What is a General Plan?

The General Plan is the document that most fundamentally addresses Hollister’s growth and development issues. A General Plan is often described as the “constitution” that guides the development of a city, typically for a 20-year horizon. It establishes a vision for the future, as well as the policies and implementation measures that will help our community achieve that vision. It addresses land use, housing, open space, circulation, economic development, public services, infrastructure, emergency preparedness and community health, among other issues. It is the foundation on which all land use and regulatory decisions are made.

The General Plan Update will provide an opportunity for the community to review the current policies and make changes which will guide Hollister through the next 20 years. To envision a Hollister that meets all of our needs, the City will be seeking ideas from everyone in the community at every step of the process. Community workshops, held online and in-person as best public health practices allow, will give residents a chance to directly share their goals and priorities with City officials and the project team. In addition, the process will rely upon feedback from a General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) made up of two City Councilmembers, two Planning Commissioners, and one Hollister resident. The public review process will also include check-ins with the Planning Commission and City Council to ensure that the community’s vision and priorities are correctly captured. To view a calendar of upcoming meetings and events, go here.

Project Components

One of the first steps in the General Plan Update is to establish the community’s vision for Hollister in 2040. Creating a General Plan that represents Hollister’s shared principles and values is an important component of the General Plan Update. The final vision statement will establish the principles to guide City policies and decisions about future growth, conservation, transportation, and public services.

Once the community establishes the vision for Hollister in 2040, the next step will be to update the General Plan document. 

Typically, a General Plan begins with a Vision Statement and then establishes specific goals and policies related to a range of civic issues. These issues are organized into a series of topic-specific “Elements” or chapters of the General Plan. The following seven Elements are required by State law: Land Use, Open Space, Transportation, Housing, Conservation, Safety, and Noise. These Elements can be combined or presented in any order that best fits the community.

The City of Hollister’s General Plan addresses all State requirements and organizes the General Plan in its own unique format as described below. The General Plan Update will work from the existing General Plan to update each of these Elements.

  • Vision. Describes the vision of Hollister in 2040.
  • Introduction. Describes what a General Plan is, how it was developed, major proposals, how it is organized and implementation of the Plan.
  • Land Use. Establishes a comprehensive set of explicit goals, policies and implementation actions to guide the future use and development of land in Hollister and the unincorporated area within its adjacent “sphere of influence.”
  • Housing. Identifies significant issues associated with the provision of housing in the City of Hollister. Provides policy direction in meeting the housing needs of the City, both in terms of preservation of existing housing stock and in establishing priorities for new construction. NOTE: The Housing Element is updated on a separate schedule from the rest of the General Plan, with the current Housing Element valid through 2023.
  • Circulation. Describes existing and proposed roadways and other means of transportation such as public transit, bikeways, pedestrian routes and parking facilities. Analyzes traffic conditions and needed improvements so that existing and projected circulation needs may be adequately met.
  • Community Services and Facilities. Identifies goals and policies to maintain adequate service levels for utilities, police and fire service, schools, parks, and libraries.
  • Open Space and Agriculture. Establishes goals and policies to protect Hollister’s open space and agricultural resources.
  • Natural Resources and Conservation. Sets forth the City’s goals and policies regarding the development, management, and preservation of Hollister’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
  • Health and Safety. Establishes goals and policies intended to minimize risk to people and property associated with natural and human-caused hazards.

The General Plan Update will also result in two stand-alone implementation documents:

  • Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan (CAP) will provide a framework for long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in support of the State’s adopted GHG reduction targets, and will be consistent with and responsive to all appropriate State legislation and guidance. The preparation of the CAP will occur concurrently with the General Plan Update to allow for consistency between the documents, allowing them to best inform and influence each other.
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Hazard Mitigation Plan will identify:
    • Potential hazards in Hollister such as earthquakes, wildfires, floods, drought and climate change;
    • Vulnerable populations and critical facilities most susceptible to hazards; and
    • Strategies to reduce the risk of the city’s vulnerability to hazards.

Environmental review will be conducted for of all of these components to ensure that land use activities and policies do not negatively affect our community. This component involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to identify potential environmental impacts and measures we can take to reduce or avoid them.