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Campus Planning

» Specific Plan Fact Sheet & Timeline


Originally adopted by the City of Orange in 1989 and then amended several times over the past decade, the Chapman University Specific Plan serves as the land use "rules book" that guides the planning and development of University-owned property.


The University's updated Specific Plan consolidated a long list of multi-layered ordinances and regulations contained within several governing policy documents, including:

  • Design Standards for the Amendment to the Southwest Project Area
  • The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation
  • The Historic Preservation Design Standards for Old Towne
  • The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • The City of Orange General Plan, Zoning Ordinance and Local CEQA Guidelines

The Specific Plan regulations determine how the University designs new buildings, restores and preserves existing structures, addresses landscape, roadway and infrastructure issues, and meets the needs of neighbors, local businesses, University students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater Orange community.

The approved Specific Plan achieves the following:

  • Consolidates criteria from several governing policy documents
  • Addresses the need for resident student parking
  • Enhances architectural guidelines
  • Establishes a master landscape plan
  • Establishes a historic building evaluation/review process
  • Provides historic preservation/enhancement guidelines
  • Addresses edge transition criteria/campus-community interface
  • Identifies Chapman University's Area of Interest


The Chapman University Specific Plan Amendment No. 6 encompasses four key areas of geographical interest, including the following:

  • Areas already developed by the University and contained in the original adopted Specific Plan
  • Areas added to the updated Specific Plan (i.e., properties associated with the Center for the Arts)
  • Areas of potential interest (i.e., existing structures on Glassell Street)
  • Potential growth area (i.e., area located on the north side of Palm Avenue, immediately west of the AT&SF Railroad line)


The University prepared an update in 2011 to the Chapman University Specific Plan (with an accompanying Mitigated Negative Declaration) that incorporated the new areas and identified and mitigated all potential impacts associated with the new updated plan to below a level of significance. The Specific Plan was reviewed by the Planning Commission and forwarded to the City Council for final review and approval. All hearings were open to the public.


+ - Chapman University Specific Plan Timeline

March 1989: Specific Plan (SP) first adopted by Orange City Council

September 1989: SP Amended

December 1995: SP Amended

March 1997: SP Amended

Summer 2001: SP Evaluation/Analysis: Existing SP evaluated for compliance with numerous overlapping ordinances and regulations.  Land use analysis study conducted.

Fall 2001: Scope of the updated SP warranted the need for a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

October 2001: EIR Notice of Preparation issued to solicit inquiries from key agencies, organizations and individuals.

January 2002 - August 2002: Focus groups and numerous community meetings conducted to obtain neighbor, business owners and community leaders' needs, concerns and comments. Updated SP and EIR prepared, reflecting community input.

May 2002: Screencheck SP and EIR submitted to the City of Orange Planning Dept. for preliminary review and comment.

September 2002: Villa Park Orchards and Sycamore Parking Lot sites added to the SP area and additional environmental analysis on those sites conducted.

September 2002 - January 2003: EIR Notice of Preparation issued for the addition of Villa Park Orchards and Sycamore Parking Lot. Revisions made to SP and EIR documents based on preliminary staff comments. Chapman University conducts its review of SP and EIR.

January 2003 - March 2003: Draft SP and 2nd Screencheck Draft EIR documents submitted to the City's Planning Dept. for review. Small neighborhood meetings conducted with neighbors, business owners and community leaders to obtain additional input.

March 2003: Draft EIR prepared based on City comments.

Spring/Summer 2003: Draft EIR distributed for public review and comment. Responses made to public comments. Final EIR prepared and submitted to City of Orange Planning Dept.

Summer 2003: Planning Commission Hearings conducted, culminating with a vote. SP forwarded to the City Council for review and action.

November 2003: City Council approves updated Specific Plan (SP Amendment No. 5) and certifies the accompanying EIR.

Spring/Summer 2011: Specific Plan Amendment No. 6 and MND prepared, which allows for the Center for the Arts project.

September 2011 - October 2011: MND circulated for 20-day public review.

November 2011: Planning Commission Hearing regarding Specific Plan Amendment No. 6 was held at Orange City Hall culminating in a recommendation for approval to the City Council.

December 2011 & January 2012: City Council Hearings regarding Specific Plan Amendment No. 6 were held. Unanimous approval of Specific Plan Amendment No. 6 by the City Council on January 10, 2012.

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Approved EIR

Click here to view a PDF of the Final Environmental Impact Report.

City of Orange Development Plans

City of Orange Chapman Specific Plans