2022 General Plan Safety Element Update

Board of Supervisors Approved Final Safety Element Update

The Board of Supervisors approved the General Plan amendment (GPA24-0002) of the Safety Element Update on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Below are links to the relevant documents.

Final Safety Element Update

This webpage provides the most current information on the Safety Element update process. It will provide you with background information, documents, resources, and provide feedback on the Safety Element. Sign up to receive Safety Element updates.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact:

Thea Graybill
Senior Planner, Long Range Planning
County of El Dorado Planning and Building Department
(530) 573-7908

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Safety Element?

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.

When did the County last adopt and/or amend the Safety Element?

The Safety Element was adopted in July 2004 and last amended in August 2019.

What are the goals of the Safety Element?

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.

What issues are addressed in the Safety Element?

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.

The current General Plan Health, Safety and Noise Element covers the following hazards:

  • Acceptable Noise Levels
  • Air Quality Maintenance
  • Avalanche
  • Aviation-Related Hazards
  • Dam Incidents
  • Fire Hazards
  • Flooding
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Highway Safety
  • Landslide and Rock Fall
  • Seismic and Geologic Hazards
  • Public Health

Why is El Dorado County updating the Safety Element?

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 2140). This recent legislation is detailed below.

SB 379: Requires the inclusion of a CVA and integration of adaptation strategies in the Safety Element and encourages a climate change discussion in the LHMP. A CVA must be completed if the current LHMP does not meet the requirements of Government Code §65302(g)(4) (2015).

SB 1035: SB 1035 addresses climate adaptation strategies in Safety Element and requires an update of climate data at least every 8 years (2018).

AB 747 and SB 99: Requires a Safety Element to identify evacuation routes and evaluate their capacity, safety, and viability under a range of emergency scenarios. Requirements are in Government Code §65302.15 related to land use (2019). SB 99 requires a Safety Element to identify residential developments in hazard areas that do not have at least two emergency evacuation routes (2019).

SB 1241: Requires a Safety Element to address wildfire risks in SRAs and very high FHSZs pursuant to Government Code §65302(g)(3), develop policies to mitigate wildfire risk, and include review by the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (2012).

SB 1000: Requires inclusion of environmental justice and equity goals and policies in the Safety Element – "Climate Equity". It includes the identification of Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) and policies to reduce unique health risks, promote public engagement, and prioritize improvements that address the needs of DACs pursuant to Government Code §65040.12(e) (2016).

AB 2140: Links LHMPs and Safety Elements by encouraging the incorporation by reference of LHMPs into Safety Elements and by tying State funding eligibility to the adoption of LHMPs into the Safety Element (2006).

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.

What is a Climate Vulnerability Assessment?

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).

How is the Safety Element related to a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)?

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.

Project Timeline

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.

Next Steps Estimated Dates
Project initiation Spring 2022
Public and Stakeholder outreach and workshops Fall 2022 -Winter/Spring 2023
Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Workshops Winter/Spring 2023
Prepare Draft Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) Report Winter/Spring 2023
Prepare Final CVA Report Spring 2023
Prepare Draft Safety Element Spring/Summer 2023
Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Workshop(s) Fall 2023
Accept public comments on Public Draft Winter 2023/2024
Prepare Final Draft Safety Element Winter 2024
CA Board of Forestry and Fire Protection review Spring 2024
California Geological Survey review Spring 2024
Prepare Final Safety Element Spring/Summer 2024
Final Planning Commission Hearing Spring 2024   May 9, 2024
Final Board of Supervisors Adoption Hearing Spring 2024   May 21, 2024

Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Meetings

    Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 2:00 pm – Safety Element Update Board of Supervisors Hearing

    Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 8:30 am - Safety Element Update Hearing

    Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 1:00 pm - Joint Informational Workshop

    Additional Project Information

    Any additional information or public notices will be posted here as needed.