Land Use

Land Use Element

How we develop, use and arrange our land is critical to achieving the Ontario Vision. Land is a finite and valuable resource. How we use it becomes a key factor in the City’s economic future. As stewards of the land, the City must plan for uses and development that adds value to the community in terms of function, design, and fiscal return. We are steadfast in our Vision, but the Policy Plan is flexible enough to accommodate the evolution of development types.

We desire Ontario to have distinct neighborhoods and activity centers, corridors, and districts; diversity of residential, employment, retail, entertainment, community, and recreational services; and a world-class airport which are connected through a unified mobility system. The Land Use Element reflects Ontario’s Vision to be a complete community


The Land Use Element:

  • Designates the distribution, location, and balance of land uses.
  • Describes the desired build-out of Ontario
  • Describes building intensity standards for each land use.
  • Communicates population density.
  • Ensures compatibility between land uses.


The City believes:

  • Development that supports the Vision will strengthen the City’s economy.
  • New growth will enhance the quality of life in the entire community, including our existing neighborhoods.
  • Land uses and development should be consistent with the Vision while protecting the quality of life in existing neighborhoods.
  • Our development review process should incorporate flexible standards to achieve our Vision.
  • The way land is used and developed will determine our revenue base and expenditures.

Interactive Maps

Land Use Element Web Map Figures


LU Land Use Element Sections

LU-1 Balance

Ontario is poised to experience extraordinary growth. Achieving this growth in a manner that is consistent with our Vision requires a delicate balancing act. For instance, the City must balance the benefits and impacts of being a regional urban and transportation hub with the livability of our neighborhoods.

As an active participant in regional planning, Ontario contributes to the regional jobs-housing balance by providing significant office, industrial and retail employment opportunities while focusing this growth strategically to minimize development impacts on established neighborhoods.

LU-1 A community that has a spectrum of housing types and price ranges that match the jobs in the City and that make it possible for people to live and work in Ontario and maintain a quality of life.

Strategic Growth. We concentrate growth in strategic locations that help create place and identity, maximize available and planned infrastructure, foster the development of transit, and support the expansion of the active and multimodal transportation networks throughout the City. (Link to Mobility Element Policies M2-M-2.1, M3-M-3.3; Community Design Element Image and Identity Section; Community Design Policies CD-3.1, CD-3.3, CD-3.6)


Sustainable Community Strategy. We integrate state, regional, and local Sustainable Community/Smart Growth principles into the development and entitlement process.

LU-1.3 Adequate Capacity. We require adequate infrastructure and services for all development.
LU-1.4 Multimodal Mobility. We require development and urban design, where appropriate, that reduces reliance on the automobile and capitalizes on active transportation, transit, electric vehicles, and multimodal transportation opportunities (Link to Mobility Element Policies M-2.1, M-3.3; Community Design Element Policy CD-2.6, CD-3.1, CD-3.3, CD3.6).
LU-1.5 Jobs-Housing Balance. We coordinate land use, infrastructure, and transportation planning and analysis with regional, county, and other local agencies to further regional and subregional goals for jobs-housing balance. (Link to Community Economics Element Policy CE-1.1; Mobility Element Policy M-1.6)
LU-1.6 Complete Community. We incorporate a variety of land uses and building types in our land use planning efforts that result in a complete community where residents at all stages of life, employers, workers, and visitors have a wide spectrum of choices of where they can live, work, shop and recreate within Ontario. (Link to Community Economics Element Complete Community Section; Community Design Element Urban, Mixed Use, and Transit-oriented Place Types Section)
LU-1.7 Revenues and Costs. We require future amendments to our Land Use Plan to be accompanied by analyses of fiscal impacts. (Link to Community Economics Policy CE-3.2)


LU-2 Compatibility

The Land Use Plan provides for a wide range of land uses, including residential, industrial, office, and commercial. Some land use designations and the uses permitted within them are compatible, while others have the potential to create adverse impacts. The City utilizes land use regulations, site planning, and design controls to achieve compatibility.

LU-2 Compatibility between a wide range of uses and resultant urban patterns and forms.

Land Use Decisions. We minimize adverse impacts on adjacent properties when considering land use and zoning requests.


Buffers. We require new uses to provide mitigation or buffers between existing uses where potential adverse impacts could occur. Additional mitigation is required when new uses could negatively impact environmental justice areas. (Link to Community Design Element)

LU-2.3 Hazardous Uses. We regulate the development of industrial and similar uses that use, store, produce, or transport toxic substances, air emissions, other pollutants, or hazardous materials. (Link to Safety Element Hazardous Materials & Waste Section, including Policies S-6.4 and S-6.5)
LU-2.4 Regulation of Nuisances. We regulate the location, concentration, and operation of potential nuisances.
LU-2.5 Regulation of Uses. We regulate the location, concentration, and operation of uses that have impacts on surrounding land uses.
LU-2.6 Infrastructure Compatibility. We require infrastructure to be aesthetically pleasing and in context with the community character.
LU-2.7 Inter-jurisdictional Coordination. We maintain an ongoing liaison with ONT,  Caltrans, Public Utilities Commission, the railroads, and other agencies to help minimize impacts and improve the operations and aesthetics of their facilities.
LU-2.8 Transitional Areas. We require development in transitional areas to protect the quality of life of current residents.
LU-2.9 Methane Gas Sites. We require sensitive land uses and new uses on former dairy farms or other methane-producing sites be designed to minimize health risks.
LU-2.10 Sensitive Uses. We monitor and share information with the community about stationary and non-stationary emission sources. We encourage siting and design of facilities to minimize health and safety risks on existing and proposed sensitive uses, especially in environmental justice areas.
LU-2.11 Context-Aware Transitions and Connections. We require new development projects and land-planning efforts to provide context-aware and appropriate transitions and connections between existing and planned neighborhoods, blocks, sites, and buildings. (Link to Community Design Element Policies CD-1.1, CD-1.3, CD-3.4)
LU-3 Flexibility

Our Policy Plan and implementing regulations are designed to focus growth in key areas; however, they cannot address every situation. In order to take advantage of opportunities or remove impediments to achieving our Vision of a complete community, we need the ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions and innovative development proposals. This is accomplished through our planning incentive program and flexible application of development standards.

LU-3 Staff, regulations and processes that support and allow flexible response to conditions and circumstances in order to achieve the Vision.

Development Standards. We maintain clear development standards which allow flexibility to achieve our Vision and provide objective standards that ensure predictability and deliver the intended physical outcomes.  (Link to Community Design Element Design Quality and Urban, Mixed Use, and Transit-oriented Place Types Sections)


Design Incentives. We offer design incentives to help projects achieve the Vision. (Link to Community Design Element)

LU-3.3 Land Use Flexibility. We consider uses not typically permitted within a land use category if doing so improves livability, reduces vehicular trips, creates community gathering places and activity nodes, and helps create identity.
LU-4 Phased Growth

As we progress, we will face development decisions that require us to balance short and long-term costs and benefits. In some cases, conditions necessary for development of the type and scale that fully realizes our Vision may be years in the future. But opportunities that can add immediate value may present themselves. We will allow interim development in our growth areas, provided it can be modified or replaced when circumstances for development more reflective of our Vision are right. We will not allow development that impedes, precludes, or compromises our ability to achieve our Vision.

LU-4 Development that provides short-term value only when the opportunity to achieve our Vision can be preserved.

Commitment to Vision. We are committed to achieving our Vision but realize that it may take time and several interim steps to get there.


Interim Development. We allow development in urban, mixed use, and transit-oriented Place Types that is not immediately reflective of our ultimate Vision for the Place Type, provided it can be modified or replaced when circumstances are right to support development aligned with the Place Type Vision. We will not allow development that impedes, precludes, or compromises our ability to achieve our Vision. (Link to Community Economics Element Policy CE-2.3; Community Design Element Policy CD-1.2; Community Design Element Urban, Mixed Use, and Transit-oriented Place Types section).

LU-4.3 Infrastructure Timing. We require that the necessary infrastructure and services be in place prior to or concurrently with development.
LU-4.4 Shared Infrastructure. We encourage and facilitate the use of shared infrastructure (including shared or managed parking) in urban, mixed use, and transit-oriented Place Types. (Link to Community Design Element Policy CD-3.6)
LU-5 Airport Planning

Airports play a significant role in regional and local economies providing critical services such as business travel, tourism, and emergency response.  The City benefits from having two airports in close proximity, Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Chino Airport, and is responsible for implementing measures to ensure their orderly expansion while protecting the public from excessive noise and safety hazards.  ONT and Chino Airport are part of a national aviation transportation system that is overseen by federal, state and local governments.

ONT is a medium-hub commercial airport. Centrally located within the City, ONT is the single most prominent land use in Ontario.  Chino Airport, a general aviation airport, is located outside the City along the southern boundary. This section addresses the impacts of the airports.

LU-5 Integrated airport systems and facilities that minimize negative impacts to the community and maximize economic benefits.

Coordination with Airport Authorities. We collaborate with FAA, Caltrans Division of Aeronautics, airport owners, neighboring jurisdictions, and other shareholders in the preparation, update, and maintenance of airport-related plans.


Airport Planning Consistency. We coordinate with airport authorities to ensure The Ontario Plan is consistent with state law, federal regulations, and/or adopted master plans, and airport land use compatibility plans for ONT and Chino Airport.

LU-5.3 Airport Impacts. We work with agencies to maximize resources to mitigate the impacts and hazards related to airport operations – their homes.
LU-5.4 ONT Growth Forecast. We support and promote an ONT that accommodates 30 million annual passengers and 1.6 million tons of cargo per year, as long as the impacts associated with that level of operations are planned for and mitigated.
LU-5.5 Airport Compatibility Planning for ONT. We create and maintain the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan for ONT.
LU-5.6 Alternative Process. We fulfill our responsibilities and comply with state law with regard to the Alternative Process for proper airport land use compatibility planning.
LU-5.7 ALUCP Consistency with Land Use Regulations. We comply with state law that requires general plans, specific plans, and all new development to be consistent with the policies and criteria set forth within an Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan for any public-use airport.
LU-5.8 Chino Airport. We will support the creation and implementation of the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan for Chino Airport.

Downloadable Files