How does a person know/determine that
an application is required?
Applicants are encouraged to meet with
Community Development Department staff prior to submitting an application. This can be
done by telephone at (805) 781-7170 or by visiting our office at City Hall, 919 Palm
Street, San Luis Obispo. After discussing your project and important development standards
(setbacks, height, parking, landscaping, etc.) that will apply to your project, staff will
be happy to discuss and assist you with the application process. Such a preliminary
meeting will help expedite the development process.
Application packets are available in the Community Development Department. Included with
the packets is a
checklist of the materials that must be submitted for a complete
application, including the
application and applicable processing fee.
Click here to view the
Department's fee schedule
Upon submittal of a completed application package, staff will determine whether the
application is complete. Your application package will then be taken in and assigned to a
planner for processing. You can call within a few days of submitting your application to
determine who the processing planner will be. It is advisable to work closely with that
planner in order to stay advised of the progress of your application.
Review The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that
certain land use actions be reviewed for their potential adverse effects on the
environment. If your project requires this review, you will be notified by staff. A
separate fee is required for environmental review and can be paid at the time you submit
you application package. Upon review of your application, staff will make one of the
following three determinations regarding environmental review: 1) That the project will
not have a significant impact on the environment; or 2) That the project could have a
significant impact on the environment but that certain mitigation measures have been
incorporated into the project to preclude the impacts; or 3) That the project could have a
significant effect on the environment and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be
prepared. To the extent possible, environmental review of your project will occur
concurrently with processing of your planning application, however if an EIR is necessary,
action on the application will be deferred. Please note that many projects that require
permit processing are exempt from environmental review. Check with staff to make sure.
Hearings Most planning decisions involve some level of public review and
input. After the application is determined to be complete, staff will schedule a hearing
before one of several hearing bodies depending on the type of application. Hearings can be
held by the Administrative Hearing Officer, Cultural Heritage Committee, Architectural
Review Commission, Planning Commission, and in some cases the City Council. The hearing
will occur during a regularly scheduled meeting of the commission or council.
No later than 10 days before a
scheduled hearing, a notice announcing the hearing is published in the Telegram Tribune.
Notices are also mailed to near-by property owners, and in some cases occupants.
At the noticed hearing, the project
will be considered. It is strongly recommended that the applicant or their agent be
present at the hearing to explain the proposed project and answer any questions. Any other
concerned persons (such as neighbors of the proposed project) will also be permitted to
address the hearing body with questions, comments, or concerns they may have.
At the meeting, the hearing body will
act to either approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application. Any decision must
be based on specific findings. The hearing body may also choose to delay action on the
application if they feel more information is needed to adequately evaluate the proposal.
Decisions of the Community Development Director or the Administrative Hearing
Officer are appealable to the Planning Commission. Decisions of the Planning Commission
and the Architectural Review Commission are appealable to the City Council. Council
decisions are final. There is a $273.00 fee for filing an appeal, which must be made in
writing within a limited 10 day period following the action. It is important to note that
multiple appeals can be filed and you should never rely on a neighbor or other party for
filing an appeal on your behalf.
Permits Sometimes there will be a need to obtain other permits or approvals
before you can start development. Typically, all construction involves a Building Permit
to be issued. It is highly recommended that you contact the Building and Safety Division
early in the permit process for Building Permit and impact fee requirements.
The Application Form for a
Construction Permit is available in the Community Development Department
as well as a checklist of what your plan details should contain.
Sometimes, you will need to obtain a
permit from an outside agency such as the Department of Fish and Game, Caltrans, Regional
Water Quality Control Board, or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These agencies have
separate requirements and should be consulted early in the permit process. The California
Office of Permit Assistance (COPA) is available to help you with coordination of permits
and environmental processing through State agencies.
Summary It is
important to recognize that all application fees are non-refundable after substantial
processing has occurred, regardless of whether the application is approved, denied, or
expires. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that applicants utilize the preliminary
review option discussed below.
The Community Development Department
will be happy to help you through the application process. Please feel free to contact the Department if you have any questions regarding this
process or if you have any questions regarding planning regulations in San Luis Obispo.