Government / Politics

Hollister 2040 General Plan: Natural Resource and Conservation Element

City residents are encouraged to read the General Plan draft and comment on it throughout the summer.

Editor’s note: This is the third of a series of articles on the draft 2040 General Plan. The first article can be found here, the second here.


Hollister’s draft 2040 General Plan, a local government’s blueprint for growth, is divided into 11 sections. The document includes the Natural Resource and Conservation Element.

The City is requesting comments on the content of the draft environmental impact report from interested public agencies, organizations and individuals. A public meeting to accept verbal comments on the draft EIR will be held before the Hollister Planning Commission on Thursday, June 22 at 6:00 p.m. on Zoom.

This element focuses on policies and actions for the city to preserve natural and cultural resources, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It presents goals, policies and actions for the following topics:

  • Biological Resources
  • Tribal Cultural Resources
  • Air Quality
  • Climate Change
  • Energy
  • Water Quality and Water Conservation
  • Mineral Resources.

Biological Resources: This covers a wide range of protected plant and ecological habitat types and species status. According to the General Plan, as development pressures continue, the need for preservation of the valuable diversity of species becomes increasingly important and the city recognizes the ecological, scientific, aesthetic, and cultural values of special-status species, as well as their inherent and legal right to exist without undue disturbance.

Tribal Cultural Resources: According to the General Plan, the city acknowledges the importance of tribal cultural resources by taking concrete steps to preserve areas that have identifiable and important tribal cultural resources. Among those steps to assure these resources are preserved  is to support the tribal consultation process, relationship building, and respect for tribal cultural resources.

Air Quality: According to the General Plan, the city will comply with and strive to exceed state and federal standards for air quality through a number of measures, including reviewing all development proposals for consistency with the current Air Quality Management Plan of the Monterey Bay Air Resources District. It adds that with recent ongoing construction of commercial and industrial projects exceeding 10,000 square feet of gross floor area, all necessary measures will be taken to achieve zero emissions.

Climate Change: There are nine policies in the 2040 General Plan to address climate change and encourage efforts to help Hollister become a net carbon-neutral community by 2045, and maintain a greenhouse gas reduction trajectory that meets or exceeds the statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Energy: There are nine policies aimed at promoting energy efficiency. These include developing practices to conserve resources, encourage site planning to reduce energy consumption, encourage businesses and residents to be resource, energy and water efficient, the city leading by example, and new development proposals for energy efficiency will be required to meet or exceed California’s Title 24 Energy Efficiency Requirements.  

Water Quality & Water Conservation: According to the General Plan, this would be accomplished by complying with local, state, and federal standards for water quality; promoting proper disposal of pollutants to the sanitary sewer or hazardous waste facilities rather than to the storm drainage system; monitoring the wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the nitrate levels stay within legal limits; and ensuring groundwater quality is maintained at a satisfactory level.

Mineral Resources: Through six policies the city hopes to preserve regionally significant mineral resources in the Planning Area identified by the State Division of Mining and Geology. The city would manage mineral resource extraction to ensure that this activity results in the fewest possible environmental impacts by requiring preparation and assured implementation of a rehabilitation plan for mineral extraction sites as a condition of mining approval. The mineral resource extraction plan would address the protection and restoration of living resources. New or expanded mining operations will adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Demonstrate no significant adverse impacts from the mining operations on adjoining areas and uses, including, but not limited to, those associated with noise, dust, and vibration.
  • Demonstrate no substantial increase in hazards to neighboring uses, water quality, air quality, agricultural resources, or biological resources.
  • Demonstrate that the proposed plan complies with existing applicable County and State waste management standards.
  • Incorporate sufficient buffering between mining operations and adjacent non-mining uses to minimize noise.
  • Incorporate landscaping buffers and other measures to minimize visual impacts to the extent possible.
  • Restrict permitted uses on lands containing important mineral resources to those compatible with mineral extraction, except in cases where such uses offer public benefits that outweigh those of resource extraction.
  • Reclaim former mining sites to a condition which is readily adaptable for alternative land uses, consistent with the Land Use Map and other applicable policies, in accordance with the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA).
  • Union Road Mineral Resources. Preserve aggregate mineral resources located within the Union Road Special Planning Area that are of known value to the region.

According to the General Plan website, comments on the draft plan should be submitted by Aug. 7 so the City Council can consider community input when providing direction on the draft plans. 

The City Council has a scheduled meeting on that date. The website adds that following the review of the draft plans, there will be a formal adoption process in the fall and comments will also be accepted at that time. 

The city will also be accepting written comments on the Draft EIR until 5 p.m. on June 30. Written comments may be emailed to [email protected] with “Hollister GPU 2040, CAP, and ALPP EIR” as the subject line, or mailed to:

City of Hollister Development Services Department – Planning Division

ATTN: Eva Kelly, Interim Planning Manager

339 Fifth Street, Hollister, CA 95023


The city also has a website dedicated to the General Plan update, which includes the draft documents and scheduled events. It can be found here.


 We need your help. Support local, nonprofit news! BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is committed to this community and providing essential, accurate information to our fellow residents. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s public service, nonprofit news.


John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected].