Planning Area Land Use Classification

The following are excerpts from the County of Mariposa General Plan, Volume I. For the complete text, please refer to Section May 3, 2001., entitled PLANNING AREA LAND USE CLASSIFICATION of the General Plan, Volume I, which can be found on this website.


The General Plan creates the land use classification "planning area." Planning areas identify "towns," "communities," and "special" planning areas. Planning areas are implemented by area plans adopted by the Board of Supervisors. "Area plans" are mini-General Plans adopted to meet the needs of each town, community, or uniquely identified special area of the County.

The towns of Mariposa, Coulterville, Fish Camp and Wawona each have adopted "town planning area specific plans." Catheys Valley has adopted a "community plan." These plans will remain in effect and are incorporated in Volume II of the General Plan as the community's area plans, though modifications or updates may be necessary to consider Planning Study Areas adjacent to the communities or address new policies. For Mariposa and Coulterville, the name of the plan changed from "specific plan" to "town plan." For Fish Camp and Wawona, the name of the plan remained "town planning area specific plan." Catheys Valley did not change, and became a "community plan" in December 2012.

Town planning areas represent the rural scale "urban" development centers for the County. Town planning areas are specifically designated as locations in the County where policy mandates a broad and comprehensive mixture of land uses and zoning. A mixture of housing types and styles for all economic segments of the County are disbursed throughout the town planning areas.

Community planning areas or special planning areas represent separate policy approaches. A planning area's character and values are generally based in the character of the General Plan land use classifications in which it is situated. At the policy level, area plans are developed specifically to reflect community values.

Extent of Uses

An adopted area plan establishes the extent of land uses for each land use classification in that planning area. Generally, area plans will address residential, commercial, industrial, public, and other land use classifications. However, depending on the guiding principles of an area plan, not all classifications may be included.

Area plans may be more restrictive than the General Plan policies as long as they are consistent with the General Plan policies; however, they cannot be less restrictive than the General Plan or inconsistent with the General Plan.

Types of Planning Areas

 Town Planning Area:
All residential, commercial, industrial, job-center, recreation, and public uses, as defined in the General Plan, are consistent with the purpose of a town planning area.

Community Planning Area: Single-family residential, rural commercial, recreation/resort-oriented, small business and public are land uses consistent with the purpose of a community planning area. Multi-family residential uses with more than two attached dwelling units per structure are not consistent residential uses within community planning area; live-work commercial/residential uses are acceptable.

Special Planning Area: Some small locales in the County do not face the full scope of issues warranting a fully-scale town plan or community plan. The purpose of a special plan is to address the specific issues of local importance for the planning area. Consistent uses will be defined in the special plan. Special plans may be used within a town plan or community plan to address more focused issues.

Adoption of Area Plans

The Board of Supervisors governs the planning areas and is responsible for adopting the area plans and associated regulations. To ensure area plans reflect local values, Planning Advisory Committees are formed of local residents, property owners, and business owners, to advise the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors on local issues. The preparation, review and revision of area plans are a responsibility of the committee. The Planning Advisory Committee sends its planning documents to the Planning Commission for recommendation and Board of Supervisors for adoption.

Regulations in Planning Areas for which a Town Plan is Adopted

The towns of Catheys Valley, Coulterville, Fish Camp, Mariposa, and Wawona have adopted town planning area/specific plans. When the General Plan was adopted, the Mariposa and Coulterville plans were re-adopted as area town plans. The names of Fish Camp and Wawona town planning area specific plans remain the same. The Catheys Valley town planning area was adopted as a community plan. Each specific plan was originally adopted as an ordinance. The ordinances remain in place.

Interim Regulations in Planning Study Area

The Planning Areas of Bear Valley, Bootjack, Buck Meadows, El Portal, Foresta, Greeley Hill, Hornitos, Lake Don Pedro, Midpines, Mount Bullion, and Yosemite West do not have adopted area plans. The adopted plans for the towns of Coulterville and Mariposa do not encompass all of the lands shown in the General Plan Land Use Diagram for the towns. For these Planning Areas and expanded town areas, designated Planning Study Areas on the Land Use Diagram, the General Plan land use classifications as shown on the interim land use diagrams in Volume II shall apply until the appropriate town, community, or special plan is adopted by the Board of Supervisors. The planning areas, including the planning study areas, are displayed on the Mariposa County General Plan Land Use Diagram to identify the boundaries for the Planning Advisory Committees and state the intention of the Board of Supervisors that a plan will be adopted for these areas. Catheys Valley, Fish Camp and Wawona have adopted plans. The Interim Community Land Use Diagram (Volume II) establishes interim land use provisions for all other areas pending plan adoption.

Volume II incorporates basic standards for the determination of zoning and development entitlements. The Interim Land Use Diagrams were developed to reflect the existing entitlements and patterns of land uses, upon adoption of this General Plan. These land uses and basic standards are applicable until such time as an area plan is amended or adopted.