Planning & Zoning

Santa Ana's Envision Map

In order to address the challenges it is facing, Santa Ana has put significant efforts into updating its General Plan and zoning. To this end, they have created the "Envision Map" which identify concepts in zoning for the future of the city.

2525 North Main was identified as an ideal location for re-zoning, with high-rise development

The potential future zoning would allow for either commercial or residential uses with unlimited density and unlimited  height. 




The Magnolia property site, located in Santa Ana on a major thoroughfare with several high-rise office and commercial buildings, is adjacent to a 10-story office building that is over 100 feet high, and is located across the street from the Discovery Cube Science Center, which is a 59,000 Square foot learning facility with a 10-story, 108 foot high solar cube that is on top of the main exhibition hall.

Development of Magnolia at the Park would realize many of the goals set forth by the City's General Plan. 

The following objectives have been identified by the applicant and the City for the proposed project:

  • Redevelop existing underutilized parcels to implement development of new high-quality housing.
  • To increase high-quality housing near existing employment centers.
  • To promote a jobs/housing balance by locating attractive new housing in proximity to employment centers.
  • To provide housing in close proximity to commercial areas, freeway, and transit.
  • Redevelop existing land uses that would utilize existing infrastructure, including: water, sewer, arterial roadways, transit, and freeways.
  • Implement capital investment to enhance the City’s economic and fiscal viability pursuant to the City of Santa Ana Strategic Plan.
  • Provide residents with a safe, high-quality, modern residential community with open space and various recreation amenities.

Sprawl has two primary impacts: it increases per capita land consumption, and by dispersing destinations it increases the costs of providing public infrastructure and services, and increases the distances that people must travel for a given level of accessibility, which increases total per capita transportation costs.
— Todd Litman

Public Policies For Optimal Urban Development

By Todd Litman,  April 2015

How should cities develop? This is an important and timely issue. We are currently in the middle of a major period of urbanization. According to United Nations projections, between 1950 and 2050 the human population will approximately quadruple and shift from 80 percent rural to nearly 80 percent urban. Although most of this growth is occurring in developing countries, developed country cities are also experiencing growth as more households choose urban over suburban neighborhoods. How cities develop has huge economic, social and environmental impacts. With proper policies we can leave a legacy of truly sustainable development for future generations.

My new report, "Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl," written in partnership with LSE (London School of Economics) Cities Program, for the New Climate Economy, provides practical guidance for creating cities that are healthy, wealthy and wise, that is, attractive and healthy places to live, economically successful, socially vibrant and equitable. It analyzes the costs and benefits of various development patterns and discusses ways to optimize urban expansion, densities, housing mix, and transportation policies for various types of cities. Let me summarize some of the report's key conclusions and recommendations, with the hope that it will inspire you to read the full document. 

This study begins by defining sprawl and smart growth. These differ in many ways, as summarized in the following table.


Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl refers to the expansion of poorly planned, low-density, auto-dependent development, which spreads out over large amounts of land, putting long distances between homes, stores, and work and creating a high segregation between residential and commercial uses with harmful impacts on the people living in these areas and the ecosystems and wildlife that have been displaced. Although some would argue that urban sprawl has its benefits, such as creating local economic growth, urban sprawl has many negative consequences for residents and the environment, such as higher water and air pollution, increased traffic fatalities and jams, loss of agricultural capacity, increased car dependency, higher taxes, increased runoff into rivers and lakes, harmful effects on human health, including higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and chronic diseases, increased flooding, decrease in social capital and loss of natural habitats, wildlife and open space. In its path, urban sprawl consumes immeasurable acres of forests, farmland, woodlands and wetlands and in its wake, leaves vacant storefronts, boarded up houses, closed businesses, abandoned and usually contaminated industrial sites, and traffic congestion, which can stretch miles from urban centers and is creating a hidden debt of unfunded infrastructure and services, urban decay, social dysfunction, and environmental degradation. 


Urban Sprawl 101

How Sprawl Hurst Us All

By William T. Eberhard AIA, IIDA

Managing Partner


The Public Health Benefits of Infill Development

By Ben Winig, senior staff attorney and program director at CHANGELAB SOLUTIONS

Increasingly, communities across the country are turning to infill as a constructive and comprehensive land use and planning strategy. By refocusing development on a community’s urban core, infill draws people and business back into the heart of the community.

When done well, infill can improve transportation systems, protect the environment, and revitalize communities. But infill has the unique potential to improve public health outcomes, too. With strategic planning and foresight, planners and developers can use infill to actually help make communities healthier. READ MORE...