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San Jose 2020 General Plan History
History of the 2020 General Plan

The City of San José's first comprehensive and fully integrated general plan - GP '75 - was adopted in March 1976. This General Plan contained all the individual elements required by State law yet integrated them into a single document which ensured the internal consistency of the Plan and created a comprehensive statement of City policy to guide San José's physical development. After a comprehensive re-evaluation of City development policies by a 25-member Task Force, the City replaced GP '75 with the Horizon 2000 General Plan. Horizon 2000 built on, and refined, the policies and fundamental direction of GP '75. Horizon 2000 was designed to guide development in San José to the end of the twentieth century and was implemented with considerable success. In the early 1990's it became apparent that there was a need to update and re-evaluate the General Plan since the City was approaching the horizon year of the Plan. The inclusion of new projections and other information was necessary to respond to the changing circumstances and concerns of the community.

The San José 2020 General Plan process was initiated by the City Council in early 1992 and was intended to be a focused update of the Horizon 2000 General Plan. Building on the established principles and policies of Horizon 2000, San José 2020 will guide the City into the twenty-first century. To update the Plan, the City Council appointed a 33- member task force comprised of representatives from each Council District, business organizations, environmental groups, housing advocates, development interests, neighborhood and community groups, three members of the City Council and one Planning Commissioner.

The Task Force began meeting in February 1992 and concluded its work in October 1993. The work program of the Task Force was divided into three phases: background, evaluation, and decision-making. During the background phase, the Task Force reviewed and discussed a variety of issue papers including subjects such as economic development, environmental issues, housing demographics, fiscal issues, urban service needs, and growth projections. Using this background information, the Task Force evaluated five potential land use or growth alternatives that could form the basis of the San José 2020 General Plan. These growth alternatives are described in Chapter II, Background for Planning. The Task Force also considered potential changes to the text of the General Plan, particularly the Major Strategies and the Goals and Policies. chapters. The growth alternatives were used to compare the potential effects of different levels of growth on the City's economic, fiscal and environmental health. The Task Force selected a preferred growth alternative and recommended changes to the text of the General Plan during the final decision making phase. The text changes included the addition of two new Major Strategies - Housing and Sustainable City - and policy changes covering the subjects of housing, urban services and Level of service, economic development, parks and recreation, and natural resources.

A series of community meetings was held at various locations throughout the City during each of the three phases described above. The intent of these meetings was to inform the public about the San José 2020 General Plan process and to receive public input on this process.

The Task Force selected Growth Alternative V to form the basis of the San José 2020 General Plan and recommended a series of text changes intended to strengthen and reinforce the fundamental policies which have guided development in San José since GP '75. San José 2020 represents the continuing evolution of San José into the twenty-first century!