The 2040 General Plan is made up of two primary documents: Policy Document and Background Report.

Policy Document

A general plan is made up of a collection of “elements,” or topic categories. The state-mandated elements are: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, safety, air quality, and environmental justice. (Gov. Code, § 65302). Other elements may be included that address issues of local concern, such as economic development, agriculture, or water. (Gov. Code, § 65303). Under state law, if optional elements are included in the general plan, they carry the same weight of law as those that are legally mandated. Jurisdictions may organize general plans in anyway provided the plan addresses the required topics.

Table 1-1 shows how the elements of the Ventura County 2040 General Plan are organized to meet the requirements of state law.

The Ventura County 2040 General Plan Policy Document is organized into 12 chapters: An Introduction, 9 elements, a chapter containing the County's Area Plans, and a chapter dedicated to definitions and acronyms found in the 2040 General Plan. The General Plan also contains three appendices. The following provides a brief description of each chapter and appendix in the 2040 Ventura General Plan Policy Document. The two- or three-letter acronym following each element’s name represents the letters used to refer to the goals and policies under that element. See Section 1.4 for further information on use of these acronyms.

1. Introduction

The Introduction chapter provides an overview of the General Plan and the process used to develop the 2040 General Plan. This chapter also includes a Reader’s Guide (Section 1.4) that provides useful information on how to read and use the goals, policies, and programs presented in each element.

2. Land Use and Community Character Element (LU)

The Land Use and Community Character Element establishes the pattern and intensity of land use in the county and sets forth policies and standards to guide future development. This Element serves as the primary vehicle for ensuring that new land uses are logically organized and developed in a way that is sustainable and enhances Ventura County’s unique identity.

3. Housing Element (HE)

The Housing Element ensures that there is adequate land to appropriately accommodate the County’s fair share of population growth and housing needs. The County adopted the 2014-2021 Housing Element in 2013 to identify and address housing needs in the county in compliance with state housing law. The 2040 General Plan integrates the County’s current 2014-2021 Housing Element by formatting the document to be consistent with the 2040 General Plan.

4. Circulation, Transportation, and Mobility Element (CTM)

The Circulation, Transportation, and Mobility Element focuses on providing a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context. Beyond a transportation plan, this Element is a strategy for addressing infrastructure needs to ensure the adequate circulation of people, goods, and services.

5. Public Facilities, Services, and Infrastructure Element (PFS)

The Public Facilities, Services, and Infrastructure Element provides goals, policies, and programs to guide essential public facilities and services, energy efficiency, infrastructure funding, wastewater treatment and disposal, solid and hazardous waste, flood control and drainage, public utilities, community facilities, library facilities and services, parks and recreation facilities, law enforcement and emergency services, and fire protection.

6. Conservation and Open Space Element (COS)

The Conservation and Open Space Element focuses on the long-term preservation and conservation of the natural and open space environment. This Element addresses a variety of topics, including open space, habitat conservation, energy resources, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and climate change.

7. Hazards and Safety Element (HAZ)

The Hazards and Safety Element provides for the protection of the community from any unreasonable risks associated with the effects of the following: wildfire hazards, flood hazards, sea level rise and coastal flooding, geologic and seismic hazards, hazardous materials, transportation related hazards, oil and gas production and transportation incidents, military compatibility, noise, air quality, and increasing temperatures.

8. Agriculture Element (AG)

The Agriculture Element focuses on the protection, preservation, and expansion of productive agriculture. Agriculture plays a key role in shaping the economy and unique character of Ventura County.

9. Water Resources Element (WR)

Water is an essential resource for the future of Ventura County, both for ensuring quality of life for residents and a sustainable economy. Adequate water supply is a current and ongoing concern in Ventura County because of climate change and drought, the related declines in river flows and reservoir levels, historic overdraft of several local groundwater basins, curtailment of groundwater supplies in southern Ventura County, new groundwater well prohibitions, and reduced deliveries of imported water.

10. Economic Vitality Element (EV)

The Economic Vitality Element focuses on supporting a resilient economy that promotes economic health of the county, sustainable funding for public services, a thriving business environment, and job retention and growth.

11. Area Plans

The current General Plan includes the following nine area plans:

  • El Rio/Del Norte (ED)
  • Lake Sherwood/Hidden Valley (LS)
  • North Ventura Avenue (NV)
  • Oak Park (OP)
  • Ojai Valley (OJ)
  • Piru (P)
  • Thousand Oaks (TO)
  • Coastal Area Plan
  • Saticoy

Seven of the nine Area Plan have been updated as part of the 2040 General Plan. The acronyms following these Area Plan names are used in those Areas Plans to uniquely identify the goals and policies in each plan. The Coastal Area Plan and the Saticoy Area Plan were not updated as part of the 2040 General Plan process and are incorporated into the General Plan as previously adopted.

12. Glossary and Acronyms

Definition of key terms used in the 2040 General Plan.

Appendix A Area Plan and Existing Community Land Use Maps

This appendix contains Area Plan and Community land use maps.

Appendix B Climate Change 

This appendix covers climate change. The County developed an integrated approach to addressing climate change in the General Plan by incorporating related policies and programs throughout the General Plan elements, such that the General Plan will also serve as the County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The purpose of this Climate Change Appendix is to provide further details regarding the General Plan’s integrated climate action strategy, including a summary of results of key technical analyses used to develop the strategy.

Appendix C County of Ventura Measrues (SOAR) Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources Initiative - 2050 

This appendix contains a copy of the County of Ventura Measure (SOAR) Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources Initiative – 2050.
Appendix D Guidelines for Orderly Development
This appendix contains a copy of the County 1996 Guidelines for Orderly Development.

Background Report

The Background Report provides a “snapshot” in time of the existing county conditions. It presents physical, social, and economic resource information used to support the preparation of the General Plan. The data and information in the Background Report reflect a baseline date of June 2016. The Background Report serves as the foundation document from which subsequent planning policies and programs are formulated. The document is also used as the “environmental setting” section of the General Plan Program Environmental Impact Report (Program EIR).

The County published the public review draft of the Background Report in March 2017, followed by a revised public review draft in October 2017, and a subsequent revision in January 2018. While there were no substantive changes, the County refined the information and made editorial revisions between each version.