Land Use Regulations

The City’s regulation of land is governed by two tiers of requirements – policy documents like the General Plan and regulations such as the Zoning Code.  The following describes their relationship and provides links to the relevant documents.

In This Section

  • General Plan
  • Specific Plans
  • Zoning and Special Planning Areas
  • Other Resources (Design Guidelines, Climate Action Plan)

The General Plan

The General Plan is a broad framework for planning the future of the City of Elk Grove. It is the official policy statement of the City Council to guide the private and public development of the City in a manner to gain the maximum social and economic benefit to the citizens. All other City codes and standards, including Specific Plans and Development Code, must be consistent with the General Plan.

Under State law, City ordinances regulating land use must be consistent with the General Plan. The Zoning Code, Specific Plans, and individual project plan proposals must be consistent with the goals, policies, and standards contained in the General Plan. In addition, all capital improvements and public works projects must be consistent with the General Plan.

The General Plan also includes, as relevant, Community Plans for specific areas where more detailed policies than are available in the General Plan are necessary for successful development

The General Plan, including the Community Plan(s), is available online.

An interactive General Plan Land Use Map is also available online.


Specific Plans

A specific plan implements the general plan by providing a link between implementing policies of the general plan and the individual development proposals in a defined area. A specific plan may be as general as setting forth broad policy concepts, or as detailed as providing direction to every facet of development from the type, location and intensity of uses to the design and capacity of infrastructure; from the resources used to finance public improvements to the design guidelines of a subdivision.

In areas covered by a specific plan, the specific plan may include development standards that supersede or supplement the Zoning Code standards. The Zoning Code (and corresponding Zoning Map) designates parcels to certain Specific Plan areas, and then the regulations of each Specific Plan govern all parcels that fall under that Specific Plan designation. Hence, parcels in a Specific Plan may not have to abide by both Zoning Code and Specific Plan standards; rather, the Specific Plan may fulfill the requirements of the Zoning Code and provide all relevant standards that must be considered (unless the Specific Plan says otherwise).


Specific Plans in the City of Elk Grove


The Zoning Code and Special Planning Areas

The Zoning Code (Title 23 of the City’s Municipal Code) is the primary implementation tool of the General Plan. It translates General Plan policies into action by dividing the City into zoning districts and applying specific development standards to each district. Other development standards established by the Zoning Code include allowed land uses, height limits, setbacks, and the performance requirements (e.g., landscaping, parking) for each district.

In addition to the standard Base Zoning Districts (e.g., Agricultural, Residential, Commercial, Office, Industrial), the Zoning Code also establishes special purpose zoning districts, called Special Planning Areas, or SPAs. The purpose of SPAs is to designate areas for unique and imaginative planning standards and regulations not provided through the application of standard zoning districts.


Online Materials:

The established Special Planning Areas, adopted as part of the Zoning Code, are as follows:

Special Planning Areas


Other Resources

Other relevant land use development resources include the following.  Follow the links for more information.

  • Design Guidelines - The City of Elk Grove Design Guidelines implement the goals and policies of the General Plan and expand the basic development standards of the Zoning Code. Specifically, the guidelines implement the General Plan land use policies and strategies relative to urban design, pedestrian circulation, community and neighborhood identity, and residential, commercial, and industrial project design.
  • Climate Action Plan – The Climate Action Plan, or CAP, is a strategic planning document that identifies sources of GHG emissions from sources within Elk Grove’s boundary and reduces emissions through energy use, transportation, land use, water use, and solid waste strategies (referred to as “measures” in the CAP).  The City’s primary motivation for preparing the CAP is to enable new development projects consistent with the CAP and General Plan to tier from the CAP’s environmental review process and minimize subsequent project-level analysis.  To provide this benefit to new development, implementation of the CAP on a project-by-project basis should achieve a 15 percent reduction below 2005 GHG emissions levels by 2020.

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