General Plan and Specific Plans

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General Plan

All properties and land uses in the City are governed by the City's General Plan. The General Plan describes the long-term goals for the City’s future and guides daily decision-making. The Santa Clara General Plan is a road map to the future that encompasses the hopes, aspirations, values and dreams of the community. The time frame of the Plan is 2010-2035. The Plan contains the City’s official policies on land use and community design, transportation, housing, environmental resources and health and safety. In addition to the policies in the General Plan, different areas of the city have specific plan regulations that are applicable to them.

City of Santa Clara 2010-2035 General Plan

On November 16, 2010, the City Council adopted the 2010-2035 General Plan and certified the Final Environmental Impact Report.  These documents are available on this site in PDF format to review.

On December 3, 2013, the City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan and included it as part of Appendix 8.13 of the General Plan.

On December 9, 2014, the City Council approved an update to the City's Housing Element and related Land Use Policies.  The most current General Plan documents are displayed below and will be updated again when the new updates are fully integrated into the General Plan. 

General Plan

The General Plan document may be accessed as a complete document at the following link: 2010-2035 General Plan (PDF, 45 MB). The document may also be accessed by individual section below:

Final Environmental Impact Report

  • Integrated Final EIR - PDF (21 MB)
  • Housing Element Update Addendum - PDF (12 MB)
  • Appendices - PDF (26 MB)

General Plan Land Use Maps

General Plan Map


Specific Plan

A specific plan is a tool for the systematic implementation of the general plan. It effectively establishes 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.


Focus Area

Focus Areas represent locations with opportunities for more intense development with limited impact on existing neighborhoods.  The City's General Plan has nine Focus Areas, listed below. These include four Focus Areas south of the Caltrain corridor and five Future Focus Areas north of the Caltrain corridor.  Focus Areas require conformance with applicable General Plan policies, including approval of a comprehensive (specific) plan for each Future Focus area, prior to implementation.

The following is a list of focus areas:

Focus Area Specific Plans in Progress

Future Focus Areas (Phase III of General Plan)

Per the General Plan, planning for Phase III Future Focus Areas will begin in 2023.

  • Central Expressway Focus Area
  • De La Cruz Focus Area
  • Great America Parkway Focus Area
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