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Salinas General Plan Economic Development Element



Sustainable prosperity, based on our natural strengths and future opportunities to ensure a healthy and safe community

That’s the initial goal of Salinas’ new economic development strategy, currently being designed by the City, a team of expert advisers, and all in Salinas who want to help build our shared future.

Salinas saw its first wave of prosperity in the “Green Gold Rush” of the 20th Century. It was a product of incredibly fertile land, an ideal growing climate, and technical innovations such irrigation, refrigeration and crop breeding.
And the hard work of generations of Salinans, who came from across the country and around the world.
Now we come to the second wave, one that we think could be bigger, broader and deeper.

Salinas still has fertile land, the climate and the human spirit that first made it grow.

But we have new challenges and new opportunities.

One example: Agricultural technology — “AgTech” — may deliver greater-than-ever productivity, more and better jobs, and improved harmony with the environment.

That’s an opportunity. The challenge is to recognize it, and to act on it effectively and timely.

This is where you come in. You’re invited to take part in the design and discussion of the Economic Development Element of the City’s General Plan. It will amount to our roadmap for the future prosperity of Salinas.

Read on to learn the details of the design process, and to see a visual timeline that puts it all in context. Find out about the good work that’s already been done, and that’s yet to come.

And, if you’d like to, join in. Please see the contact information below. 


The proposed City of Salinas General Plan Economic Development Element (Element) is an economic development strategy to achieve a vision of a united and sustained economic prosperity for Salinas. The strategy will identify policies, goals and objectives necessary to guide future public sector and private sector actions, and will contain a  vision map, and list of recommended actions to ensure the vision becomes a reality. The Element is also a tool to better  understand and define the baseline economic conditions and identify opportunities for cultivating a more prosperous and  healthy Salinas. 
This project is a fundamental first step to promote the diversification of the local economy including technology-based businesses. When implemented, the Element provides a concerted effort on the part of the City government and community to influence the direction of public and private sector investment in support of sustained economic growth. 
The Element is being prepared in advance of a future City General Plan Update, and is subject to environmental review, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, public participation, City and regulatory approval processes.


The proposed Economic Development Element encompasses lands of the City of Salinas within city limits, within the City’s sphere of influence and surrounding areas of potential future investment.


Spring 2013 - Spring 2014: see estimated timeline below.

City of Salinas General Plan  Economic Development Element TIMELINE

to view a larger version click here


City leadership is seeking to prioritize the City’s policy platform via the development of an Economic Development Element. At their annual planning session on February 20, 2013, the Salinas City Council identified this project as a key City priority along with other priority economic development projects such as Alisal Marketplace, Steinbeck Innovation Cluster, connecting with the Silicon Valley to Salinas via rail, Chinatown and the Downtown Revitalization Study. Sustained economic growth can provide sufficient incomes for the local labor force, profitable business opportunities for employers and tax revenues for maintaining an infrastructure while enhancing services and improving safety to support this continued growth.
The City has lost investment opportunities due to the lack of available facilities, has identified infrastructure deficits and other policy, resource and operational constraints. The Element, a comprehensive economic development strategy, will identify these opportunities and constraints and provide strategic insight into policies, programs and projects to help overcome the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities to maximize the economic outcomes for the City.
The City of Salinas General Plan, last updated in 2002, was based on community needs and realities of the time relating to the physical development of the City. Prior to engaging in future updates, City leadership has identified the need to determine how land is best used, through the priority of economic development, in order to set the stage for prosperity in the form of business retention and growth, new investment, business attraction and job creation and health in the form of a thriving community with access to safe, walkable neighborhoods, commercial areas, healthy fresh food and a diverse array of recreation and cultural amenities.


The Salinas General Plan Economic Development Element project team is led by planning and economic development service professionals including the non-profit Salinas Planning and Research Corporation (SPARC), EMC Planning Group (EMC), Applied Development Economics (ADE), Economic and Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS), Farmhouse Communications, and City Design Collective (CDC), as well as City staff and Doug Yount, a project management consultant in the Community and Economic Development Department. A critical aspect of the development of the element includes a rigorous community and public agency outreach and engagement process aimed at developing a united vision for a prosperous, healthy community to guide the preparation of the Element. Participants in the process will include leadership of the City of Salinas (elected and appointed officials, staff), regional regulators and public agencies, community leaders, interest groups and community members.


The process to develop the Salinas Economic Development Element has been broken down to eight phases:

• Phase I: Project Initiation and Consultation - EMC, the City and SPARC will work together to refine key issues related to the budget, planning process, approach, schedule, content of the Economic Development Element and related issues. Existing and available technical documentation that will be needed to create the proposed Element will also be gathered during this phase.
• Phase II: Existing and Available Information Analysis - As part of this phase, EMC will work with two economic firms, Applied Development Economics (ADE) and Economic and Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) along with the City and SPARC to better understand the baseline conditions in Salinas and to identify market parameters for new development. Local planning, natural resource and environmental issues and constraints that could affect the potential for new development in the City through a review of technical reports and related information will be identified. The City and SPARC will assist EMC with these efforts. This phase will also include consultation with other agencies to identify potential planning issues and opportunities.

• Phase III: Visioning a "Great City"/Community Outreach - An economic development vision for the City will be conceptualized as part of this phase. The visioning process will involve assimilating existing information and soliciting new ideas from the City, SPARC, the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster, community interest groups and the public via interviews, community meetings, presentations and a community survey. A comprehensive community outreach program will be implemented as part of this phase to capture these important stakeholder interests.

• Phase IV: Vision Plan Map - This phase will identify the types, capacities and locations for uses that advance the economic development vision of the City. As part of this effort, EMC will create a conceptual illustrative Plan Map showing possible development scenarios and opportunities, as well as identify key preliminary strategies and policies for economic development.

• Phase V: Administrative Draft Economic Development Element - EMC will utilize inputs from all prior phases and develop information to prepare an administrative draft of the Economic Development Element that encompasses the vision of a united and sustained economic prosperity for Salinas, identifies policies goals and objectives to guide implementing the vision, provides the plan or map to illustrate the vision related to land use and lists programs and projects in an action plan to ensure the vision becomes a reality.

• Phase VI: Public Review Draft Economic Development Element - EMC will incorporate comments from the City, SPARC/Advisory Committees and the public outreach efforts into a draft that can be circulated for public review and comment. A public, joint Planning Commission/City Council Workshop is planned in this phase to present the draft element and receive preliminary feedback from these bodies.

• Phase VII: Public Hearings - This phase includes public review of the document by the Planning Commission, Transportation and Traffic Committee and City Council for tentative consideration of the draft Economic Development Element.

• Phase VIII: Final Draft Economic Development Element - Comments received during the public review and public hearing process will be reviewed and incorporated into a final draft Element. Final approval of the document is subject to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and following tentative approval, the City will determine where and how best to conduct this environmental review for the EDE, which may immediately follow this draft EDE or be incorporated as part of a future General Plan Update.

Contact Information:

In Person:
Doug Yount
Project Manager/Consultant - Economic Development Element
Community & Economic Development Department
City of Salinas
65 W. Alisal Street 2nd Floor
Salinas, CA 93901
office 831 775-4246
cell 831 277-3918

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