Figure 3-1
Figure 3-2
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Figure 3-4

Return to Chapter 3


The General Plan Framework is a long range, citywide, comprehensive growth strategy. It is a special element of the general plan which looks to the future as required by law and replaces Concept Los Angeles and the Citywide Plan (adopted in 1974). Because it looks at the city as a whole, the Framework provides a citywide context within which local planning takes place. Both the benefits and challenges of growth are shared.

The Framework sets forth a conceptual relationship between land use and transportation on a citywide basis and defines new land use categories which better describe the character and function of the city as it has evolved over time. the new categories - Neighborhood District, Community Center, Regional Center, Downtown Center and Mixed Use Boulevards - are broadly described (with ranges of intensity / density, heights and lists of typical uses) and generally shown on this long range land use diagram. The definitions reflect a range of land use possibilities found in the city's already diverse urban, suburban and rural land use patterns - patterns which have evolved over time at different rates and in different locations. Their generalized locations reflect a conceptual relationship between land use and transportation.

Because it is citywide, the Framework cannot anticipate every detail. Therefore, the community plans must be looked to for final determinations as to boundaries, land use categories, intensities and heights that fall within the ranges described by the Framework.

The Citywide General Plan Framework Element neither overrides nor supersedes the Community plans. It guides the city's long range growth and development policy, establishing citywide standards, goals, policies and objectives for citywide elements and community plans. The Framework is flexible, suggesting a range of uses within its land use definitions. Precise determinations are made in the Community Plans.



  Neighborhood District
A focal point for surrounding residential neighborhoods and containing a diversity of land uses such as restaurants, retail outlets, grocery stores, child care facilities, small professional offices, community meeting rooms, pharmacies, religious facilities and other similar services. The clustering of uses minimizes automobile trip-making and encourages walking to and from adjacent neighborhoods. Pedestrian-oriented areas are encouraged, and the district may be served by a local shuttle service. Generally, Neighborhood Districts are at a floor area ration of 1.5:1 or less and characterized by 1- or 2- story buildings.
  Community Center
A focal point for surrounding residential neighborhoods and containing a diversity of uses such as small offices and overnight accommodations, cultural and entertainment facilities, schools and libraries, in addition to neighborhood oriented services. Community Centers range from floor area ratios of 1.5:1 to 3.0:1. Generally, the height of different types of Community Centers will also range from 2- to 6-story buildings, e.g., some will be 2-story Centers, some 4- or 6-story Centers depending on the character of the surrounding area. Community Centers are served by small shuttles, local buses in addition to automobiles and/or may be located along rail transit stops.
  Regional Center
A focal point of regional commerce, identity and activity and containing a diversity of uses such as corporate and professional offices, residential, retail commercial malls, government buildings, major health facilities, major entertainment and cultural facilities and supporting services. Generally, different types of Regional Centers will fall within the range of floor area ratios from 1.5:1 to 6.0:1. Some will only be commercially oriented; others will contain a mix of residential and commercial uses. Generally, Regional Centers are characterized by 6- to 20-stories (or higher). Regional Centers are usually major transportation hubs.
  Downtown Center
An international center for finance and trade that serves the population of the five county metropolitan region. Downtown is the largest government center in the region and the location for major cultural and entertainment facilities, hotels, professional offices, corporate headquarters, financial institutions, high-rise residential towers, regional transportation facilities and the Convention Center, The Downtown Center is generally characterized by a floor area ration up to 13:1 and high rise buildings.
  Mixed Use Boulevard
These connect the city's neighborhood districts and community, regional and Downtown centers. Mixed Use development is encouraged along these boulevards, with the scale, density and height of development compatible with the surrounding areas. Generally, different types of Mixed Use Boulevards will fall within a range of floor area rations from 1.5:1 up to 4.0:1 and be generally characterized by 1- to 2-story commercial structures, up to 3- to 6-story mixed use buildings between centers and higher buildings within centers. Mixed Use Boulevards are served by a variety of transportation facilities.
  Special Study Area


Adoption of the Framework neither overrides nor mandates changes to the Community Plans. The Community Plans reflect appropriate levels of development at the time of the Frameworks's adoption. As community plans are updated utilizing future population forecasts and employment goals, the Framework is to be used as a guide - its generalized recommendations to be more precisely determined for the individual needs and opportunities of each community plan area. During that process, nothing suggests that a community plan must be amended to the higher intensities or heights within the ranges described in the Framework. The final determination about what is appropriate locally will be made through the community plans - and that determination may fall anywhere within the ranges described.

As the city evolves over time, it is expected that areas not now recommended as Neighborhood Districts, Community and Regional Centers, and Mixed Use Boulevards may be in the future appropriately so designated; and areas now so designated may not be appropriate. therefore, the Framework long range diagram may be amended to reflect the final determination made through the Community Plan update process should those determinations be different from the adopted Framework.

Examples of the application of Framework Definitions:

1. A Regional Center located in a low- to mid-rise suburban area characterized by large vacant lots may have a lower intensity; while an urban area, where most lots are smaller and built upon at higher intensities may have higher overall intensities. While the uses of these two types of Regional Centers will generally be the same (e.g., large office buildings, major entertainment facilities, extensive retail, including large shopping malls, overnight accommodations, served by major transportation and close to housing), the development characteristics will differ and be determined through the Community Plan process, taking into account the surrounding area.

2. A Community Center in one part of the city may be identified for a low intensity, e.g., floor area ratio of 1.5:1 and a height of 3 stories; while in another part of the City, a Community Center may start with a low intensity, e.g., floor area ratio of 1.5:1, but permit a bonus density (e.g., permit an additional floor area ratio of 0.5:1) and higher building heights whenever new development also includes housing.

These kinds of more precise determinations are made through the Community Plans. The General Plan Framework provides the range within which determinations are made.


The city has a number of adopted specific plans which set detailed development regulations for local areas and include various types of regulatory limitations. Examples of these limitations include "trip caps," Design Review Boards, density / intensity limits, maximum heights, landscape, lot coverage, etc. The General Plan Framework is consistent with and does not supersede nor override these local requirements.


  1. The General Plan Framework is comprised of the generalized Long Range Land Use Diagram, policies and programs. For a comprehensive understanding of the Framework's recommendations, both maps and text should be consulted.
  2. Special Study Area. Future changes in use require approval by appropriate decision makers through appropriate studies and procedures. Changes may result in a community plan amendment, specific plan, development agreement, change of zone; and may include further restrictions, if necessary.
  3. As decisions are made to fund or withdraw funding from transit stations, adjacent land uses will be reevaluated.
  4. Compact areas identified for future growth are known as Districts, Centers and Mixed Use Boulevards. They are also defined by their function within the community, citywide and regional context and take into consideration adjacent property in adjoining cities when appropriate. They offer a range of development potential because some are developed to their maximum, while others are not.