Table of Contents

Part One. The Planning Commission

Part Two. The Legal Side of Planning

Part Three. A Short Primer on State Planning Law

     The General Plan
     The California Environmental Quality Act
     The Permit Streamlining Act
     Annexation and Incorporation

Part Four. Glossary of Common Planning Terms

Part Five. For Further Reference


Welcome to the wonderful world of planning. If you are a new planning commissioner, you undoubtedly have lots of questions about the job. There's plenty to learn and this publication was prepared to help you get started.

Traditionally, the planning commission is made up of members of the public at large with little or no formal training in planning. They come to the commission with a public-spirited enthusiasm for community planning and a concern for the future of their community. Planning commission service often means late hours, little or no pay, and enough arguments to last a lifetime. Still, most commissioners wouldn't miss the experience for the world.

The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) receives numerous requests from local governments for instructional materials that can be used by planning commissioners to familiarize themselves with their jobs. We have written this book to meet that need. The Planning Commissioner's Book is designed to be both a training tool and a ready reference. It does not, however, cover everything that a commissioner must know. For one thing, there is a lot that can only be learned through experience. Instead, it focuses on the basics. For more detailed information about the subjects that are introduced here, please see the references listed in the back or ask your planning staff.

Next: The Planning Commission

State of California

Governor's Office of Planning and Research
1400 Tenth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814