Hanford General Plan Update
Due in large part to the success of QK’s APA award-winning Hanford Downtown East Precise Plan and our team’s experience with the preparation of policy documents, the team of QK and Zumwalt-Hansen & Associates was selected to prepare a comprehensive General Plan (GP), Zoning Ordinance (ZO) and subdivision ordinance update, as well as the supporting environmental review/reports for the City of Hanford.
The purpose of a General Plan Update is to serve the City for the next 20 years, comply with state, local, and federal regulations, and provide the community with a vision for the City’s future, as well as guidelines for the way land will be developed and used. QK led the public outreach efforts and guided the discussion with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and led several key discussions about the Citizens’ wants and needs for the GP. Those discussions led to actual policies in the GP.
Four important and distinctive features included:
- Goals, objectives, policies, and programs for elements in land use and community design; transportation and circulation; open space, conservation, and recreation; health and safety; public facilities and services and environmental justice;
- An extensive public engagement/outreach program including a city-wide bus tour and 14 meetings with the 20-person Citizen’s Advisory Committee;
- Preparation of a program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR);
- A ZO update that reflected the City’s desire for a “Red Carpet, not Red Tape” approach.
Development of the GP and the ZO coincided with the construction phases for the California High-Speed Rail, recent State laws like Senate Bill 375, California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act and regional planning efforts like the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint. The GP and the ZO reflect the new State laws as well as changes in housing preferences. The EIR was certified, and the General Plan and ZO were adopted by the City Council in April 2017.
As an extension of the GP/ZO update process, QK concurrently prepared the Infrastructure Master Plans for sanitary sewer, potable water, and storm drainage. By including these Master Plans into the scope of the overall project, infrastructure planning occurred simultaneously with the GP update process. This proactive strategy eliminated a problem that too often plagues cities; a GP update identifies areas for development, and then later it’s discovered that the City cannot efficiently provide services.
Throughout the project, QK also provided grant writing support in coordination with components of the GP. The grant writing team was successful in procuring nearly a quarter-million dollars of funding early in the process that helped reduce the need for using general funds to finance the GP update.