This section of the website provides information on frequently asked questions (FAQ). During the project, this page will be updated to answer common questions that arise.
Kern County currently has two separate general plans that cover the unincorporated areas within Kern County: The Kern County General Plan and the Metropolitan Bakersfield General Plan.
Click here to download the either of the County’s existing General Plan.
Since the time of adoption, the California legislature has enacted several regulations that pertain to the general plan. To assist local governments in preparing general plans and the public in participating in the process, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) periodically revises guidelines for the preparation and content of local general plans per Government Code 65040.2. Many of these actions have already been incorporated into the County’s General Plan through various amendments over the years and or through the processing of proposed projects.
The Governor’s OPR has also done a comprehensive update of the State’s General Plan Guidelines. These guidelines provide direction on meeting the requirements of State law and the content of a current General Plan. Click here to download the OPR Guidelines.
The general plan is made up of a collection of “elements,” or topic categories. The State currently lists nine elements as mandatory: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, safety, environmental justice, and air quality. Communities may include other elements that address issues of local concern, such as economic development, healthy communities, alternative energy, or military compatibility. Jurisdictions can organize their general plan anyway they choose, as long as the required topic categories are addressed. For instance, Kern County is looking to incorporate environmental justice policies throughout the General Plan and not as a stand alone element.
The organization of the Kern 2040 General Plan will be determined as this process moves forward. In addition to the mandatory elements listed above, the County is planning to develop the following optional elements:
The General Plan sets forth long-term policies that guide future development. It identifies the types of development that will be allowed, the spatial relationships among land uses, and the general pattern of future development. The Kern County Zoning Ordinance implements the Kern County General Plan and the Metropolitan Bakersfield General Plan policies through detailed development regulations, such as specific use types and building standards. State law requires that zoning be consistent with land use diagrams (maps) and policies in the adopted General Plans. Development must not only meet the specific requirements of the Zoning Regulations, but also the broader policies set forth in the General Plan. The adopted general plan provides the foundation for the zoning ordinance and the two documents must be consistent.
The County has hired a consulting team of experienced planners, engineers, and technical specialists. This team will be assisting the County’s Planning Department in this phase of the General Plan update.
If you have questions concerning the General Plan or update process, please contact County Planning staff, as the consultants will direct you to the County for information.