California State law requires that each city adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the area under its jurisdiction. This general plan must include seven elements that together compose an integrated set of goals, policies, and action programs. These seven required elements are land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, safety, and noise. In addition, a city may adopt optional elements that relate to the physical development of the community.
The renowned scenic environment of Monterey and the Peninsula stems from its two dominant features: the coastline and the central ridge of wooded hills. The preservation of these two features is essential to maintain the scenic character of the Peninsula. Goals and policies focus on preserving and enhancing Monterey’s aesthetic environment, and were developed around two central concepts: Monterey’s special physical setting and its image as a town.
Monterey’s image is that of a small-scale residential community beside the bay, framed by a forested hill backdrop and drawing its charm from a rich historical background, certain commercial enterprises, and natural scenic beauty.