National City General Plan Update

The City of National City is undergoing a Focused General Plan Update (FGPU) and Climate Action Plan (CAP) Update. The update includes the implementation of a new residential density bonus program called House National City, which is based on the floor area ratio (FAR). The General Plan serves as the guiding document for the city’s future development, and the last update occurred in 2011. The current update considers new state legislation and regional/local changes.

The General Plan Update builds upon previous planning projects, including the 24th Street TODO, which was approved by the City Council in June 2021. The outreach process for the General Plan Update aims to complement and build upon the efforts of the 24th Street TODO, involving public events, surveys, and stakeholder interviews.

The updated elements of the General Plan include Land Use and Community Character, Circulation (Transportation), Safety, and Housing. The update also incorporates the Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The integration of land use, transportation, and housing is crucial for GHG reduction. The city is taking a holistic approach by updating these elements alongside the CAP and proposing a new density bonus program to incentivize the construction of new housing, aiming to revitalize and enhance National City for its residents.

Key Points of the City of National City’s General Plan Update:

Focused General Plan Update (FGPU): The city is undertaking a focused update of the General Plan to guide future residential and business growth within the community.

Elements Being Updated: The updated elements include Land Use and Community Character, Circulation (Transportation), Safety, and Housing. The update also integrates the Climate Action Plan (CAP).

House National City: A new opt-in residential density bonus program called House National City is being proposed. It uses the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to determine the number of homes that can be built, focusing on areas served by high-frequency transit and providing housing for low-income households.

Virtual Engagement: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community engagement activities have shifted to virtual platforms. Webinars, telephone office hours, stakeholder interviews, and interactive digital maps are used to gather public input and feedback.

Timeline of Outreach Phases: The outreach process is divided into three phases: Phase 1 (August/September 2020), Phase 2 (March/April 2021), and Phase 3 (December 2021 – June 2023).

Public Participation: Public webinars, surveys, telephone office hours, stakeholder meetings, and city council briefings are conducted to gather input and feedback from residents, developers, and community organizations.

Environmental Analysis: The project includes an environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including a Notice of Preparation (NOP), scoping meeting, and draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR).

Draft Documents and Review: Draft elements, Climate Action Plan, House National City Program, and the SEIR will be posted on the city’s website for public review and comment. Public hearings will be conducted for final adoption of the General Plan Update, CAP, and House National City Program.

Additionally, the General Plan will be expanded to include the annexation of approximately 50 acres of the unincorporated community of Lincoln Acres into National City. This annexation was completed in 2020.

The proposed updates involve various aspects:

A. General Plan – Element Updates: This includes updating the goals, policies, and actions of the General Plan to guide development and conservation in National City until 2050. The Land Use Element will be updated to reflect the city’s growth management vision.

B. Zoning Code Updates: Regulations and development standards will be updated to accelerate housing production across all income categories, consistent with the goals of the Housing Element and recent state legislation.

C. Objective Design Standards: The development of architectural and design requirements to streamline the approval process for qualifying multi-unit residential developments.

D. Housing Strategic Plan: A four-year plan to guide the investment of the National City Housing Authority’s resources and meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation. The plan will provide recommendations and guidelines for future housing construction.

E. Specific Plan Amendments: Amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan and Westside Specific Plan policies, including development zones, design guidelines, and parking requirements, to encourage housing production.

G. Bike Master Plan Update: Updating the Bike Master Plan to incorporate changes from the General Plan and other planning documents, with a focus on creating a connected and safe bicycle network.


1902 Wright Place, Suite 180
Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA

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