WHEN IS A PROJECT APPLICATION NECESSARY?
Any project that is not eligible for same-day approval at the Planning Counter must submit a Project Application. This includes any Building Permit Application that requires an intake for Planning Department review, including for environmental evaluation, and any application for a development entitlement
Development entitlements refer to any approval action by the Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, or Zoning Administrator that is required by the Planning Code before a project may secure a Building Permit. Examples include a Conditional Use Authorization, Downtown Project Authorization, or Variance. Environmental evaluation refers to projects subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); these are primarily actions that require a discretionary decision by the City.
First, start by checking how the zoning regulations influence the value of your property.
BEFORE YOU APPLY
You have to go though a Pre-Application Meeting. The following types of projects require a Pre-Application Meeting, provided that the scope of work is subject to Planning Code Section 311 Notification. When requested, Pre-Application meeting must be prior to filing the first Planning entitlement application (i.e. Conditional Use Authorization, Variance, Building Permit).
• Projects subject to 311 Notification;
• New Construction;
• Any vertical addition of 7 feet or more;
• Any horizontal addition of 10 feet or more;
• Decks over 10 feet above grade or within the required rear yard;
• All Formula Retail uses subject to a Conditional Use Authorization;
• Community Business Priority Processing (CB3P); and
• Projects in PDR-1-B Districts subject to Section 313.
California offers the option go through a streamlined permit process if the homeowners add more units on their single-family property. You can out if your project is eligible for the streamline permitting process under Senate Bill 9 (SB9) and how much you could build on the property by going through this check list.
How to get permits fast?
HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA)
This step only applies to projects that propose a) 10 or more new dwelling units; b) creation or expansion of any group housing use; and/or c) construction of a new non-residential building or addition of 10,000 square feet or more. For more information, see the PPA Informational Packet.
1. If applicable, a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA) application must be submitted and the PPA letter must be issued before any Development Application (including for Environmental Evaluation) will be accepted.
2. Within 60 days of receiving a complete PPA application, Planning will issue a PPA letter identifying key planning code compliance, environmental review, policy, and design considerations for the proposed project. Applicants may request one follow-up meeting with Planning staff.
3. Once a PPA letter has been issued, applicants may file a Project Application for the project. The project should reflect the guidance provided in the PPA to the extent possible. Please note that PPA letters are valid for 18 months after issuance. Applicants seeking to submit a Project Application more than 18 months after PPA issuance will likely be required to submit a new PPA application.
Project Application Review and Approval
1. Within 30 days, Planning will determine whether a Project Application submittal is complete or incomplete. Incomplete applications will be held until all required materials are provided. Once an application is complete, the application will be deemed Accepted.
2. Within 90 days of the accepted date, Planning will issue a first Plan Check Letter identifying the specific outstanding Planning Code and environmental review issues with the project, and any other required materials or applications.
3. Once the requested applicant provides all materials, additional applications, and project modifications, Planning will determine whether this response to the first Plan Check Letter is complete or incomplete within 30 days.
4. Once a complete response has been received, the project will have a Stable Project Description. For Housing Projects only (those adding two or more net new units) will be assigned a Target Hearing Date within 6 to 22 months, depending on the level of environmental review. Note that the 6 month time frame applies to a project for which no CEQA review is required; 9 months for a Categorical Exemption or other exemption; 12 months for a Negative Declaration (ND), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), or Community Plan Evaluation (CPE); 18 months for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR); or 22 months for a complex EIR.
5. All other required hearings for the project (e.g. Historic Preservation Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission), environmental review, and any requested project modifications will be completed prior to the Target Hearing Date, at which time – or sooner if possible – the project may be approved or disapproved by the Planning Commission or Planning Department.