both from the understanding of state laws and what was covered during the course of the semester. These elements include metropolitan development to make a city a metropolis, urban development, land use, housing, economic development, transportation, energy, environment, involvement of the citizens, plan review and administration, public facilities, and urban design and development. Moreno Valley’s General Plan as it currently stands reflects what is considered to be a prerequisite for a safe, healthy, prosperous, and desirable area for living, working, and playing. It contains all the elements inherent in a General Plan as covered by state laws and during the course of studies. These are elements of community development, economic development, parks, recreation, and open spaces, circulation, safety (public safety services and environmental safety), conservation, housing, and other goals, objectives, policies, and programs.
For Moreno Valley, the General Plan comprises of the Housing Element. This element as per the course of the study should address issues such as policies for housing supply, safety and quality, housing opportunity, and affordability. The housing element of Moreno valley has all the factors addressed during the course of the study as it assess the needs of housing among all economic segments of the city. Moreover, it provides a discussion of all the goals and policies that guide the approach of the city in resolving housing needs and recommendation for programs to ensure sustainability for the next few years.
The General Plan for the housing element is target to be achieved within a seven-year period. This period is realistic for a medium term the City of Moreno Valley given the fact that it has a relatively low population. Moreover, given the support it receives from the larger California state, it is possible for the city to achieve the aspects of its plan. The housing element’s General Plan comprises of five areas. These are prioritized as the preservation and revitalization of existing neighborhoods, creation of new opportunities for housing for special needs populations, creation of housing for individuals with either low or very low incomes, creating housing for low and moderate income first time buyers, and increasing energy conservation strategies.
These five areas are important for the city because given the current surge in the population; the demand for housing has significantly increased. This, therefore, requires every city to increase its housing capacity to cater for this increase in population. Due to the fact that the cost of constructing new houses is high and requires more time, the prioritization of preservation and revitalization of the current housing facilities is important as it will ensure the short-term availability of houses while preserving the older ones. This will ensure immediate availability of houses and reduce the risk of creating more housing problems. Moreover, the country’s current wage rate and the increase housing prices require the construction of cheaper and affordable houses. Therefore, it is important as addressed in the General Plan to create low cost houses. This should have been prioritized before the creation of housing for special needs population because while it is important it is not a very pressing issue compared to the availability of low cost houses. Furthermore, there is a surge of the middle class society that demands certain types of housing facilities which is an important issue that addressed in the General Plan.
The General Plan of the city of Moreno Valley meets the requirements of any General Plan. In regards to the housing element, the plan has covered all the relevant components. However, in regards to prioritization, meeting the immediate housing demands should be considered first and hence the construction of housing for special needs should have been included later in the plan. However, in general, the Plan is effective and realistic and would meet most of the housing needs of the city.