What is a Precise Plan?

Precise Plans are a tool for coordinating future public and private improvements where special conditions or desired development require particular attention. They include elements such as area-specific parking standards, form-based codes, targeted zoning, pedestrian design standards, connectivity and multi-modal standards, street design standards, and sustainability standards. In the land use hierarchy, Precise Plans are above Zoning District and below the General Plan. Other adopted Precise Plans are located here.

What area is included in the Precise Plan?

A map of the Precise Plan area is shown to the right (click to enlarge). The plan area encompasses 222 acres and runs the entire 3.9-mile length of the El Camino Real corridor in Mountain View. The plan area includes the majority of parcels fronting El Camino Real plus additional parcels adjacent to the corridor. The “context” area includes the area within roughly ¼ mile of the corridor.


How does the Precise Plan relate to the General Plan?
The Precise Plan represents the detailed implementation of the broad policy directions contained within the Mountain View 2030 General Plan for the El Camino Real Change Area, bridging the gap between general goals and specific standards. The Precise Plan will clearly define the administrative process for implementing key General Plan goals and actions. Information about the vision of the El Camino Corridor from the General Plan can be found here.
Why is the City developing a Precise Plan for El Camino Real?

Through the General Plan process, the City created a vision of El Camino Real of vibrancy, neighborhood compatibility and improved mobility. Existing zoning must be updated to better align with that vision. The El Camino Real Precise Plan will tailor standards, guidelines and administrative processes to the unique opportunities and challenges of the Precise Plan area and the goals and vision of the General Plan.

What will the El Camino Real Precise Plan contain specifically?

The Plan will contain building and improvement standards, design guidelines, and open space and mobility plans and policy frameworks. Furthermore, it will specify:

  • allowed uses,
  • intensity of uses,
  • relationship to neighboring properties,
  • parking,
  • circulation,
  • landscaping,
  • special sign standards,
  • procedures for Development Review.

The Precise Plan will also include a separate programmatic environmental impact report (EIR).

The regulations contained within the ECR Precise Plan will replace land use and development regulations previously contained within the Zoning Ordinance for this portion of the City. They will affect all applications for new construction, substantial modifications to existing buildings, and changes in land use. The Precise Plan does not replace or augment regulations pertaining to issues of building safety codes or other non-planning related codes.

How is the project being funded?

In June 2012, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded $400,000 to the City to prepare and adopt the El Camino Real Precise Plan. The City will also accept and designate $503,000 in funds from the State of California to be used both for the San Antonio and El Camino Real Precise Plans.

How does the Precise Plan relate to Gatekeeper projects?

“Gatekeepers” are requests for re-zonings. There are currently four (4) open gatekeeper projects in the El Camino Real Precise Plan area. All of these projects must be consistent with the General Plan. Projects under review may be required to amend their design prior to approval to be consistent with draft Precise Plan policies and guidelines.

If you are interested in any of these specific gatekeeper projects, please contact the Community Development Department to be connected with the project manager for that project:

  • 1984 W El Camino Real, former Pacific Inn
    Project Manager: Margaret Netto
  • 1616 W El Camino Real, former Austin’s restaurant
    Project Manager: Scott Plambaeck
  • 801 W El Camino Real, corner of Castro Street (Peet’s, etc.)
    Project Manager: Stephanie Williams
  • 870 E El Camino Real, Archstone apartments
    Project Manager: Melinda Denis

Ultimately, all sites within the El Camino Real change area, even the projects under review and approved, will be incorporated into the El Camino Real Precise Plan, and future changes to those sites must be consistent with the Plan.

Does the Precise Plan affect approved Gatekeeper projects?

Approved projects are unaffected by the Precise Plan process. These projects have been designed to be consistent with the 2030 General Plan and have been approved for development by the City Council.The following approved Gatekeeper Projects are located in the Precise Plan Area. Contact the Community Development Department and speak with the project manager if you want more information about the project.

1720 W El Camino Real – Former Tropicana Lodge
Project Manager: Scott Plambaeck
2650 W El Camino Real – Former San Antonio Inn
Project Manager: Melinda Denis
865 E El Camino Real – Corner of Crestview Drive
Project Manager: Margaret Netto

How does the Precise Plan relate to the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

The GBI is a forum for cities, counties, and stakeholders to discuss issues related to El Camino Real. The City will use this forum to inform other communities about the Plan and to learn from the research and experience of other communities. GBI has no role in drafting or adopting the Plan.VTA is studying enhanced bus service on El Camino Real called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). VTA is conducting an outreach and analysis process for BRT. The Precise Plan is a separate process. If you want more information about BRT, see the VTA website here.

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