Long-Range Development Plans

Volume 2, Chapter 3


A long-range development plan (LRDP) is a comprehensive plan that guides physical development such as the location of buildings, open space, circulation, and other land uses. An LRDP identifies the physical development needed to achieve academic goals and is an important reference document for the campus, University, and the general public.

[Editor's Note: Because only campuses and medical centers have long-range development plans, the more specific term campus is used at times in this chapter in place of the usual term "Facility."]


  • Bylaws of The Regents of the University of California, 12.4(a-e), amended June 1993.
  • Long-range development plans (LRDPs) and their Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), for each campus.
  • Standing Order of The Regents, 100.4(aa) and 100.4(ff).
  • Regental policy: Campus and Community Planning and Development (see FM1:5.1).
  • University policy: Capital Improvement on University Land (see FM1:5.1).
  • University policy: Naming University Properties, Programs, and Facilities (see FM1:5.1).


Campuses prepare LRDPs based on their academic goals and the projected number of students for an established future date. Each LRDP indicates how a campus will accommodate the student population along with the faculty and staff required to support that student population. The Regents approve each LRDP and its accompanying Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which evaluates the impact of the proposed development.

The Regental authority for LRDPs comes from Standing Order 100.4(aa). This Standing Order states that the President can approve siting of individual buildings or projects, provided their locations are generally in accordance with a long-range development plan previously approved in principle by the Board. If a campus does not have an LRDP, the Regents must approve every building site. For simplicity of project approval, it is beneficial to have an approved LRDP.

An EIR must be prepared to evaluate the environmental impacts of a LRDP (see 3.1.4). Once certified, the environmental documentation process for subsequent projects covered by the LRDP EIR can be simpler.

There are no University requirements for the content, organization, or longevity of a LRDP. However, for ease of distribution to The Regents, prepare them on 8 1/2" x 11" paper. The Office of the President assists planners and reviews LRDPs. The following sections are guidelines for the organization, elements, and organizing concepts which can be included in a LRDP.

3.1.1 LRDP Organization

The organization of an LRDP may vary, but it usually includes the following information:

  1. Historical perspective including historical plans for the campus and the evolution of those plans over time.
  2. Relationship with the community.
  3. Location and setting.
  4. Surrounding land uses.
  5. Physical setting including:
    1. Existing environmental resources.
    2. Existing land uses.
    3. Existing landscape and open space.
    4. Existing circulation and transportation systems.
  6. Facility characteristics including:
    1. Facility population.
    2. Academic organization.
  7. Planning process for the LRDP.
  8. Projected needs including:
    1. Facility population.
    2. Space needs for academic and support systems.
  9. Guidelines for implementation.

In addition, the LRDP shows how and where space needs will be met on the site and contains the following elements:

  • Land use
  • Landscape and open space
  • Circulation and transportation
  • Utilities

3.1.2 LRDP Elements

Land Use. This element shows the location of proposed land uses. The goal is to provide guidance for locating future structures and uses while maintaining adequate flexibility for future decision making. The level of detail in this element varies. Academic uses may all be under a single "Instruction and Research" land use designation, or there may be separate designations for academic uses, administration, recreation, student housing, family student housing, support services, and open space.

Landscape and Open Space. Each campus has different types of open space: formal paved plazas and courtyards, less formal landscaped areas, and undeveloped natural areas. The LRDP indicates the role of open space, for example, whether buildings are integrated into the predominant land forms and vegetation (e.g. the Santa Cruz campus), or buildings are predominate and open spaces are connections among building clusters. Open areas may gain significance due to ongoing unauthorized or informal use, which then forms the basis of opposition if the site is proposed for use.

Circulation and Transportation. The LRDP shows how people move to and through the site in the future. All forms of travel are considered: pedestrian, bicycle, mopeds, motorcycles, cars, service and delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, and hazardous material transportation. The LRDP indicates which paths and roads are shared by one or more forms of travel and which are segregated. Parking for all vehicle types is addressed.

Utilities. This element focuses on the campus systems for domestic and irrigation water, waste water, storm drainage, sanitary sewers, chilled water and steam, electrical distribution, natural gas, and communications. Each type of utility's expansion strategy is planned to accommodate the growing campus population and technology changes.

3.1.3 LRDP Organizing Concepts

An LRDP may be organized according to several possible concepts such as:

Physical Form. The physical form may be a grid system, satellite development, development along a spine, or spoke development around a circular core.

Neighborhoods. Colleges, quads, precincts, and academic neighborhoods form sub-areas of a campus that accommodate academic clusters or combinations of academic and living functions.

Systems. The framework of support systems includes circulation, utilities, and information. One of these frameworks may be the organizing concept for future campus development.

3.1.4 Environmental Impact Report


UC CEQA Handbook, Procedural Handbook and Model Approach for Implementing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), University of California, Office of Long- Range Planning, Office of the President, May 1991, revised February 1994.

Because a long-range development plan affects an area's physical environment, an evaluation of its impacts is required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Because an LRDP may create significant impacts, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required. Environmental evaluations are normally managed by the planning office at each Facility. The Office of the President prepared the UC CEQA Handbook to guide preparation of these documents. The planning office at each Facility has a copy of this document.

Once the comprehensive evaluation of environmental impacts is completed and approved, subsequent projects may have simpler environmental documentation requirements if they were covered in the LRDP EIR.

3.1.5 LRDP Approval and Amendment Process

At the initiation of a new or major LRDP update, each campus must consult with the Office of the President about format and content, as well as campus and public participation processes. Preparation of a LRDP includes consultation with a wide variety of people on- and off-campus: faculty, students, staff, adjacent jurisdictions, and community groups. The mechanism and extent of consultation varies by campus.

A campus submits a draft LRDP and an administrative draft LRDP EIR to the Office of the President for review. Once the draft LRDP and EIR are finalized, they will be presented to The Regents for approval. The LRDP is considered a draft plan until it is approved by The Regents. A campus prepares the Regents item and a presentation about the LRDP and the EIR requesting the Regents approval. The Regents must certify the LRDP EIR prior to approving the LRDP. Both approvals are usually done at a single Regents meeting.

An LRDP may be amended at any time, and is in effect until a new LRDP replaces it. LRDPs may be amended either for individual building projects or area plans and totally revised when it becomes out of date. Part V of the Environmental Impact Classification form (see RD2.1) within the Program Planning Guide for each project asks whether the project conforms with the LRDP. If it does not, the Regents must approve the site for the project.

The Committee on Grounds and Buildings has the authority to amend LRDPs. Minor LRDP amendments may be made by the Senior Vice President, Business & Finance, provided the amendment preserves the fundamental planning principles of the LRDP and is limited to: 

- siting a building project of $10 million or less;
- shifting less than 30,000 gross square feet of allocated building space, and/or
- changing land-use boundaries and designations for four acres or less of land.  

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