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Advance Planning

Advance Planning staff are responsible for the development of policies and plans intended to guide the City’s growth and development in the future, managing information about the City’s population and housing growth, and representing the City in regional planning activities undertaken by the Orange County Council of Governments and Southern California Association of Governments. Advance Planning efforts involve implementing and maintaining the General Plan, drafting new or revised standards to address changes in State planning laws, new types of land uses that are not already addressed by the Municipal Code, or problematic land uses and development conditions in the community.

In addition to its policy and statistical work, Advance Planning is also responsible for preparing environmental analysis and documents for the City’s Capital Improvement Projects such as the Main Library expansion, road widening projects, park renovations, new bike trails, and new water pumping stations. In some instances, staff coordinates the preparation of technical reports (traffic, noise, biological resources, etc.) or more complex environmental documents by consultant.

Planning Commission Public Hearing for the City's Housing Element Update Scheduled for December 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.!

The Housing Element is a long-range plan that identifies City needs, goals and policies related to housing. The Housing Element and Initial Study (a study evaluating the environmental effects of the Housing Element) are available online and will be considered for approval at a City Planning Commission public hearing on December 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Orange City Council Chambers (300 East Chapman Avenue). To submit comments or to be added to the project notification list,
please contact Jennifer Le, Senior Planner with the City of Orange at jle@cityoforange.org or at (714) 744-7238.

The Housing Element is a chapter in the City’s General Plan that establishes long-range housing policy. The current Housing Element was approved in April 2010. State law requires the City's Housing Element to be updated (covering the period between 2014 and 2021) by early 2014. Updating the Housing Element is important not only to comply with State law, but also to ensure that City housing policy reflects the community's changing needs. In turn, it provides appropriate policy guidance for City decision-makers approving housing programs and projects.

The Housing Element contains a Needs Assessment, a Resources and Constraints Analysis, and a Housing Policy Program. The Needs Assessment evaluates population, housing and economic data and identifies local housing issues warranting attention (such as the need for additional housing units, housing overpayment, overcrowding and deferred maintenance). It also evaluates housing needs for “special needs groups” such as the elderly, large families, persons with disabilities and homeless persons. The Resources and Constraints Analysis provides an inventory of land throughout the City available for housing development. It also discusses constraints to housing development and it identifies resources available (financial and otherwise) to assist in improving housing conditions. The Housing Element's Policy Action Plan identifies City policies and specific actions that the City will take over the next eight years to address identified housing needs.

In January 2013, the City kicked off the Housing Element Update with a Community Information Booth at the Farmers Market at The Village at Orange and the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisan Market. Through our information booths, we were able to "get the word out" about the Housing Element Update, and obtain feedback from our local residents as to their views on community housing needs and opportunities. In addition, on February 27th, 2013, the City held a Stakeholders Meeting with our local housing and services providers to get their feedback on housing needs and opportunities.

In August 2013, the City completed a draft of the Housing Element Update and submitted it to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review, as required by State law. At the same time, the draft Element was posted online for public review. In September 2013, State HCD issued a letter finding the City's Housing Element in compliance with State law. In November 2013, the City completed an Initial Study in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Initial Study evaluates the environmental effects of the Housing Element Update and concludes that project impacts were already evaluated and mitigated in an earlier Environmental Impact Report (the Program EIR prepared for the City's 2010 Comprehensive General Plan Update). Therefore, nothing further is required in order to comply with CEQA. The Housing Element Update and Initial Study are now available online and are ready to move forward to the City Planning Commission for public hearings.

The City's Planning Commission will review and consider the Housing Element and Initial Study at a public hearing held on December 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Orange City Council Chambers (300 East Chapman Avenue in Orange). At the hearing, the Planning Commission will hear the staff report, take public comments, and ultimately make a recommendation to the City Council. Following the Planning Commission hearing, the City Council will hold a public hearing to make the final decision on Housing Element approval. The City Council hearing is expected to be held in January 2014.

If you would like to submit comments or receive notification of future public meetings, please contact Jennifer Le at jle@cityoforange.org or at (714) 744-7238.

Old Towne Neighborhood Rezoning - Phase 2

The zoning change to Single Family Residential (R-1) for the Old Towne Orange General Plan Focus Area (residential quadrants) has been completed.

In March 2010, the City adopted an updated "General Plan," outlining a community vision and a long-range plan to guide future development activities in the City. The 2010 General Plan made changes to the City's land use plan for the residential quadrants of Old Towne, lowering the allowable residential density in most areas. Specifically, certain properties in Old Towne were re-designated from Low Medium Density Residential (6-15 dwelling units per acre) (LDMR) to Low Density Residential (2-6 dwelling units per acre) (LDR). This change was intended to ensure that future development in Old Towne would be single-family residential in nature, consistent with the predominately historic single-family residential neighborhood character that exists today. The change was approved by the City Council in March 2010. In addition to properties that experienced a land use designation change as a result of the 2010 General Plan Update, there are also properties in Old Towne that have had a long-standing LDR General Plan land use designation.
State law requires that a City's General Plan and Zoning designations be consistent. In the case of Orange, the zoning that corresponds to the LDR General Plan designation is Single Family Residential (R-1). Therefore, 2011, the City began a phased effort to rezone Old Towne properties to R-1 that currently have an LDR General Plan land use designation but are zoned something other than R-1.

The first phase of this effort involved the residential quadrants east of Glassell Street. The City Council approved the zoning change for the majority of the southeast quadrant of Old Towne on February 14, 2012. The City Council approved the zoning change to R-1 for the northeast quadrant of Old Towne and for certain properties on South Pine Street and South Harwood Street on May 8, 2012.

For Old Towne properties west of Glassell Street, the Council approved the zoning change to R-1 for Areas A and C on February 12, 2013 and for Area D on March 12, 2013 as shown on the attached maps (see links below). The City Council did not approve the zoning change for Area B. (Note: This means that the existing zoning as shown on the attached Existing Zoning Map remains in place for Area B. Because a property's General Plan designation and zoning must be consistent pursuant to State law, it is anticipated that a General Plan Amendment will be undertaken in the future to remedy Area B's current General Plan-zoning inconsistency.)

The approved zoning for the Old Towne area is now reflected in the City's official zoning maps, available online at:

For additional information about the rezoning, please contact Jennifer Le, Senior Planner, with the Planning Division at (714) 744-7238 or
jle@cityoforange.org. For more information about the 2010 General Plan, please contact Anna Pehoushek, Principal Planner, with the Planning Division at (714) 744-7228 or apehoushek@cityoforange.org.

Existing Zoning Map

Proposed Zoning Map

Long-range Planning Projects in the Works!

                                     The Santa Fe Depot Specific Plan Update and associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are scheduled to begin public hearings with the Planning Commission on May 7, 2012.

The Santa Fe Depot Specific Plan was originally adopted in December 1993 with policies and standards for new development in the area immediately surrounding the Santa Fe Depot/Metrolink station and OCTA bus transfer station. The ultimate goal for the Specific Plan Update is to transform the Depot area into a vibrant transit-oriented district while strengthening its connections to adjacent residential neighborhoods and Old Towne Historic District. Click here to access the public review documents, as well as for a summary of public workshops and more information about the project. Click here for materials related to public hearing notification.

Old Towne Design Standards Update

 The Planning Division is in the process of updating the Old Towne Design Standards (OTDS). The Standards were last updated in 1999. As the City has reviewed Old Towne projects over the past decade, the Planning Division has identified aspects of the Design Standards content that could be enhanced and clarified to make the document more user-friendly for property owners, architects, and City staff. As part of the revised content, the Design Standards will incorporate graphics for purposes of illustrating the design guidance, address the “Grand Street Study,” and other feedback provided by members of the public, and the City’s Design Review Committee. The Planning Division will be conducting public workshops in the coming months to present the revisions to the Design Standards and get feedback from the public. Workshop announcements will be posted on the City website, and mailed to interested parties. For additional information about the Old Towne Design Standards Update, please contact Dan Ryan, Historic Preservation Planner, or Anna Pehoushek, Principal Planner at the Planning Division at (714) 744-7220, dryan@cityoforange.org or apehoushek@cityoforange.org .

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