San Diego County’s first complete upgrade in 30 years of its growth and development plans took its biggest step yet Friday when it was endorsed by the San Diego County Planning Commission.

The General Plan Update will take its final step this fall when it is brought to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for consideration.

“This action represents a huge milestone for our General Plan Update,” said Eric Gibson, director of the County’s Department of Planning and Land Use. “Now we can work toward bringing this important plan to our Board of Supervisors this fall.”

General Plans guide community development. Generally, they set the philosophy and policies that determine what gets built where — how communities will accommodate growth while preserving character and protecting what the community values.

The General Plan Update would improve the County’s current General Plan by balancing growth with the need to limit traffic congestion, protect the environment and reduce the need to expand infrastructure and essential services. The Update would accomplish that in part by redistributing 20 percent of future growth to western unincorporated communities with established infrastructure such as such as roads, fire protection and sewer services.

The draft General Plan Update was developed with broad public input from builders, business owners, environmentalists, farmers, industry professionals, homeowners, landowners and renters.