Goals and Policies

Each element contains the goals and policies that the County will use to guide future land use, development, resource management, and environmental protection decisions. The goals and policies in the General Plan are presented in a standard format. An explanation of this format, using a sample goal and policy, is illustrated below in Figure 1-1.

    1. How to Read Goals and Policies

A goal is a statement that describes in general terms a desired future condition or “end” state. Goals describe ideal future conditions for a topic and tend to be very general and broad.

A policy is a clear and unambiguous statement that guides a specific course of action for decision-makers to achieve a desired goal.

Policy / Program Icons4 icons
The Ventura County 2040 General Plan contains a number of policies and programs that address cross-cutting topics that weave throughout the General Plan. In order to highlight these policies and programs, one or more of the icons shown to the left of this text are used. These icons identify policies and programs that directly relate to one or more of these topics. The icons are described below:

eirEnvironmental Impact Report Mitigation

Where potential for significant environmental impacts was identified in the draft 2040 General Plan EIR, mitigation measures are proposed to reduce the level of impact in the form or new or revised policies or implementation programs. For the draft EIR, these policies and programs constitute mitigation measures pursuant to Section 15126.4 of the State CEQA Guidelines and ensure that implementation of the 2040 General Plan includes a feasible reduction in environmental impacts in accordance with CEQA. This method of incorporating mitigation measures into a proposed plan is consistent with Section 15126.4(a)(2) of the State California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines. The set of new and revised policies and programs that could be included in the 2040 General Plan will be presented before the Board of Supervisors when it considers whether to certify the Final EIR and adopt the 2040 General Plan. Mitigation measures eventually included in the 2040 General Plan would be identified with an EIR icon to track their origin.

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ejEnvironmental Justice

Pursuant Government Code Section 65302(h), general plans must include an environmental justice element or include goals and policies in other element(s) of the general plan addressing health risks within designated unincorporated disadvantaged communities.

hcHealthy Communities
Based on Board of Supervisors direction, the 2040 General Plan focuses on promoting healthy communities and the connection between the built environment and public health. Healthy communities focus on providing for a quality and sustainable environment, supporting economic and social development, ensuring social equity, and encouraging social relationships that are supportive and respectful to meet all residents’ basic needs across a lifespan. To improve health outcomes, the County needs to focus on policies, systems, and programs that address the social and environmental determinants of health.

capClimate Action Plan

The 2040 General Plan serves as the County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) by including both a GHG Strategy and Climate Adaptation Strategy that are integrated throughout the 2040 General Plan. The GHG Strategy identifies policies and implementation programs that establish GHG emissions reduction targets and GHG reduction measures to achieve the targets in the unincorporated county, consistent with state guidance and applicable GHG protocols. The Climate Adaptation Strategy includes analysis of climate change vulnerability and adaptation measures that address unincorporated county vulnerabilities to climate change and increase the County’s long-term resilience, per the requirements of Government Code Section 65302(g). The specific goals and policies under both strategies that would otherwise form a “stand-alone” CAP are integrated into the Ventura County 2040 General Plan. This integrated CAP approach allows the 2040 General Plan to be recognized as a “Plan for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (as allowed for in Section 15183.5 of the CEQA Guidelines).

Implementation Programs

While many policies can be implemented as part of standard County operations, some policies require specific programs to assure their implementation. These implementation programs are included as the last section in each element in a format illustrated on Figure 1-2. Similar to policies, implementation programs that address one or more of the cross-cutting topics include an icon to highlight the implementation program’s relationship to these topics, as applicable.


Under the “Responsibility” column on the Implementation Programs, acronyms are listed for the responsible and supporting County agencies. These are as follows:

  • AGC, Agricultural Commissioner
  • AIR, Ventura County Department of Airports
  • CEO, County Executive Office
  • FD, Ventura County Fire District/Department
  • GSA, General Services Agency
  • HD, Harbor Department
  • HCA, Health Care Agency
  • HR, Human Resources
  • LIB, Library
  • PWA, Public Works Agency
  • REA, Regional Energy Alliance
  • RMA, Resource Management Agency
  • VCSO, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Implementation Tools and Actions

Many policies are specific enough to be applied and carried out directly as consistency with the General Plan is evaluated for future projects and actions. The types of tools or actions the County can use to carry out these policies generally fall into the eight categories listed below. For each policy, a set of two- to four-initial identifiers (shown in parenthesis at the end of each policy) tell the reader the tools or actions typically used to implement that policy.

  • Regulation and Development Review (RDR)
  • Master Plans, Strategies, and Programs (MPSP)
  • Financing and Budgeting (FB)
  • Planning Studies and Reports (PSR)
  • Services and Operations (SO)
  • Inter-Governmental Coordination (IGC)
  • Joint Partnerships with the Private Sector (JP)
  • Public Information (PI)

Regulation and Development Review (RDR)
Many General Plan policies are implemented through regulations adopted by the County based on the County’s constitutional police power to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. County ordinances also create a development review process that provides for County review of individual project proposals and authorizes the County to approve, deny, and condition projects based on their consistency with the General Plan. The following is a list of state, regional and County laws and regulations commonly used to implement the General Plan:

  • Ventura County Building Code and State building codes
  • CEQA and Ventura County Initial Study Assessment Guidelines
  • Guidelines for Orderly Development / Save Our Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR)
  • Ventura County Subdivision Ordinance
  • Ventura County Coastal and Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinances
  • Ventura County Cultural Heritage Ordinance
  • Development Review Process (review and processing of discretionary permit applications)

Master Plans, Strategies, and Programs (MPSP)
The County has adopted strategies and programs focusing County attention on various types of county services and facilities, types of development, or geographic areas. These are prepared to provide more specific direction for County decision-makers, staff, and the public on how the General Plan will be implemented. They are not elements or components of the General Plan. The following is a list of some of the plans, strategies, and programs that the County has adopted:

  • Local Coastal Program
  • Area Plans
  • Specific Plans
  • Ventura County Economic Vitality Strategic Plan
  • Ventura County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Mobile Home Rent Review Program

Financing and Budgeting (FB)
The development, maintenance, and operation of public facilities such as parks and drainage facilities and the provision of County services require financial resources that are derived from various sources. Programming of County capital projects and their funding over time is outlined in the County’s Capital Improvement Program, which is updated annually. The following is a list of revenue sources used by or available to the County to support development, maintenance, or operation of public facilities and services:

  • Property tax revenue
  • Sales tax revenue
  • User fees
  • Rents
  • Development fees
  • Quimby Act (Park) dedications
  • Community facilities and special assessment districts
  • Bonds
  • Special taxes
  • Regional, State, and Federal funding

Planning Studies and Reports (PSR)
The County conducts studies and produces reports to collect and evaluate information related to specific issues. These studies and reports are undertaken at the direction of the Board of Supervisors as needed or are prepared annually to report on the status and implementation of the General Plan.

Services and Operations (SO)
The County provides a broad range of services to its residents, businesses, and visitors and manages and operates its facilities to meet community needs. How the County provides services and carries out its operations makes a significant difference in how effectively the General Plan is implemented.

Inter-governmental Coordination (IGC)
The County must coordinate with numerous local, regional, state, and federal agencies to implement the General Plan. These agencies provide services, facilities, or funding and administer regulations that directly or indirectly affect many issues addressed in the General Plan. The following is a partial list of public agencies that may play a role in implementing the General Plan:

  • Local agencies such as cities, special districts, and school districts;
  • Regional agencies such as Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission, Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, Ventura Council of Governments, and Ventura County Transportation Commission;
  • State agencies such as Caltrans, General Services, California State University, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Coastal Commission, and Native American Heritage Commission; and
  • Federal agencies such as U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The County also recognizes unique public and private partnerships, which are described in more detail below:

Joint Partnerships with the Private Sector (JP)
The County can combine its efforts with private sector efforts to improve public service delivery, manage public sector assets, or leverage private sector investment. By expanding the role of the private sector, the County can use its technical, management, and financial resources in creative ways to achieve objectives of the General Plan.

Public Information (PI)
The County can use a wide range of techniques to keep residents informed of County services or other issues of interest. Public information can be distributed through media such as brochures, pamphlets, the County’s website, workshops, seminars, public access television, radio, newspapers, public hearings, neighborhood and community meetings, County social media channels, and customer service hotlines.

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