California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

A state law requiring state and local agencies to analyze the potential impacts of their actions on the environment, disclose their findings to the public, and to mitigate impacts where feasible.

Community Plan

The Land Use Element of the General Plan consists of 35 Community Plans. Each focuses on a particular area or community in the City (e.g., Hollywood Community Plan).


The number of residential units permitted per acre of land.

Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Type of environmental review prepared when the City determines that a project may potentially have significant environmental impacts.

Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

The ratio of the gross floor area of a building to the area of the lot where it is located. (This video explains FAR.)

General Plan

The General Plan is the City's guide for its future growth and development. The State of California requires every city to adopt a General Plan. General Plans have a typical lifespan of 20 to 30 years and must be updated periodically. 

Each General Plan must cover certain topics in sections called Elements (such as the Land Use Element, the Housing Element, and the Safety Element).

General Plan Framework

The Framework Element of the General Plan lays out goals and policies for topics related to growth and services. All General Plan Elements adopted by the City need to be consistent with the Framework.

Height District

Establishes a zone’s height and Floor Area Ratio limitations.

Implementation Tools

Zones or regulations included in the Community Plan that supplement basic zoning regulations and help realize the Plan’s goals for new development.

Infill Development

Development of vacant or underutilized land within urbanized areas.


The public and quasi-public facilities required in order to serve the development and operational needs of a community, such as roads, public transportation, water, and sewer systems.

Land Use Designation

Examples of land use designations include residential, industrial, commercial, and open space. Each land use designation has a list of corresponding zones.

Mixed-Use Development

A project that combines compatible uses within the same structure, such as a building with residential uses above ground-floor commercial space.


A law or statute enacted by a city government. Zoning is established by ordinance.

Planning Commission

A committee of five or more citizens who are appointed by the City to review matters related to planning and development.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

Development located near transit. The City’s General Plan encourages locating new housing and businesses near transit to provide convenient alternatives to car travel (e.g., walking, bicycling, taking public transportation).


Zoning determines the uses permitted on a parcel and provides regulations for development, including height, bulk, and setbacks.