General Plan
Goals and Policies for Zoning Codes


The General Plan is a comprehensive statement of the planning goals and policies for the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea and its surrounding Sphere of Influence. The Carmel General Plan includes the following elements: 

  • Land Use & Community Character Element
  • Circulation Element
  • Housing Element
  • Coastal Access & Recreation Element
  • Coastal Resource Management Element
  • Public Facilities & Services Element
  • Open Space, Conservation & Scenic Highways Element
  • Environmental Safety Element and Noise Element. 

The Carmel General Plan has been combined with the Local Coastal Program (LCP) to ensure coordination of these two policy documents. The LCP sets forth goals, objectives, and policies that govern the use of land and water in Carmel-by-the-Sea consistent with the California Coastal Act of 1976. The LCP includes the following General Plan elements: Land Use & Community Character Element, Circulation Element, Coastal Access & Recreation Element, and Coastal Resource Management Element. 

General Plan Introduction Purpose & Organization

General Plan Introduction & Purpose

Land Use & Community Character Element

The Land Use & Community Character Element discusses existing land uses, analyzes existing and potential conflicts between land uses and offers recommendations in the form of policy statements concerning specific issues unique to Carmel. The preservation of the residential character in Carmel is central to all land use issues that are addressed in this Element. Adopted 2003
Land Use and Community Character Element

Circulation Element

The Circulation Element provides goals, objectives and policies that will help to control traffic volume and reduce traffic congestion in Carmel. Adopted 2009
Circulation Element

Housing Element

The Housing Element is designed to identify adequate sites for a range of housing types, assist in the development of adequate and affordable housing, address constraints to meeting the City’s housing needs, conserve and improve the condition of existing housing, and promote housing opportunities for all persons. Adopted 2015.
Housing Element

Coastal Access & Recreation Element

The Coastal Access & Recreation Element outlines the City’s goals, policies and objectives related to providing and protecting coastal access to and along Carmel Beach and the types of uses and recreation that are appropriate. Adopted 2003
Coastal Access and Recreation Element

Coastal Resource Management Element

The Coastal Resource Management Element includes policies for protection of the City’s coastal environmental resources including the character of its forest, beach and bluffs, water quality and Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHAs). Adopted 2003
Coastal Resource Management Element

Public Facilities & Services Element

The Public Facilities & Services Element addresses those components of community life important to the education, culture, recreation and social well-being of the residents of Carmel-by-the-Sea and its Sphere of Influence. The focus of the Element is on the physical facilities present within the City as well as services provided by these facilities to the residents. Adopted 2009
Public Facilities and Services Element

Open Space & Conservation Element

The Open Space & Conservation Element describes comprehensive goals and policies for the long-range management and preservation of the open-space land. Issues considered in this Element include agriculture, natural resources, recreation, and enjoyment of publicly owned natural areas in addition to the management, conservation, development and utilization of natural resources. Adopted 2009
Open Space/Conservation

Environmental Safety Element

The Environmental Safety Element focuses on reducing human injury, loss of life, property damage, and the economic and social dislocation caused by natural and human-made hazards. The policies included in this Element are intended to provide a framework to address natural and human induced hazards through prevention and emergency response. Adopted 2009
Environmental Safety Element

Noise Element

The Noise Element forms the basis for the City’s efforts in community noise control. Adopted 2009
Noise Element

General Plan Appendices

Appendix A: Community Conducted Questionnaire and Results
Appendix B: Environmental Safety Technical Appendix
Appendix C: EIR
Appendix D: Expanded Initial Study/EIR Addendum
Appendix E: California Coastal Act Policies
Appendix F: Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area Study
Appendix G: Forest Management Plan
Appendix H: Mission Trail Nature Preserve Master Plan
Appendix I: Historic Context Statement
Appendix J: Del Mar Master Plan