The Planning Division advises the City Manager, City Council, Planning Commission and other commissions, residents, the business community and the general public on current land use and development issues. The Planning Division is responsible for initiating, coordinating, and implementing the City's General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Division processes applications for all types of development projects, including environmental assessment, site and architectural design review and reviewing for consistency with the City's plans and ordinances.
The State of California requires that each city prepare and adopt a comprehensive General Plan. The General Plan acts as a blueprint for improvements and development and addresses several state mandated issues commonly referred to as “elements”. Each city has the ability to incorporate additional elements if the issue is important to the long range development of the community. The Planning Division provides recommendations for updates to the General Plan to address community and state interests for the orderly development of Carson. The City is in the final stages of an update to the General Plan to provide for the future needs of the community over the next 10 to 20 years. The proposed General Plan Update includes the following elements: Land Use; Housing; Safety; Noise; Open Space and Conservation; Parks, Recreation and Human Services; and Air Quality.
The Zoning Map and Zoning Ordinance are locally adopted rules and standards that regulate land uses consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan. The Zoning Map designates districts where certain land uses are permitted. Every parcel in the city is assigned a specific zoning district. The Zoning Ordinance provides development standards for each zoning district including such regulations as the number of parking spaces, the maximum height of buildings, the minimum distance or setback a building must be from the property line and environmental protection.
The Planning Division reviews and approves all new construction and modifications to existing developments to ensure compliance with City zoning, subdivision codes and development standards before a building permit can be issued.
The Planning Division also assists with various economic development and redevelopment efforts within the community. The Planning Division provides advice and information directed at attracting businesses and quality development.
The City has a very knowledgeable and skilled Planning staff to provide assistance and answer questions. In many cases, consulting with the Planning Division early in the process may save considerable time and money or provide suggestions that might improve the overall quality of the project.
The Planning Division’s principal activities are:
Development and maintenance of the General Plan.
The development of area plans based on the General Plan, to provide more specific guidance for the development of the various City areas.
Reviewing of private development projects and proposed capital improvements projects and other physical projects involving City property for consistency and conformity with the General Plan.
The formulation of planning policies and standards that will ensure a quality living and working environment for Carson neighborhoods and districts.
Serving as an information center to assist citizens in understanding and applying to their property or to project proposals the policies of the General Plan and provisions of the Zoning Ordinance that might affect them.
Anticipating and acting on the need for new plans, policies, and Zoning Ordinance changes.
Applying the approved plans, policies, Zoning Ordinance and other regulations to proposed land use decisions.