Department Services Update

Updated Monday, July 26, 2021

The Planning & Building Department partially reopened on June 15, 2021. Our services will continue to be provided electronically via email and the Online Permit Center, but limited in-person services will also be offered. Please see below for new ways to access our services.

Counter Services

Customer Service WindowNEW!—Located on the ground floor of 455 County Center on the East Façade, across from 555 County Center. This window will be open for drop-in service from 8 to 4 Monday–Thursday (Closed 12:00–1:00pm, and Fridays). Services available will be limited to:

  • General Questions related to accessing services
  • Checking in for an appointment
  • Assistance with scheduling an appointment
  • Making a payment
  • Hard Copy Plan/Document Drop Off

Counter Service AppointmentsNEW!The Planning & Building counter on the 2nd Floor counter will be open only by appointment only starting June 15th. Make an appointment for a virtual or in-person meeting with a Planner or Building Technician through our Qmatic appointment system. (See instructions for using virtual appointments.)

Phone or Email for Counter Services—Please contact us by phone from 8 to 4 Monday – Thursday (Closed Friday) or anytime via email as shown below:

Access Building Services

Apply for a Building Permit

We are accepting applications for building permits in two ways: 1) via our Accela Online Permit Center, or 2) via Email. Please read on for further instructions.

Online Permit Applications - For a list of permit types accepted on line and to apply online for a building permit, please login or register for a free account at our Online Permit Center.

Email Permit Applications - All other building permit applications must be submitted via email. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Fill out an application form.
  2. Print, sign, scan or e-sign and send as a PDF to buildingcounter@smcgov.org. (Address in the subject line)
  3. Include plans as one PDF and any supporting documents as one PDF; be sure to include the project location address, submittal cycle number (Cycle 1 for initial submittal), and document type (plans, geotechnical report, structural calcs, etc.). For more information on PDF formatting requirements, file naming conventions, and drawing standards, please see the Electronic File Submittal Requirements.
  4. Due to the high volume of project applications, it is taking approximately 5 to 7 working days to log in to our system and assign a permit number. Once a permit number has been assigned, you will be notified by a building permit technician regarding payment of fees and next steps in processing.

Please see the Building Permits page for more detailed information on building permit processing steps, fees, and requirements for different permit types.

Resubmittals and Revisions

Resubmittal - To submit additional information or revised plans in connection with a previously submitted pending permit application, send via email to buildingcounter@smcgov.org. Please be sure to reference project address in the subject line and include the permit number (BLD2020-XXXX), submittal cycle number (2,3, etc.) and document type (plans, structural calcs, etc.).

Revision - To submit revised plans in connection with an issued permit for a project under construction, please send via email to buildingcounter@smcgov.org. Again, include project address in the subject line and include permit number, cycle number, and document type.

Pick Up a Building Permit

Online permits are issued electronically, but other building permits may require that you have an in-person appointment to pick up your permit. When your building permit is ready to be issued, one of the Building Technicians will contact you via email to schedule the appointment.

Schedule a Building Inspection

Beginning July 26, 2021, remote video inspections are suspended and all inspections will be conducted on-site. Inspections are scheduled by calling the Automated Inspection Line at (650) 295-3650. On the day of the inspection, the 3-hour inspection window will be posted on the Automated Inspection Line by 8:00 AM, so please call (650) 295-3650, follow the prompts to enter your permit number, and press option number 5 to get your inspection time.

Access Planning Services

Obtain General Planning Information

Find Your Zoning District – You will need the property address or Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN – preferred) to find out what zoning district your property is in. Please reference the “Find My Zoning District” webpage and use the Planning GIS Map Viewer. If you don’t have the APN and the address doesn’t come up in the GIS, please contact the Planning Counter at planningprojects@smcgov.org.

Find Application Information on Planning Permits – For application information on planning permits, including required forms, fees, process, and timing, please visit our Planning Permits page.

If You Need Additional Information – If you have additional questions about the zoning regulations, permits required, or need additional information related to potential development of the property, please contact the Planning Counter at planningprojects@smcgov.org. In your email, please include the property address or APN (preferred), and specific questions you may have. You may also request a phone call or video conference appointment with a planner if you have many or complex questions. To request an appointment, include “Appointment Request” in the subject line of your email. A planner will contact you within 2 business days to schedule an appointment. Virtual appointments will use Microsoft Teams, a free app for desktop or mobile (compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS). Download Microsoft Teams.

Apply for a Planning Permit

Initial Application - We are accepting applications for planning permits via email only. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Fill out an application form and review the estimated permit fees, process, and timeline on our Planning Permits page.
  2. Print, sign, scan or e-sign the form and send as a PDF to planningprojects@smcgov.org.
  3. Include application materials via a link from a file sharing program or as PDF file attachments to the email. Include plans as one PDF and supporting documents as separate PDFs; be sure to title each PDF with the project location address, submittal cycle number (Cycle 1 for initial submittal), and document type (plans, biological report, etc.). For more information on PDF formatting requirements, file naming conventions, and drawing standards, please see our Electronic File Submittal Requirements.
  4. Your permit application will be assigned to one of our Planners within 2 business days. Your planner will contact you regarding the payment of fees and next steps in processing.

Submitted Application - To submit additional correspondence, information, or revised plans in connection with a previously submitted permit application, send via email to the planner assigned to ther permit; see planners’ email addresses on our contact page. Please be sure to reference the permit number (i.e., PLN2020-01234), project location address, submittal cycle number (2,3, etc., if applicable), and document type (public comment, plans, supplemental reports, etc.).

Code Compliance

We will continue to investigate zoning, building code and other land use regulation violations, with some limitations as necessary to prevent in-person interactions. Priority will be placed on investigating potential violations that impact public health and safety. Please submit complaints via email to: codecomplaint@smcgov.org.

View Public Meetings Remotely

Remote access is established for all public meetings hosted by the Department. For further information on how to access a public meeting, go to the meeting page for the meeting date. Instructions for participation will be posted 7 days prior to the meeting date.

View all upcoming public meetings »

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