Steps in the Planning Permit Process
If a planning or zoning permit is required, it generally needs to be processed prior to application of a building or construction permit. The Planning Section of the Planning and Building Department processes these permits. When mul tiple permits are required (e.g., Coastal Development Permit and Design Review P ermit), the longer permit processing time and higher level decision-making body wou ld apply to the concurrent processing of associated permits. In reviewing and process ing your permit application, the assigned planner will generally complete the follo wing steps:
1. Initial Application Review
The planner reviews your project to determine whet her your application is complete. During this stage, the planner:
- Determines whether your project conforms with the County's General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and other regulations.
- Solicits comments and recommendations from review agencies (relative to their regulations) and applicable homeown ers associations or community groups.
- Discusses your project with a development review committee of senior staff members.
The County has 30 days after receiving your application to notify you if you must provide any additional materials or inf ormation before your application can be processed.
2. Advisory Body Review
Advisory Body Review required for projects in the MidCoast and in Pescadero. Review by the Agricultural Advisory Committee is required for projects within the Planned Agricultural District Zoning District.
3. Environmental Review
This review ensures that your project complies with requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and evaluates its potential impact on the environment. If the project does not qualify for an exemption, an Initial Study/Negative Declaration must be prepared, additional fees are required, and an additional 2-3 months should be added to estimated permit processing times. For projects with complex or unmitigated environmental impacts, an Environmental Impact Report may be required, additional fees are required, and an additional 6 -12 months should be added to estimated permit processing times.
4. Public Notification
A public notice is mailed to owners of property within a 300-ft. radius and residents within a 100-ft. radius of the subject property.
5. Permit Decision
A permit decision is made at a public hearing by the County Zoning Hearing Officer or Planning Commission. A public hearing allows the public to provide information, comments and suggestions on your project before the County makes a decision.
6. Appeal Period
A decision by the County Zoning Hearing Officer is appealable to the Planning Commission. A decision by the Planning Commission is appealable to the Board of Supervisors. An approval decision by the Board of Supervisors is appealable to the California Coastal Commission.