Sacramento County, California

HDR | Calthorpe helped Sacramento County use Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines as a mechanism to implement its updated General Plan. With a projected growth of 270,000 by 2010, Sacramento County took an aggressive step away from the low-density patterns of development blanketing the region.  The County's planners developed a plan based on a new Transit Oriented Development pattern, using a set of TOD Design Guidelines to improve the single-use zoning ordinances of the previous General Plan.

The General Plan used the region's expanding light rail system to locate major New Growth Areas as well as identify infill and redevelopment sites. The plan also created an 'Urban Service Boundary'which identified the ultimate limit of development for the county and preserved the Sacramento and Consumes River corridors, along with prime agricultural lands to the south.  Unfortunately the Sacramento County General Plan had no regional entity to coordinate and enforce the growth boundary in adjoining counties. Adjacent jurisdictions had the capacity to become havens for sprawl, piecemeal sectors of growth seeking to avoid the County's mixed-use requirements and the Urban Service Boundary.  Since the Plan was created, SACOG, an association of local governments in the six-county Sacramento Region, has been established to guarantee that each County’s General Plan maintains its integrity across jurisdictions.  

A map of the Sacramento Metropolitan Area shows 'New Growth Areas'
The Regional Growth Plan connects downtown with new satellite towns via transit
The plan for the Southport area of West Sacramento accommodates 40,000 residents
An illustrative plan for a Southport village reveals a cohesive pedestrian core

Project Summary



City and County of Sacramento, California


General Plan | TOD Guidelines


Growth strategy for one of the state’s fastest growing counties


Plan implemented in early 1990s