What is a Specific Plan and how does it relate to the General Plan?
A specific plan is a tool for the systematic implementation of the general plan. It is a stand-alone document, separate from the general plan, and can be adopted by resolution or as an ordinance. As required in Sections 65450 – 65457 of the Government Code, a specific plan must be consistent with the adopted general plan of the jurisdiction in which it is located. In turn, all subsequent development and public works projects and zoning regulations must be consistent with the specific plan.
What is required to be included in the Belmont Village Specific Plan?
There are a number of statutory requirements that must be included in all specific plans, including the Belmont Village Specific Plan:  

  1. The distribution, location, and extent of the land uses (including open space) in the Plan Area;
  2. The proposed distribution, location, and extent and intensity of major components of public and private transportation, sewage, water, drainage, solid waste disposal, energy, and other essential facilities proposed to be located within the Plan Area and needed to support the land uses described in the plan;
  3. Standards and criteria by which development will proceed, and standards for the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources, where applicable;
  4. A program of implementation measures including regulations, programs, public works projects, and financing measures necessary to carry out items (1), (2), and (3); and
  5. A statement of the relationship of the specific plan to the general plan.

What else will be included in the Belmont Village Specific Plan?
In addition to the required components listed above, a specific plan can address a range of other issues. The Belmont Village Specific Plan will also include sections on the context and vision for the Village, community facilities, and an affordable housing strategy.
What geographic area will the Belmont Village Specific Plan cover?
The Specific Plan will cover approximately 80 acres surrounding the Caltrain Station at the intersection of El Camino Real and Ralston Avenue. As shown on the map below, the Plan Area is generally bounded by Wessex Way, Hiller Street, and the city limits on the east, and Sixth Avenue from Broadway to Hill Street and Middle Road on the west.


What is a “Priority Development Area,” or PDA?
A PDA is an area within an existing community that has been identified for future growth because of its proximity to transit, jobs, shopping, and other services. Local city governments, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) designated PDAs across the region as part of the Bay Area’s state-mandated 2013 Sustainable Communities Strategy (also known as Plan Bay Area). The Belmont Village area has been designated as a PDA for the City of Belmont because of its potential to support new housing and employment near transit.

Why is the Belmont Village Specific Plan being prepared now?
Residents in the Belmont community have confirmed their vision for the Village as a vibrant, mixed use town center through the General Plan Update process and through the city’s 2003 visioning process. The land uses and regulations for the Village area date back to 1990, when the first Downtown Specific Plan was adopted, and an updated plan is needed to address the area’s challenges and capitalize on its potential. The Belmont Village Specific Plan is an opportunity to create a road map with policies and implementation strategies to realize the community’s vision for the Village.

As noted earlier, the Village area was recently designated a “Priority Development Area,” or PDA, by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments. This designation qualified the City to receive funding to develop an implementation plan for the area as well as additional grants for specific projects and public improvements consistent with the General Plan. In 2014, the City received a grant from the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) to complete the implementation plan through the creation of the Belmont Village Specific Plan.

What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)?
An environmental impact report is a detailed analysis of the environmental effects of a plan or development project. The EIR identifies alternatives to the proposed project and presents ways to reduce or avoid environmental damage. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a specific plan is considered a project, thus requiring that an EIR be completed in conjunction with the plan. The EIR for the Belmont Village Specific Plan will also cover the General Plan Update. Community members can provide input at two different phases in the EIR process: in response to the Notice of Preparation (NOP), which declares that an EIR is going to be prepared, and to the Draft EIR itself.

How can I get involved?
We are soliciting citizen participation in all phases of Specific Plan development. Please visit the Meetings and Workshops page for details on upcoming events or contact us directly with your thoughts or questions. 

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