SB-5 General Plan and Zoning Code Compliance Amendments


In 2007 the California State Senate passed Senate Bill- 5 (Machado) on Floo​dplain Management.  That bill and other related legislation established a mandate for local governments to amend their General Plans and Zoning Codes to be consistent with state law on Floodplain Management.  The primary purpose of the law is to ensure that appropriate flood protection is provided in urban and urbanizing areas.

The County of Sacramento is preparing the General Plan and Zoning Code amendments required to come into compliance state law.  See below for a summary of the proposed amendments, an overview of the process, links to public review documents and websites of interest.

Summary of the Amendments​​​​​​

The proposed amendments are intended to comply with the following requirements of the California Government Code:

Urban Level of Protection.  Establish a 200-year flood standard of protection in urban areas (Urban Level of Protection (ULOP)). This is the primary policy change that will affect construction in urban or urbanizing areas that are in a Special Flood Hazard Zone or a Moderate flood Zone.  Areas not considered to be urban or urbanizing will remain subject to the National Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standard of protection (100-year flood).  See the ULOP CPAC Map to view areas where the Urban Level of Protection applies.

Agency Coordination.  Coordinate with other agencies regarding general floodplain management, flood facility maintenance, flood data and mapping, and flood-related emergency response.

Setbacks along Levees.  Establish building setbacks along the land-side of levees to ensure access for maintenance, inspections and emergency repairs, and to provide access on county-owned land when feasible.

Elevation and Construction Standards.  Require new development to be elevated to the appropriate flood-level standard (100-yr or 200-yr) and constructed to be resistant to flood damage.

Flood Map Data.  Update flood-related map data in the General Plan Safety Element, Safety Element Background Document, and the Conservation Element.

Flood Emergency Response.  Provide a quality response to flood emergencies by maintaining and updating the County Flood Emergency Action Plan and the Community flood evacuation and rescue maps.

Floodway Management.  Consider natural stream functions and when managing floodways.

Building Design Standards.  Consider flooding issues when approving project stormwater retention designs, including Low Impact Design and landscaping.

Findings. Upon approval of projects in a Flood Hazard Zone the Board of Supervisors must make certain findings (legal determinations) related to Floodplain Management. See Section 5.11 of the Draft Zoning Code (linked below) for the full text.

      • Affected Project Types: Development Agreements, Discretionary Permits or Entitlements, Ministerial permits that would result in the construction of a new residence, Tentative Maps, or Parcel Maps for which a tentative map is not required.
      • Required Finding:  Prior to approval of a project subject to ULOP 200-year or FEMA 100-year standard, the Board must find (determine) one of the following: 
          • The project is protected to the appropriate standard by existing flood control facilities.
          • The project will be protected to the appropriate standard by conditions of approval placed on the project.
          • The local floodplain management agency has made adequate progress constructing the approved flood protection system to meet the appropriate standard.
          • Projects in an undetermined risk area have met the ULOP, based on evidence in the record. 

Note: In Sections 4.2.5.A.2 and 4.5.3.B.1 of the Draft Zoning Code Amendment, the habitable floor level minimum is amended from 1.0 foot, up to 1.5 feet above the water surface elevation of the 100 year floodplain.  This modification will correct an inconsistency between the main Zoning Code and the Floodplain Management Ordinance (a part of the Zoning Code).

Process Overview​​​​​

Draft Proposed Amendments (complete).  County staff carefully reviewed state law on Floodplain management considering the policy and technical requirements.  Those results were compared to existing County policies and regulations, and any gaps were identified.  In order to close those gaps, staff proposed the General Plan and Zoning Code amendments found in the review documents linked in the Public Review Documents section, below.

Agency Review.  State law requires that certain agencies receive notification of amendments to the Safety Element, or elements of the General Plan Amendments:

    • Native American Heritage Commission and local tribes
    • Central Valley Flood Control Board (CVFCB)
    • California Geologic Survey of the Department of Conservation
    • ​California Office of Emergency Service
​​Community Planning Advisory Council Meeting (CPAC).  Each CPAC chair has received a notice offering a presentation from county staff on the amendments (CPAC notice).  The notice includes a map of locations where the Urban Level of Protection applies.   Staff from Planning and Environmental Review Section and the Department of Water Resources will present the amendments and will be available to answer questions.  Some CPACs that are not significantly affected by these amendments may opt not to receive a presentation.

Written Comments.  Interested individuals are encouraged to review the documents and provide written comments to the project manager at the address listed below.  All written comments will be summarized in the staff report text.  Comment documents will be copied into an appendix in the staff reports to the County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.  

Public Meetings and Hearings

County staff presented the Floodplain Management Amendments and accepted public comments at the meetings listed below. Additional meetings will be announced, if needed.  Public testimony will also be taken at the Sacramento County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor hearings.  The Board of Supervisors is responsible for final approval of the project.   

​​Planning Commission Meeting (NEW!)

At their regularly scheduled meeting on September 12, 2016, the County Planning Commission unanimously approved staff's recommended amendment package.  The details of the recommendations, amendments and staff analysis may be viewed under item #8.  


Board of Supervisors Hearing (NEW!)

​The project is tentatively scheduled for a final approval hearing before the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on October 18, 2016.  The official agenda will be posted at least 72 hours prior to the hearing​.​

Past Presentations at Regular CPAC Meetings

  • Carmichael/Old Foothill Farms CPAC - ​​Wednesday, June 15, 2016
  • Cordova CPAC - Thursday, June 16, 2016
  • Cosumnes CPAC - Wednesday, June 22, 2016
  • Natomas CPAC - Thursday, June 9, 2016
  • Southeast CPAC - Thursday, June 23, 2016
  • South Sacramento CPAC - Wednesday, July 20, 2016​​


If you have questions about the draft documents or the planning process, or would like to submit comments, contact John Lundgren, Senior Planner, at lundgrenj@sac​​ or (916) 874-8043.