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General Plan Safety Element Update
The El Dorado County Public Health, Safety, and Noise Element (Safety Element) identifies potential health and safety concerns in the unincorporated areas of El Dorado County and lays out goals and policies to protect the community. As a required element of the General Plan, the Safety Element provides a long-term framework on how El Dorado County will grow and keep communities and their assets safe through hazard identification, goals and policies, and implementation programs focused on hazard risk reduction and avoidance.
The Safety Element was adopted in July 2004 and last amended in August 2019.
According to the State of California General Plan Guidelines, the goal of the Safety Element is "to reduce the potential short and long-term risk of death, injuries, property damage, and economic and social dislocation resulting from fires, floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides, climate change, and other hazards." Safety Elements contain hazard profiles and mapping that identify fire hazard severity zones (FHSZs), floodplains, and fault zones that help the County decide where to direct development and how to protect the community in the event there is a hazard-related emergency, such as a wildfire or flood.
California Government Code §65302(g) requires that Safety Elements contain hazard information, mapping, and goals and policies to protect communities from seismically induced surface rupture, ground shaking, and ground failure; tsunami, seiche, and dam failure; slope instability leading to mudslides and landslides; subsidence; liquefaction; other seismic hazards; flooding; wildland and urban fires; and climate change. Safety Elements must also include flexible strategies to adapt to climate change and consider evacuation route planning, peak load water supply, and military installations.
State law requires that jurisdictions regularly update the Safety Element upon revision of the Housing Element, which El Dorado County updated on August 31, 2021. Recent changes to State law require that cities and counties review their Safety Elements when their Housing Elements or their Local Hazard Mitigation Plans (LHMPs) are updated, at least once every eight years, and make updates to include new information and to comply with statutory changes outlined in California Government Code §65302(g) as updated by Senate Bills (SB) 1241, 379, and 1035. The update will address fire risk in state responsibility areas (SRAs) and land classified as very high FHSZs in SRAs (defined in §51177; SB 1241). The County will also ensure the Safety Element addresses climate change hazards, includes a climate vulnerability assessment (CVA), and incorporates climate adaptation and resiliency strategies (SB 379) that complement the LHMP (Assembly Bill [AB] 2140). This recent legislation is illustrated below.
The current Safety Element does not address all these recent statutory requirements. Therefore, the County plans to modernize the Safety Element and bring it into compliance with State law.
A CVA identifies the risks that climate change poses to the County and the geographic areas at risk from climate change impacts following the guidance found within SB 379 (described above) and other relevant vulnerability assessment tools and guides. The CVA will identify how the County is vulnerable to wildfire, flooding, landslides, increased and earlier water runoff, reduced snowpack levels, and other relevant climate-related hazards. The CVA will also help inform the development of new and revised goals and policies in the Safety Element that respond to these climate changes consistent with the requirements in Government Code §65302(g)(4).
The Safety Element functions as an intermediary between the General Plan and the LHMP. It must be consistent with other General Plan elements and with the LHMP, given the LHMP provides a comprehensive analysis of natural and human-caused hazards and vulnerability of the population and critical assets in the County and focuses on the development of a range of mitigation projects to reduce risk. The LHMP also keeps the County eligible to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hazard mitigation assistance grant funding. The difference between the two planning documents is the LHMP provides more detail and technical information about specific hazards that are linked to mitigation actions, whereas policies in the Safety Element are often broader and longer-term strategies than those in a LHMP. The County is also legally required by the State to have a Safety Element in its General Plan, whereas the other plans are separate documents that have information and policies that supplement the Safety Element but are not required by the State.
The tentative project schedule is outlined below, including approximate dates for future planning events and the availability of key documents. The project schedule will be updated as new information becomes available.
Existing Public Health, Safety and Noise Element (https://www.edcgov.us/Government/planning/pages/adopted_general_plan.aspx)
2021 Housing Element Update (https://www.edcgov.us/Government/longrangeplanning/LandUse/Pages/General-Plan-Housing-Element---2021.aspx)
2018 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (https://www.edcgov.us/Government/sheriff/Documents/ElDoradoCounty_LHMP.pdf)
2015 Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) (http://www.tahoelivingwithfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/LakeTahoeBasinCommunityWildfireProtectionPlan_ReducedQuality.pdf)
El Dorado County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (https://www.edcfiresafe.org/cwpp/cwpp/)
2020 Integrated Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change in the Lake Tahoe Basin (https://tahoe.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/257/2020/04/Integrated-Vulnerability-Assessment-of-Climate-Change-in-the-Lake-Tahoe-Basin_2020.pdf)
Cal-Adapt Tool (https://cal-adapt.org/)
Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP) (https://opr.ca.gov/planning/icarp/)
California Adaptation Planning Guide (https://resilientca.org/apg/)
General Plan Guidelines and Technical Advisories (https://opr.ca.gov/planning/general-plan/guidelines.html)
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Any additional information or public notices will be posted here as needed.
Previous Public Workshops:
May 9, 2023 Public Workshop
March 9, 2023 Public Workshop: