The General Plan serves as the blueprint for the community's future growth and development. It addresses issues of importance to the community, sets forth policies for conservation and development, and outlines specific programs or actions for implementing these policies. The general plan must address certain issues, which are directly related to and influence land use decisions. In California, a general plan must address seven issue areas, known as "elements," which need to be consistent with each other. The seven required elements are Land use, Transportation, Open Space, Conservation, Housing, Noise, and Safety. As well as the seven required elements, San Rafael General Plan 2020 adopted in 2004 has eight additional elements: Air and Water Quality, Community Design, Culture and the Arts, Economic Vitality, Governance, Infrastructure, Neighborhoods, and Parks and Recreation.

Since 2004, there have been some amendments to the General Plan.  All the elements available on this page are the reprinted version to include the text amendments to the General Plan. The amendments to the land use map have not yet been incorporated into the land use map and will be done over the next year and reprinted.

The State of California Department of Housing and Community Development certified the City's Housing Element in letter dated November 4, 2011.

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