In California, the General Plan has often been described as a "blueprint for future growth" or a "constitution for future development" of a community. The General Plan for Modesto is best described as "a set of instructions on how to build a city."
The Housing Element is one of seven state-required parts or "elements" of a city’s general plan. The Housing Element is a policy document that describes how the City will address the housing needs of its residents. It contains housing goals, policies, programs, and resources that will help to develop, maintain and improve housing. Modesto is currently preparing an update to the Housing Element.
An Environmental Document must be prepared for a “project,” as defined by state law, disclosing impacts that are likely to result from the project. In 2008, the City made a series of policy-related amendments to the Urban Area General Plan and updated the Master Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan. The Master Environmental Impact Report describes the various impacts that are likely to occur as the Urban Area General Plan is developed.