Kamp, 081083 CAAGO, AGO 83-310

Docket Nº:AGO 83-310
Case Date:August 10, 1983
JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
JOHN T. MURPHY Deputy Attorney General
AGO 83-310
No. 83-310
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
August 10, 1983
         THE HONORABLE H. PETER KLEIN, COUNTY COUNSEL, MENDOCINO COUNTY, has requested an opinion on the following questions:          1. May a general law county's general plan be amended by the initiative process?          2. How many changes may be made in a general law county's general plan each time it is amended pursuant to Government Code section 65361?          CONCLUSIONS          1. A general law county's general plan may be amended by the initiative process, but such amendment must comply with the substantive requirements for a general plan.          2. There is no limitation on the number of changes which may be made in a mandatory element in a general law county's general plan each time that mandatory element is amended, but under Government Code section 65361 no mandatory element of the plan may be amended more frequently than three times during any calendar year.          ANALYSIS          The Board of Supervisors of each county is required to adopt "a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the county. . . ." (Gov. Code, § 65300.)1 Generally, the county's planning agency is charged with the responsibility of preparing and maintaining such plan and of submitting its recommendations thereon to the Board of Supervisors.[2] (§§ 65100-65102 and 65300.) The plan must contain certain mandatory elements (land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open-space, seismic safety, noise, scenic highway and safety) and may also include other elements. (§§ 65302 and 65303.) County zoning ordinances must be consistent with the general plan. (§ 65860.)          The adoption or amendment of a general plan is a legislative act. Section 65301.5 so states: "The adoption of the general plan or any part or element thereof or the adoption of any amendment to such plan or any part or element thereof is a legislative act which shall be reviewable pursuant to Section 1085 of the Code of Civil Procedure [writ of mandate]." (See Arnel Development Co. v. City of Costa Mesa (1980) 28 Cal.3d 511, 516; Karlson v. City of Camarillo (1980) 100 Cal.App.3d 789, 799.)          The California Constitution, in article 2, section 11, states in part that the "[i]nitiative and referendum powers may be exercised by the electors of each city or county under procedures that the Legislature shall provide." The initiative process, as set down in sections 3700-3720 of the Elections Code, permits county voters to enact legislation independently of the Board of Supervisors.          The exercise of the initiative power is limited to matters which are legislative; administrative acts are not subject to...

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