Downtown Watsonville Specific Plan

Project Underway

In July 2019, the City of Watsonville initiated a Specific Plan for downtown Watsonville. This planning effort will build on the historic origins of the area while establishing a clear vision for the future of downtown Watsonville. 

What is a Specific Plan?

A Specific Plan is a comprehensive planning document and regulatory tool for implementing the City’s General Plan and will guide development in downtown through customized land use and design regulations and provide recommendations for improvements to the public realm. For more information on the purpose of a Specific Plan and for an overview of its timeline, click here.


Objectives for the Specific Plan include the development of multi-story mixed use buildings through both new construction and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. For instance, infill development along Main Street may include new residential housing with commercial retail on the first floor. 

The Plan will encourage compact development near transit to decrease automobile dependency, reduce both local and regional traffic congestion and related greenhouse gas emissions, and provide additional guidance and plans to increasing multimodal access to and from the historic Downtown area.

Recent News & Milestones

  • A historic resources report has been prepared in support of the Specific Plan. This report presents a summary on research and reconnaissance efforts. The purpose of the historic resources survey is to provide baseline data on existing conditions and identify known and potentially eligible historic resources in the Specific Plan area. This information will inform future planning and development efforts and support compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other applicable state and local regulations. To view the report, click here.
  • An Advisory Committee meeting was held on October 6, 2021, from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. Meeting topics included a report back on responses to the 2nd community survey and an introduction of the Plan's zoning framework. 
  • In response to community interest in how the City's affordable housing program works, the Housing Manager held two workshops online to provide a history on the program, answered questions, and addressed how it would apply to new development downtown. Separate videos are available in English and Spanish for the June 16 and 17 workshops, respectively.
  • A second community survey collected feedback on design recommendations for public spaces, character areas, streetscapes, and bike network in downtown Watsonville. Click here for summary of the survey.
  • A Community Workshop was held on May 6, 2021, from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. Meeting topics included potential opportunity sites in downtown, as well as proposed street and bicycle network concepts. The second community survey was also unveiled at the workshop.
  • Meetings will take place virtually online due to Covid-19. The City of Watsonville invites the public to attend via zoom and participate by watching the live stream of the meeting on the City’s Facebook page.
  • Community members and stakeholder inform the vision for Downtown Watsonville. Click here to read about the vision themes and guiding principles for the Specific Plan. For a summary of public comments, click here.
  • A community survey collected feedback on strengths, issues, opportunities, and community vision for the Downtown. Click here for a summary of this survey. Below are pictures of community members sharing their views at the Farmer's Market in the Plaza.
  • Existing conditions analysis and reports have been completed by the consultant team. View the documents here.

Public Engagement Events

Contact Information