Current Planning Division

The Current Planning Division of the Community Development Department is responsible for the day to day administration of the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance. Administration of the ordinances includes clearing requests for Business Licenses, clearing building permit requests for zoning compliance, analyzing and writing reports for discretionary approvals at various authority levels including the Planning Commission, monitoring development for compliance with approvals or regulations, and protecting trees on private property.

The Planning Division is also responsible for Community Design through administration and use of the City's Residential Design Guidelines, and Historic Preservation through the use of Mills Act Contracts with the City.

The Planning Commission, the Design Commission, the Green Task Force and the Water Committee are all staffed by personnel from this Division.

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This is a list of some of the applications the Planning Division receives, reviews and processes. The applicant’s guide and packet of forms for each can be downloaded from the Planning Division Forms Section.

HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT PERMIT (HDP) is designed to preserve open space, ensure that hillside projects are consistent with appropriate development in surrounding areas and require that new residential development is carried out in a manner which promotes and enhances public safety and general welfare and does not disrupt the City’s hillside character. The thresholds, standards and guidelines contained in the Ordinance apply to all residential development projects on lots with an average slope of 15% or more.

SECOND FLOOR REVIEW (SFR) is required for any residence that plans to build a new 2-story structure, add a second story to an existing 1-story house, or add more floor area to an existing second floor. There are three levels of review, including two by the Director of Community Development, and one by the Planning Commission. All approvals are subject to the Residential Design Guidelines.

CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP) is required for new structures or land uses which are not permitted by right in the applicable zone, but which may be allowed after being reviewed by the Planning Commission. The Commission may place conditions on the operation or development of the use or structure, such as limited hours of operation, maximum number of persons, dedications, etc.

SETBACK MODIFICATION (MOD) is required to allow construction within the required front, rear and side yard areas of a lot. A preliminary meeting with staff will determine whether you qualify for the Administrative route, which means staff will review and make a determination. The regular Setback Modification requires Planning Commission approval.

TENTATIVE TRACT MAP (TTM) or TENTATIVE PARCEL MAP (TPM) is required to allow land to be divided. When five or more residential lots are requested to be created, by State Law, a Tentative Tract Map is required. When a request for a land division to create four or fewer residential lots, or to subdivide most commercial lots are requested, a Tentative Parcel Map is required. A Tentative Map application is reviewed by the Planning Commission, and in the case of vesting maps, by the City Council. The Planning Commission will establish conditions relating to the development of the lots and the provision of public services.

DESIGN COMMISSION REVIEW (DR) is to encourage attractive and harmonious development of commercial and multifamily residential properties, and to ensure that development does not negatively impact adjoining properties or the community. It is required for non-residential projects; residential planned development projects; city projects requiring a building permit; and projects referred by the Planning Commission or City Council. DESIGN REVIEW – SIGN ONLY is designed to maintain and improve the aesthetic appearance of Foothill Boulevard. Any sign that is new, or an existing sign which is to have a change of copy, color, material, size, or location must receive approval from either the Director of Community Development, the Design Commission, or the Planning Commission.

GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (GPA) is necessary to modify text in the General Plan or change any designations on the General Plan Land Use Map. For example, if a property owner wanted to change the use of his property from residential to commercial, a General Plan Amendment would initially be necessary. General Plan Amendment requests are usually filed concurrently with other requests (Change of zone, Conditional Use Permit, etc.) and are reviewed through the public hearing process by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Approval of General Plan amendments is strictly a policy decision of the City Council.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENTS (LLA) allow for changes to boundaries between separate, adjacent lots. Under State Law, Lot Line Adjustments are limited to four or fewer lots. Adjustments of more than four lots require filing a tentative map. No new lots may be created by a Lot Line Adjustment. All zoning standards, including minimum lot size must be met for a Lot Line Adjustment to be approved. Lot Line Adjustments receive ministerial review by the Planning Commission as a Consent Calendar item.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS PERMIT (TP) is required for all Personal Wireless Service Facilities sites built or modified after November 15, 2001. It does not apply to private, residential citizen band radio towers, amateur radio towers, television antennas or private residential dish antennas less than one meter in diameter.

VARIANCE (VAR) is a limited exception to the usual requirements of the Zoning Ordinance for new structures or additions which cannot meet required development standards for size, shape, or topographic reasons. Variances may be granted only for specific reasons including unusual physical characteristics of the property. The Planning Commission reviews variances and any approval may require conditions for the project and the resulting land use.

ZONE CHANGE (ZC) request is generally for a change in the land use as designated on the Zoning Map to allow for a use that is not permitted in the current zone. A Zone Change request may also address a permanent change to development standard contained in the Zoning Ordinance. Such requests raise significant land use issues and must be reviewed by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Typically, a Zone Change request must be accompanied by a specific development proposal.

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE (C of C). Lots in the City which were created without going through the subdivision map process required by the Subdivision Map Act, are shown on the tax assessor’s maps as “dash line” parcels. State law requires that Certificates of Compliance be recorded for these lots before building permits can be issued for any project. This is required whether or not the current owner and/or building permit applicant owned the property at the time it was subdivided or had knowledge of the subdivision action.