About the Project

Downtown Community Plan RELEASED!

Download the “RELEASE NOTES” for a visual description of the many changes that occurred within the Downtown Community Plan during the Winter 2016 revision process.  These changes take on many forms, which are described in the release notes, but are highlighted here for a quick summary.

New Name

The Downtown Specific Plan has been renamed to the Downtown Community Plan in recognition of the overarching desire to nurture a long-term community within its boundaries, and to make sure that every resident feels welcome in the Downtown.

Revised Format and organization

The process of clarifying and strengthening the Plan’s contents resulted in a total overhaul of the order and structure of the document. Some chapters were merged with other chapters (for example, the previously titled “Arts and Culture” chapter was combined with “Housing and Economic Diversity” to create a new chapter - “Community, Culture and Prosperity” that views housing, jobs, and entertainment and culture as interrelated aspects of life). New chapters were created, and content from various parts of the Plan was deployed to support the reorganization. 

Revised text

All Plan content was reviewed and revised for clarity and concision.  Extraneous text or background information was removed. “Track Changes” versions  of all chapters will be available for review on the Plan’s website.

Action Oriented

As a 20 year Plan, it is important that the Downtown Community Plan not sit on a shelf, but be used effectively by both private and public entities to guide workplans and design efforts.  A substantial effort was undertaken to strengthen goals, policies and actions. Policies and Actions now relate directly to one another, and clear assignments for undertaking actions have been identified.

What is the Downtown Community Plan?

The Downtown Community Plan (DCP) is guided by the 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) vision of a thriving, mixed-use urban environment that provides multiple opportunities for living, working, entertainment and enrichment. The LUCE envisioned an energetic and contemporary downtown for residents, employees and visitors that integrates the light rail and preserves the unique character of the district and its commercial and residential life. The LUCE also called for enhancing downtown through better linkages to some of City's most visible attractions: the Civic Center and the Beachfront. However, the LUCE deferred implementation of the vision and the specific standards to creation of a Downtown Community Plan.

Over the past two years, the DCP process has included over a dozen workshops and public hearings, as well as stakeholder interviews and discussions with various boards to develop an action plan to achieve a community vision for the future of the downtown.

Themes that have developed through this process and are reflected in the Plan vision and actions include:

  1. Prioritize the pedestrian experience - maintaining and enhancing the attractiveness, comfort and safety of walking.
  2. Provide a connected, efficient, and user-friendly circulation network that works for all people whether they are driving, bicycling, taking the train or a bus, and walking. 
  3. Preserve and enhance Downtown's basic urban form of 3-7 story buildings, with diverse architecture that provides access to light and ocean breezes.
  4. Implement the LUCE tiering system that requires projects above a 2-3 story base height to provide community benefits.
  5. Provide opportunity for exceptional community benefits such as parks, museums, new roads, and preservation of landmark buildings at a few key sites.
  6. Integrate the Expo Light Rail into Downtown with circulation connections, wayfinding, inviting spaces, and programs that encourage people to ride transit.  
  7. Address vehicle congestion in the Downtown with flow improvements, wayfinding, and transportation demand management and a comprehensive mobility strategy for all road users.
  8. Provide the framework for maintaining Downtown's economic success through a diverse and sustainable economy and a creative workforce.
  9. Continue to support new housing in the Downtown including connecting residents to workplaces, open space and complete neighborhoods.
  10. Support continuing preservation of the buildings and façade that define the Downtown's historic character.