The Development Services Department of the City of Bakersfield is in the process of applying to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a grant authorized underneath the Local Early Action Planning Grants (LEAP) provisions pursuant to Health and Safety Code Sections 50515 through 50515.05. LEAP provides funding to jurisdictions for the preparation and adoption of planning documents, process improvements that accelerate housing production, and facilitate compliance in implementing the sixth cycle of the regional housing need assessment.
The City of Bakersfield is seeking $750,000 in LEAP funding to assist in the update of the General Plan. The preparation and adoption of General Plan will define the land use decisions and community vision for the next 20 to 30 years. The General Plan shapes the City's policies and programs related to land use, including housing, and will be the framework through which the City makes Zoning Map and text changes. It is only with an updated Housing Element and a cohesive General Plan that prioritizes housing development that the City will be able to update its Zoning Code and Maps and support other programs to accelerate housing production.
In addition, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared to analyze the associated General Plan and Zoning Code/Map Amendments will be very important to the streamlining of any environmental impacts related to future housing. Projects that implement the General Plan would be able to tier off of this EIR, which may reduce or eliminate the need for additional environmental review. In addition, the EIR will analyze and disclose infrastructure deficiencies related to designating more land within the City for residential land use. The General Plan Update will also include preparation of a Climate Action Plan and planning for Climate Change Resiliency (e.g. flooding and fires). These efforts are is intended to further accelerate housing production through streamlined environmental review, while protecting environmentally sensitive areas.
A resolution of the City Council authorizing application for and receipt of local government planning support grant program funds is a required element of the application for these important grant funds. The required resolution is an exhibit to and accompanies this report.