The Planning Division prepares and implements long-range land use plans and development regulations for the City, including the General Plan, Development Code, specific plans, and ordinances. The Division also reviews, approves, or makes recommendations on applications for land use entitlements, environmental reviews, and sign applications, and responds to public inquiries at the counter and by telephone regarding zoning information.

In addition, the Division provides staff support to the Planning Commission, technical assistance to the City Council, and graphic support to other divisions within the City. The Planning Division is available to the public for consultation concerning prospective projects.

Please note: All development review applications are accepted by in-person appointment only. We are not able to accept application packets with partial information or poor quality graphics. Appointments can be scheduled Monday – Friday, between 8 am – 4 pm by calling (909) 866-5831.

Planning Resources

  • CEQA Local Guidelines

    These local guidelines are to assist the City in implementing the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"). The purpose of these Local Guidelines is to help the City accomplish the following basic objectives of CEQA:

    • To enhance and provide long-term protection for the environment, while providing a decent home and satisfying living environment for every Californian;
    • To provide information to governmental decision-makers and the public regarding the potential significant environmental effects of the proposed project;
    • To provide an analysis of the environmental effects of future actions associated with the project to adequately apprise all interested parties of the true scope of the project for intelligent weighing of the environmental consequences of the project;
    • To identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced;
    • To prevent significant avoidable environmental damage through utilization of feasible project alternatives or mitigation measures; and
    • To disclose and demonstrate to the public the reasons why a governmental agency approved the project in the manner chosen. Public participation is an essential part of the CEQA process. Each public agency should encourage wide public involvement, formal and informal, in order to receive and evaluate public reactions to environmental issues related to a public agency’s activities. Such involvement should include, whenever possible, making environmental information available in electronic format on the Internet, on a web site maintained or utilized by the public agency

    2023 Local CEQA Guidelines

  • Community Vision 2023

    Visit the Big Bear Lake Community Vision page for more information!

  • General Plan

    The General Plan for the City of Big Bear Lake was prepared pursuant to California Government Section 65300 et. seq., which requires that each city and county within the state "adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the county or city, and any land outsides its boundaries which in the planning agency's judgment bear relation to its planning."

    The General Plan and its various elements are required to function as an integrated, internally consistent, and compatible statement of policies. The General Plan serves as a foundation for making land-use decisions based on goals and policies related to land use, transportation, population growth and distribution, development, open space, resource preservation and utilization, air and water quality, noise impacts, public safety, infrastructure and other related physical, social and economic factors. In addition to serving as a basis for local decision making, the General Plan establishes a clear set of development guidelines for citizens, developers, neighboring jurisdictions and agencies, and provides the community with an opportunity to participate in the planning process.

    The General Plan contains the following elements:

    General Plan Photo

  • Pedestrian, Bicycle and Equestrian Master Plan

    The Pedestrian, Bicycle and Equestrian Master Plan is conceptualized in a manner to support a wide variety of uses including school and work commutes, access to transit, excursions through commercial and residential neighborhoods and along the lake, scenic road rides, outdoor education and wellness activities, and improved access to the U.S. National Forest. These uses will be made possible overtime. However, the network may take years to build. As a result, this plan is intended to be phased based on a hierarchy of projects, which will result in a coherent system at the end of each phase of construction. Project and program implementation is intended to take place over the span of two to twenty years and will be done in the following three (3) phases:

    Phase 1: The first phase of projects includes primary or valley-wide trails, which are considered the armature of the overall system.

    Phase 2: The second phase of projects included additional primary trails as well as secondary or neighborhood pathways. Secondary pathways run through neighborhoods and are used to reach the primary trail system or are an alternative to the primary trail system for users that are less experienced, For equestrians, the secondary network is used to access the National Forest and other open space areas.

    Phase 3: The final phase will fill gaps and add mileage to the overall network.

    This plan represents the unified vision of the multi-modal transportation system, and criteria for evaluating and prioritizing future transportation improvements for the Valley. Over the course of the planning process, the plan framework was developed to consider long-term impacts and future needs. To this end, the plan will continuously be monitored and reviewed in the future to ensure that the policies and strategies remain effective.  


  • Rathbun Corridor Sustainability Plan

    The Rathbun Corridor Sustainability Plan emerged from the Big Bear Valley Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Equestrian Master Plan and the goal is to ultimately construct a system of biking, walking, and horse backing tails along Rathbun Creek that lead residents and visitors to the Moonridge Business District/Corridor.

    The Rathbun Creek Corridor Sustainability Plan will focus on multiple objectives, such as:

    • Environmental impact and conservation focused on watershed health and wildlife habitat
    • Community asset building to strengthen recreation opportunities and local destinations
    • Economic Development to positively impact businesses and property values along with the Moonridge corridor
    • Recreation and transportation improvements to connect Big Bear Lake to the surrounding mountains

    Download the Rathbun Corridor Sustainability Plan for additional information.

  • Village Specific Plan

    The Village Specific Plan defines the future development plans for the Village area of Big Bear Lake. It addresses all relevant planning issues and represents the primary opportunities and constraints for the Village. The goals of the Village Specific Plan include: improve the gross retail sales environment for all commercial uses, attract more people to the Village and encourage more lodging and restaurants in the area, improve the visual character of the Village, improve open space opportunities, avoid incompatible land used in the Village area and develop an economically viable business climate. The objectives of the Village Specific Plan are to introduce more resort/residential use areas within the Village to establish a more constant tourist population, delineate areas immediately adjacent to the lake for public pedestrian malls and parks, re-establish commercial areas along major travel routes and high volume pedestrian ways, provide central public parking lots in close proximity to commercial uses, and establish open space common area within the center of the Village to provide a "central focus" and "gathering spot" for those visiting.

    Village Zoning Map

  • VMT Thresholds of Significance

Get In Touch

39707 Big Bear Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
P.O. Box 10000
Mon.– Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
(909) 866-5831

Staff Login