What is the General Plan?

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A general plan is the framework for decision-making about the management and growth of a city. It is an aspirational blueprint of a city that includes goals and policies to guide a city to achieve the community’s future vision. It addresses issues that affect the entire city, such as how land is used, where buildings are built, the locations of roads and parks, safety, noise, and much more. State law mandates that every California city and county adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The Newport Beach General Plan incorporates the seven (7) state-mandated elements -- Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise, and Safety. Our General Plan includes a Natural Resources element which covers in part the state-mandated Conservation element and the state-mandated Open Space Element. Over and above the state-mandated elements, Newport Beach has added four other elements to our General Plan: a Harbor and Bay element, an Historical Resources element, a Recreation element, and Arts and Cultural element.


As a part of preparing a future General Plan Update, the existing elements may be reorganized and new elements may be added to emphasize new planning issues that have arisen since the current General Plan was adopted.


Each of the boxes below reflects information on the existing General Plan. Click on the links below each Element description to learn more.


A Vision Statement is the City’s desired end state and what the community hopes to have achieved in a certain time period. The Vision Statement for the 2006 Newport Beach General Plan is intended to be a retrospective view of our community by an observer in the year 2025, to cite the City’s achievements as a result of our current “vision.” Read the Vision Statement here.

The Land Use Element provides guidance regarding the pattern of development for Newport Beach. It correlates the policies from all elements into a set of coherent development policies that serve as the central organizing element for the General Plan as a whole. Read the full Land Use Element here.

The Circulation Element governs how cars and people move through the City and covers local roadways, bus transit, shelters, ferries and the trail system. New state laws that have passed since Newport Beach’s General Plan was adopted in 2006 that require the City to consider “complete streets” and change the way greenhouse gasses are calculated. These new laws will be considered as part of a future General Plan Update. Read the full circulation element here.

The Housing Element details the City’s strategy for enhancing and preserving the community’s character, identifies strategies for expanding housing opportunities and services for all household types and income groups, and provides policy guidance for local decision-making related to housing. While the General Plan is a long-term document with a 10 to 20-year period, California State law requires the Housing Element to be updated every 7 years. The next Housing Element is due to the State in October 2021 and must address how Newport Beach will incorporate RHNA numbers. You can find more information on how RHNA relates to the General Plan here.

The Arts and Cultural element is intended to be a guide for meeting the future cultural needs of the community. This includes coordination, preservation and promotion of art and cultural activities. Read the full Arts & Cultural Element here.

The Harbor and Bay Element includes policies that help the Newport Beach Harbor to be a hospitable, navigable pleasure boating harbor. This element overlaps with the Natural Resources, Recreation, Safety and Circulation Element. Read the full Harbor & Bay Element here.

The Historical Resources Element addresses the protection and sustainability of Newport Beach’s historic, cultural and archeological sites. Preserving and maintaining these sites helps to create an awareness and appreciation of the City’s history. Read the full Historical Resources element here.

The Natural Resources element provides direction regarding the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources. The Element addresses water supply, water quality (including bay and ocean quality and potable drinking water), air quality, terrestrial and marine biological resources, open space, archeological and paleontological resources, mineral resources, visual resources, and energy. Read the full Natural Resources Element here.

The Noise Element protects Newport Beach residents from excessive noise intrusion. It identifies noise-sensitive land uses and noise sources to develop policies for both near and long-term levels of growth and traffic activity. Read the full Noise Element here.

The Recreation element identifies recreational opportunities for residents and visitors that highlights the City’s environmental assets. This includes parks, bicycle and pedestrian trails, recreational facilities, and beaches. Read the full Recreation Element here.

The primary goal of the Safety Element is to reduce the potential risk of death, injury, property damage and economic and social dislocation resulting from natural and human-induced hazards. This element specifically addresses coastal hazards, geologic hazards, seismic hazards, flood hazards, wildland and urban fire hazards, hazardous materials, aviation hazards, and disaster planning. Read the full Safety Element here.




A general plan is the framework for decision-making about the management and growth of a city. It is an aspirational blueprint of a city that includes goals and policies to guide a city to achieve the community’s future vision. It addresses issues that affect the entire city, such as how land is used, where buildings are built, the locations of roads and parks, safety, noise, and much more. State law mandates that every California city and county adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan." The Newport Beach General Plan incorporates the seven (7) state-mandated elements -- Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise, and Safety. Our General Plan includes a Natural Resources element which covers in part the state-mandated Conservation element and the state-mandated Open Space Element. Over and above the state-mandated elements, Newport Beach has added four other elements to our General Plan: a Harbor and Bay element, an Historical Resources element, a Recreation element, and Arts and Cultural element.


As a part of preparing a future General Plan Update, the existing elements may be reorganized and new elements may be added to emphasize new planning issues that have arisen since the current General Plan was adopted.


Each of the boxes below reflects information on the existing General Plan. Click on the links below each Element description to learn more.


A Vision Statement is the City’s desired end state and what the community hopes to have achieved in a certain time period. The Vision Statement for the 2006 Newport Beach General Plan is intended to be a retrospective view of our community by an observer in the year 2025, to cite the City’s achievements as a result of our current “vision.” Read the Vision Statement here.

The Land Use Element provides guidance regarding the pattern of development for Newport Beach. It correlates the policies from all elements into a set of coherent development policies that serve as the central organizing element for the General Plan as a whole. Read the full Land Use Element here.

The Circulation Element governs how cars and people move through the City and covers local roadways, bus transit, shelters, ferries and the trail system. New state laws that have passed since Newport Beach’s General Plan was adopted in 2006 that require the City to consider “complete streets” and change the way greenhouse gasses are calculated. These new laws will be considered as part of a future General Plan Update. Read the full circulation element here.

The Housing Element details the City’s strategy for enhancing and preserving the community’s character, identifies strategies for expanding housing opportunities and services for all household types and income groups, and provides policy guidance for local decision-making related to housing. While the General Plan is a long-term document with a 10 to 20-year period, California State law requires the Housing Element to be updated every 7 years. The next Housing Element is due to the State in October 2021 and must address how Newport Beach will incorporate RHNA numbers. You can find more information on how RHNA relates to the General Plan here.

The Arts and Cultural element is intended to be a guide for meeting the future cultural needs of the community. This includes coordination, preservation and promotion of art and cultural activities. Read the full Arts & Cultural Element here.

The Harbor and Bay Element includes policies that help the Newport Beach Harbor to be a hospitable, navigable pleasure boating harbor. This element overlaps with the Natural Resources, Recreation, Safety and Circulation Element. Read the full Harbor & Bay Element here.

The Historical Resources Element addresses the protection and sustainability of Newport Beach’s historic, cultural and archeological sites. Preserving and maintaining these sites helps to create an awareness and appreciation of the City’s history. Read the full Historical Resources element here.

The Natural Resources element provides direction regarding the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources. The Element addresses water supply, water quality (including bay and ocean quality and potable drinking water), air quality, terrestrial and marine biological resources, open space, archeological and paleontological resources, mineral resources, visual resources, and energy. Read the full Natural Resources Element here.

The Noise Element protects Newport Beach residents from excessive noise intrusion. It identifies noise-sensitive land uses and noise sources to develop policies for both near and long-term levels of growth and traffic activity. Read the full Noise Element here.

The Recreation element identifies recreational opportunities for residents and visitors that highlights the City’s environmental assets. This includes parks, bicycle and pedestrian trails, recreational facilities, and beaches. Read the full Recreation Element here.

The primary goal of the Safety Element is to reduce the potential risk of death, injury, property damage and economic and social dislocation resulting from natural and human-induced hazards. This element specifically addresses coastal hazards, geologic hazards, seismic hazards, flood hazards, wildland and urban fire hazards, hazardous materials, aviation hazards, and disaster planning. Read the full Safety Element here.