The project includes a comprehensive update to the City of Whittier’s existing General Plan including the Housing Element. The updated Whittier General Plan will serve as a guide for the City’s development and planning. The Plan is intended to be an expression of the community’s vision for the City and Planning Area and constitutes the policy and regulatory framework by which future development projects will be reviewed and public improvements will be implemented. The City will implement the Plan by requiring development, infrastructure improvements, and other projects to be consistent with its policies and by implementing the actions included in the Plan. State law requires the City to adopt a comprehensive, long-term General Plan for the physical development of its planning area. The Plan must include, land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety elements as specified in Government Code Section 65302, to the extent that the issues identified by State law exist in the City’s Planning Area. Additional elements that relate to the physical development of the city may also be addressed in the Plan. The degree of specificity and level of detail of the discussion of each Plan element need only reflect local conditions and circumstances. The Plan has been prepared to address the requirements of State law and the relevant items addressed in Government Code Section 65300 et seq.
The Plan includes all of the State-mandated elements, including Land Use and Community Character, Mobility and Infrastructure, Housing (2021-2029), Resource Management (combines Open Space, Habitat Conservation, Resource Conservation, Aesthetics, Recreation, and Park Services and Facilities), and Public Safety, Noise, and Health as well as an optional element addressing Historic Resources.
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was prepared to evaluate the anticipated buildout of the Planning Area, which consists of approximately 21.8 square miles of land within the City’s boundaries (14.6 square miles) and land outside the City’s boundaries within the City’s Sphere of Influence (7.2 square miles). The EIR assesses the anticipated development that could occur within the Planning Area if every parcel in the city developed at the densities and intensities expected under the proposed General Plan. Anticipated growth accommodated by the Plan within the Planning Area includes new and expanded businesses, governmental and educational uses, and residential development. Growth is projected for the area within the City as well as for the Planning Area, which includes the Sphere of Influence. It is noted that the total growth estimates anticipate buildout of the entire Planning Area. Actual future development would depend on future real estate market conditions, new state and federal laws and regulations, property owner preferences, site-specific constraints, technological advancements, and other factors. The 2040 planning horizon for the Planning Area is estimated to result in increases of approximately 472 single family dwellings, 7,023 multifamily dwellings, 828,448 square feet of office space, 193,819 square feet of industrial space, and a reduction of 300,102 square feet of commercial space. An estimated increase of approximately 20,190 residents and 1,396 jobs is projected for the 2040 horizon year. Significant environmental impacts were identified in the EIR and it was determined that, even with implementation of all feasible and recommended mitigation, the following impacts would remain significant and unavoidable: Air Quality, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Transportation (VMT). As described in the EIR, there are sites within the City and its Planning Area that are on the lists of sites enumerated under Government Code Section 65962.5.