Chapter 17.60
PERMIT APPLICATION FILING AND PROCESSING

Sections:

17.60.010    Purpose.

17.60.020    Authority for land use and zoning decisions.

17.60.030    Concurrent permit processing.

17.60.040    Application preparation and filing.

17.60.050    Indemnification.

17.60.060    Application fees.

17.60.070    Initial application review.

17.60.080    Environmental review.

17.60.090    Staff evaluation and report.

17.60.010 Purpose.

This chapter provides procedures and requirements for the preparation, filing, and initial processing of the planning permit applications required by this land use code. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.020 Authority for land use and zoning decisions.

Table 6-1 identifies the review authority as responsible for reviewing and making decisions on each type of application required by this land use code. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.030 Concurrent permit processing.

If an applicant submits more than one planning permit application for the same project, the applications shall be processed concurrently, with all the permits being considered and acted upon by the highest review authority required by this article for any of the permits. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.040 Application preparation and filing.

A. Preapplication Conference. A prospective applicant is strongly encouraged to request a preapplication conference with the director before completing and filing a planning permit application. The purpose of this conference is to generally:

1. Inform the applicant in general of city requirements as they apply to the proposed project;

2. Review the city’s approval and design review process;

3. Identify the application or applications which the project applicant will need to file with the city in order to implement the project and to receive feedback on potential issues to be addressed;

4. Identify the information and materials the city will require with the application, and any necessary technical studies and information relating to the environmental review of the project; and

5. Clarify the timeline and necessary steps to achieve project entitlement:

a. Provide a determination of application completeness, and a determination of which departments will need to review the project.

b. Determine the applicability of exemptions, including ministerial permits, which may be applicable under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

c. Provide written feedback to the applicant reflecting initial comments from the department heads of all affected city departments as quickly as possible but within a maximum of thirty days.

Neither the preapplication review nor the provision of information and/or pertinent policies shall be construed as either a recommendation for approval or denial of the application or project by any city staff. Any failure by city staff to identify all required studies or all applicable requirements does not constitute a waiver of those requirements.

B. Application Contents. Each application for a permit, amendment, or other matter pertaining to this land use code shall be filed with the department on a city application form, together with required fees and/or deposits, and all other information and materials required by the city’s list of required application contents, as provided by the director. Applicants are encouraged to contact the director before submitting an application to verify which materials are necessary for application filing.

C. Eligibility for Filing. An application may only be filed by the owner of the site that is the subject of the application, or other person with the written consent of the property owner.

Table 6-1

Planning Permit Review Authority 

Type of Decision

Applicable Land Use Code Section

Role of Review Authority(1)

Design Review Administration

Director

Planning Commission

City Council

Administrative and Legislative

Interpretation

17.12

 

Decision(2)

Appeal

Appeal

Development Agreement

17.66

 

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

General Plan Amendment

 

 

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Specific Plan

 

 

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Zoning Map Amendment

 

 

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Land Use Code Amendment

 

 

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Planning Permit/Development Approval

Preapplication Conference

17.60.040(A)

 

Feedback

 

 

Zoning Clearance

17.62.020

 

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Minor Use Permit (MUP)

17.62.050

 

Decision(2)

Appeal

Appeal

Use Permit (UP)

17.62.050

 

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Minor Variance

17.62.060

 

Decision(2)

Appeal

Appeal

Variance

17.62.060

 

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Design Review – Single dwelling

17.62.040

 

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Design Review – All other projects

17.62.040

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Limited Term Permit

17.62.030

 

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Sign Permit or Master Sign Plan

17.38.030

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Master Sign Plan

17.38.030

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Tree Permit – Developed parcel

17.54

 

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Tree Permit – Undeveloped parcel

17.54

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Appeal

Tree Permit – Native oak

17.54

Recommend

Recommend

Recommend

Decision

Notes:

(1)    “Recommend” means that the review authority makes a recommendation to a higher decisionmaking body; “Decision” means that the review authority makes the final decision on the matter; “Appeal” means that the review authority may consider and decide upon appeals to the decision of an earlier decisionmaking body, in compliance with Chapter 17.84 (Appeals). “Feedback” means that the director shall issue a letter addressing those issues outlined in subsection A of this section.

(2)    The director may defer action and refer the request to the commission, so that the commission may instead make the decision.

(Ord. 895 § 2(A) Exh. 2 (part), 2020: Ord. 885 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2019: Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.050 Indemnification.

A. Indemnification Agreement Requirement. Each application for a planning permit shall include an agreement by the property owner or authorized applicant, that the property owner or authorized applicant, their successors and assigns, will defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the city and its agents, officers, attorneys, and employees from any claim, action, or proceeding (collectively referred to here as “proceeding”) brought against the city or its agents, officers, attorneys or employees within the applicable statute of limitations to:

1. Attack, set aside, void, or annul any action approving an application (including any action to provide environmental clearance in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)), by city staff, any city planning or advisory agency, any city appeal board, or the city council; or

2. Seek damages for property damage or personal injuries resulting from development authorized by the city pursuant to the application.

B. Form and Content of Agreement. The indemnification agreement shall be in a form acceptable to the city attorney, and indemnification shall include:

1. Damages, fees and/or costs awarded against the city, if any, and cost of suit, attorney’s fees, and other damages, costs, liabilities and/or expenses incurred in connection with the application or any development authorized pursuant to the application, whether incurred by the applicant, the city, any party initiating or bringing the proceeding, and/or any other party; and

2. A provision obligating the property owner or authorized applicant, their successors and assigns, to indemnify the city for all of the city’s costs, fees, and damages that the city incurs in enforcing the indemnification provisions of this section and/or the agreement’s indemnification provisions.

C. Additional Indemnification Required. At the time of filing an application, the applicant shall agree as part of the application, that the applicant, their successors and assigns, will defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city, its agents, officers, employees and attorneys for all costs incurred in additional investigation or study of, or for supplementing, redrafting, revising, or amending any document (including an EIR, negative declaration, specific plan, or general plan amendment) if made necessary by the proceeding, and if the applicant desires to pursue securing the planning permit or approval and/or legislative act, after initiation of the proceeding, which is conditioned on the approval of the document.

D. Indemnification Applicable if Applicant Fails or Refuses to Enter Into Agreement. Even if the applicant for a discretionary approval described in subsection A of this section fails or refuses to enter into the agreement specified in subsections A, B, and C of this section, that the applicant, or the owner of the site if different from the applicant, their successors and assigns, whether in whole or in part, shall, as a condition to any of the approvals specified in this chapter:

1. Defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city and its agents, officers, attorneys and employees from any claim, action, or proceeding (collectively referred to as “proceeding”) brought against the city or its agents, officers, attorneys or employees to attack, set aside, void, or annul the Council’s (or commission’s) decision to approve any development or planning permit, license, approval or authorization, or general plan amendment, zoning amendment, approvals and certifications under CEQA and/or any mitigation monitoring program, but excluding any subdivision approval governed by Government Code Section 66474.9. This indemnification shall include damages, fees and/or costs awarded against the city, if any, and cost of suit, attorneys’ fees, and other costs, liabilities and expenses incurred in connection with such proceeding whether incurred by applicant, the city, and/or the parties initiating or bringing the proceeding;

2. Defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city, its agents, officers, employees and attorneys for all costs incurred in additional investigation and/or study of, or for supplementing, preparing, redrafting, revising, or amending any document (e.g., a negative declaration, EIR, specific plan or general plan amendment), if made necessary by the proceeding and if applicant desires to pursue securing these approvals, after initiation of such proceeding, which are conditioned on the approval of such documents; and

3. Indemnify the city for all the city’s costs, fees, and damages which the city incurs in enforcing the indemnification provisions set forth in this section.

E. City Notice if Proceeding Filed. In the event that a proceeding described in subsection A of this section is brought against and served on the city, the city shall promptly notify the owner and the authorized applicant of the existence of the proceeding and the city will cooperate fully in the defense of the proceeding. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the city from participating in the defense of any proceeding.

F. City Reservation of Rights. In the event that the owner or authorized applicant is required to defend the city in connection with any action proceeding described in this section, the city shall retain the right to approve:

1. The counsel to defend the city;

2. All significant decisions concerning the manner in which the defense is conducted; and

3. Any and all settlements, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.

The city shall also have the right not to participate in the defense, except that the city agrees to cooperate with the applicant in the defense of the proceeding. If the city chooses to have counsel of its own defend any proceeding where the applicant has already retained counsel to defend the city in such matters, the fees and expenses of the counsel selected by the city shall be paid by the city. Notwithstanding the above, if the city attorney’s office participates in the defense, all city attorney fees and costs shall be paid by the applicant. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.060 Application fees.

A. Fees for Application Processing. Each applicant for a planning permit processed in compliance with this chapter shall be required to pay all costs incurred by the city for the processing of each application. The council shall establish a schedule of fees for the processing of the applications required by this land use code, hereafter referred to as the city’s fee schedule.

B. Multiple Applications. The fees required by the city’s fee schedule to initiate application processing are cumulative. For example, if a proposed project requires the approval of both a use permit and a variance, the fee for both applications will be required.

C. Timing of Payment. No application shall be deemed complete, and processing shall not commence on any application until all required fees have been paid.

D. Refunds and Withdrawals. The required application fees and charges for processing cover city costs for public hearings, mailings, staff and consultant time, and other costs incurred in the processing of applications. Therefore, no refund due to a disapproval at the conclusion of the process shall be allowed. However, any excess deposits shall be returned, and in the case of a withdrawal, the director may authorize a partial refund based upon the prorated costs to-date and the status of the application at the time of withdrawal. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.070 Initial application review.

A. Review for Completeness. The director shall review each application for completeness and accuracy before it is accepted as being complete and officially filed. The director’s determination of completeness shall be based on the city’s list of required application contents (see Section 17.60.040(B) of this chapter), and any additional instructions provided to the applicant in any preapplication conference.

1. Notification of Applicant. As required by Government Code Section 65943, within thirty calendar days of application filing, the applicant shall be informed in writing, either that the application is complete and has been accepted for processing, or that the application is incomplete and that additional information, specified in the director’s letter, must be provided.

2. Appeal of Determination. Where the director has determined that an application is incomplete, and the applicant believes that the application is complete and/or that the information requested by the director is not required, the applicant may appeal the determination in compliance with Chapter 17.84 (Appeals) of this title.

3. Time for Submittal of Additional Information. When an application is incomplete, the time used by the applicant to submit the required additional information shall not be considered part of the time within which the determination of completeness shall occur. The time available to an applicant for submittal of additional information is limited by subsection (A)(4) of this section.

4. Expiration of Application. If an applicant fails to provide the additional information specified in the director’s letter within six months after the first filing with the department, the application shall expire and be deemed withdrawn. The director may grant one six-month extension if requested in writing by the applicant prior to the date of expiration. After the expiration of an application, project approval shall require the submittal of a new, complete application, together with all required deposits and/or fees.

5. Environmental Information. After an application has been accepted as complete, the director may require the applicant to submit additional information needed for the environmental review of the project in compliance with Section 17.60.080 (Environmental review) of this chapter.

B. Referral. At the discretion of the director, or where otherwise required by this land use code or state or federal law, an application may be referred to any public agency that may be affected by or have an interest in the proposed project. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.080 Environmental review.

A. After acceptance of a complete application, the project shall be reviewed as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), to determine whether the project is exempt from the requirements of CEQA or is not a project as defined by CEQA, whether a negative declaration may be issued, or whether an environmental impact report (EIR) shall be required.

B. All city actions regarding initial studies, negative declarations, environmental impact reports, and all other matters subject to CEQA shall comply with all applicable requirements of CEQA. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).

17.60.090 Staff evaluation and report.

A. Staff Evaluation. The director shall review all discretionary applications filed in compliance with this article to determine whether they comply and are consistent with the provisions of this land use code, other applicable provisions of the municipal code, the general plan, and any applicable specific plan.

B. Staff Report. The director shall provide a written recommendation to the commission and/or council (as applicable) on whether the application should be approved, approved subject to conditions, or denied.

C. Report Distribution. Each staff report shall be furnished to the applicant at the same time as it is provided to applicable review authority prior to a hearing on the application. (Ord. 766 § 2 Exh. A (part), 2004).