Lesson 4 – Notice For Preparing Or Amending A General Plan

A county or municipality’s General Plan is a guiding document that should express the public’s vision for its community. As such, public input is essential (and not just because it’s required by statute)!

All counties and municipalities are required to provide notice when meeting to consider a new general plan or substantial amendment. Additionally, Utah state law says that providing notice of the municipality’s intent to begin the process of preparing or updating a general plan is required for all municipalities “within a county of the first or second class” (§10-9a-203). 

First- and second-class counties are those with a population of 175,000 or more (§17-50-501). As of 2022, this definition applies to the following counties in Utah: 

  • Salt Lake County
  • Utah County
  • Davis County
  • Weber County
  • Washington County

In other words, municipalities within these more populous counties are required to take the extra step of announcing their intent to begin the process. While cities and towns in smaller counties are not required to provide notice when they begin a general plan project, they should make an effort to; because we think being transparent is always a good idea.

Step 1 – Providing Notice Of Intent To Work On The General Plan

Note: For municipalities in counties smaller than second class, this first step is recommended but optional. For municipalities in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, or Washington counties, this step is required.

Municipalities must provide the public with at least a 10-day (calendar days) notice of their intent to prepare a proposed plan or comprehensive amendment (§10-9a-203). This notice must be published on the Utah Public Notice Website and sent directly to the following parties (§10-9a-203):

  • To each affected entity;
    • i.e. County, municipality, local district, special service district, school district, interlocal cooperation entity, specified public utility, property owner, and property owners association, that:
      • Is likely to require expansion or significant modification because of land uses proposed in the plan; or
      • Has filed with the municipality a copy of its general or long-range plan; 
      • Has specifically requested notice from the municipality during the same calendar year.
  • The Utah Geospatial Resource Center; and
  • The Association of Governments of which the municipality is a member. 

The notices sent to these parties should be sent by hard-copy mail or email and should include four things (§10-9a-203):

  1. A statement that the municipality intends to prepare a general plan or a comprehensive general plan amendment,
  2. A map or description of the geographic area that will be affected by the general plan or amendment; 
  3. An invitation to provide information on potential land uses and impacts for the municipality to consider in the process of preparing, adopting, and implementing the general plan or amendment; 
  4. A contact (specifically, the municipality’s website and the name and phone number of someone who can provide more information about the proposed general plan or amendment).

Step 2 – Providing Notice Of Public Hearings/Meetings To Consider The General Plan/Amendments

Note: This step is required for all municipalities in Utah.

Once work on the general plan or amendment is underway, the municipality must provide public notice of every public meeting and the first public hearing it holds to discuss adoption or modification of any or all of the general plan. (§10-9a-204)

Notices for public meetings about the general plan or amendment must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Meeting notices must be published on the Utah Public Notice Website and posted either (a) in three public locations within the municipality or (b) on the municipality’s official website. (§10-9a-204)

Notices for public hearings (when the public can comment) on the matter must be made at least 10 days (calendar days) in advance. Hearing notices should be published and posted just like meeting notices but must additionally be mailed to the following “affected entities” mentioned above in Step 1. (§10-9a-204)