Long-Range Planning Initiatives
Updates to General Plan, Zoning, Design Guidelines, Ordinances, etc.


2023-2031 Housing Element

The City is working on a Housing Feasibility Study which will inform the 2023-2031 6th Cycle Housing Element Update. Public meetings will be held in the Fall/Winter of 2022 and throughout 2023.

2015-2023 Housing Element 
2021 Housing Element Annual Progress Report
AMBAG Final 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan 2023-2031
11.17.22 Housing Ad Hoc Committee Meeting Presentation Slides and Recording
DRAFT Glossary of Terms

Design Guidelines and Zoning Code Update

In January 2018, the City Council authorized staff to initiate a comprehensive update to the City’s Residential and Commercial Zoning Code and Design Guidelines.  The Planning Commission Chair appointed a subcommittee and workshops were held in 2018 and 2019. Work on the project was paused during the pandemic but Nore’ Winter and Company were contracted in 2022 and the ‘Design Guidelines 1.5′ effort recommenced.  Potential amendments to the design guidelines and the zoning code are based on the experiences and issues that the Community Planning and Building Department and Planning Commission have encountered in reviewing Design Study and Design Review applications for residential and commercial projects, respectively. Areas of study will include business land use regulations, development regulations such as parking standards and housing density, and potential for a downtown specific plan to address the Downtown Conservation District, as well as the City’s cap on hotel units.  This project will likely involve an update to the City’s General Plan – Land Use Element. 

Relevant documents and recordings can be found below.  

Click here to watch the April 24, 2018 Planning Commission Meeting

City Council Staff Report and Attachments (11/4/19)

Click here to watch 11/4/19 City Council Meeting Presentation

Planning Commission Staff Report and Attachments (08/21/19)

Workshop (06/27/19)

Workshop (12/18/18)  

5/3/22 City Council Meeting Presentation and Staff Report

Workshop (7/21/22 and 7/22/22,  Advance Questions and Project Summary)

Workshop (10/03/2022, Recording and Project Summary)

Historic Context Statement Update

The City’s Historic Context Statement (HCS) is an important tool in evaluating which properties potentially qualify for the City’s Historic Inventory. The HCS was last updated in 2008.  The City received a $30,000 grant from the California Office of Historic Preservation to assist with updating the HCS to cover a twenty-year period (1968 to 1986).  The updated Historic Context Statement and all relevant materials and drafts can be found below.

Historic Context Statement Final Draft (Tracked Changes) - approved by City Council 12/06/2022
Historic Context Statement Final Draft (Clean) - approved by City Council 12/06/2022


Beach Fire Pilot Program

Components of the City’s Local Coastal Program (LCP), including Title 17 of the Zoning Code and the Coastal Access and Recreation Element, authorize an unlimited number of (wood-fueled) fires on Carmel Beach between 10th Avenue and Martin Way. The Beach Fire Management Pilot Program was adopted by the City Council in June 2016, in response to growing concerns regarding fires on Carmel Beach and associated air quality, aesthetic and public safety impacts.  The Pilot Program expired on September 15, 2021.  The City is in the process of preparing a Local Coastal Program Amendment to make permanent changes to the beach fire rules, which will be informed by the Pilot Program.

Beach Fire Pilot Program

City Council Staff Report – Pilot Program Review (05/07/19)

City Council Staff Report and Attachment – Program Extension (07/03/18)

Climate Action and Adaptation Plans

In June 2019, the City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2019/20 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which included the Climate Change and Resilience Plan (Plan). The description of the project was to “ascertain impacts of climate change” and “identify and prioritize specific measures to minimize adverse impacts from climate change.”  In August 2019, the City Council opted to have a committee composed of two Council members, two staff members, and up to four members of the public to develop the City’s Plan. Council appointed two Council Members, Mr. Jeff Baron and Ms. Carrie Theis, to lead the committee. Two staff members, Mr. Evan Kort, Associate Planner, and Ms. Agnes Martelet, Environmental Compliance Manager, were appointed to the working group by the City Administrator.  The committee’s mission statement was identified as follows: We will assess the threats and challenges of climate change as they relate to our community by seeking input from experts and local constituents. We will use these inputs to develop actionable plans to mitigate those threats and educate the community.

Workshops were held on a regular basis to discuss the project. All meetings can be viewed here. Final drafts of the Climate Action and Climate Adaptation Plans were adopted by the City Council in July 2022. 

Climate Action Plan 
Climate Adaptation Plan 


Wireless Ordinance

Federal and State laws are increasingly limiting local land-use discretion over wireless communications facilities. Under the Telecommunications Act, local governments retain their authority to regulate wireless facilities as long as the regulations: 1) Do not prohibit or “effectively prohibit” wireless communications facilities; 2) Do not unreasonably discriminate between communications service providers; or, 3) Do not regulate based on potential environmental impacts associated with radio frequency (RF) emissions.  The City is updating its Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance to ensure that it is compliant with Federal and State Laws, while protecting community character.  Work on this update is ongoing in 2022.

The workshop for this topic was postponed due to considering community feedback. Stay tuned for further information regarding the new workshop date.

ORDINANCE - CH 17.45 - Private Property Facilities (DRAFT ONLY)
ORDINANCE - CH 17.46 - Right-of-Way Facilities (DRAFT ONLY)
ORDINANCE - CH 17.47 - Existing Facility Requests (DRAFT ONLY)

Cover Page for Wireless Applications (DRAFT ONLY)
Emergency Generator Application Checklist (DRAFT ONLY)
Existing Facility Application Checklist (DRAFT ONLY)
Macro Facility Application Checklist (DRAFT ONLY)
Small Facility Application Checklist (DRAFT ONLY)

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance