Chapter 17.04


17.04.010    Title.

17.04.020    Purpose and intent.

17.04.030    General plan consistency.

17.04.040    Establishment of land use zones.

17.04.050    Conflicts and clarifications.

17.04.060    Existing lots which do not meet minimum dimension or area requirements.

17.04.070    Severability.

17.04.010 Title.

This title is known as the “City of Solana Beach Zoning Ordinance”, hereafter referred to as the zoning ordinance. This title is adopted pursuant to the authority granted to the city of Solana Beach by Section 65800 et seq. of the Government Code of the state of California. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.020 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this title is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare and to preserve and enhance the aesthetic quality of the city of Solana Beach by providing regulations to ensure an appropriate mix of land uses in an orderly manner. More specifically, these standards are intended to:

A. Implement the goals and objectives of the general plan and to guide and manage the future growth of the city in accordance with such plan;

B. Protect and enhance established residential neighborhoods, commercial and industrial districts, open space and recreational amenities;

C. Preserve the traditional scale and seaside orientation of the city and to provide for the reasonable preservation of public and private views;

D. Reduce hazards to the public resulting from the inappropriate location, use, or design of buildings, and other improvements;

E. Maintain and enhance significant environmental resources;

F. Provide for a diversity of areas characterized by differing land use activity and intensity in accordance with comprehensive and orderly land use and resource planning. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.030 General plan consistency.

This title is a primary tool for implementing the goals, objectives and policies of the Solana Beach general plan. No use of land or buildings shall be approved for processing under this title unless it is consistent with the Solana Beach general plan. In any case where there is a conflict in regulation between this title and the land use element of the general plan, the general plan shall prevail. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.040 Establishment of land use zones.

A. Zone Titles. The city of Solana Beach shall be divided into land use zones which consistently implement the general plan. The following zones are established:

Zone Title

Map Designation


Residential Zones

Estate Residential (0 – 2 du/net ac)

ER-1, ER-2

Low Residential (3 du/net ac)


Low Medium Residential (4 du/net ac)


Medium Residential (5 – 7 du/net ac)


Medium High Residential (8 – 12 du/net ac)


High Residential (13 – 20 du/net ac)



Commercial and Industrial Zones

General Commercial


Light Commercial


Special Commercial


Office Professional


Light Industrial



Public Institutional Zone



Agricultural Zone



Open Space/Recreation Zone



Right-of-Way Zone



Overlay/Special Purpose Zones


Floodplain Overlay Zones


Hillside Overlay Zones


Scenic Area Overlay Zone


Scaled Residential Overlay Zone


B. Adoption of Zoning District Map.

1. The boundaries of the land use zones established by this section shall be shown upon the map designated as the “City of Solana Beach Official Zoning Map,” on file with the city clerk, and available at the department of community development. The zoning map, together with all legends, symbols, notations, references, zoning boundaries and other information thereon, shall be a part of the ordinance codified in this title and is adopted concurrently herewith. This map shall be consistent with the adopted general plan land use map.

2. The zoning map and a record of all prior amendments thereto shall be kept on file with the city clerk, and shall constitute the original record. A copy of the currently effective zoning map shall also be kept on file with the department of community development. Changes to the boundaries of any zone shall follow the process outlined in Chapter 17.76 SBMC (Amendments) and shall be reflected on the zoning map.

C. Applicability.

1. The provisions of this title hereby are declared to be in effect upon all properties included within the boundaries of each and every zone established by this title.

2. Any structure or project which was approved or conditionally approved under the provisions of earlier ordinances of the city, but which is in conflict with the provisions of this title, may be constructed in strict accordance with all of the provisions and conditions of the prior approval; and provided, that the applicant complies with all requirements of the approval or conditional approval and has vested the right to proceed by obtaining a building permit and making substantial expenditures in good faith reliance thereon.

3. Distances between structures, or between a structure and any property line, setback line, or other line or location prescribed by this title shall be measured to the exterior face of the nearest wall or vertical support of such structure.

D. Rules Applying to Zoning Boundary Lines. The following rules shall apply in determining the boundaries and applicability of regulations for any zone shown on the zoning map:

1. Wherever a lot or site is divided by a boundary between zones, the regulations applicable within each zone shall be applied separately to each portion of the site in the respective districts. Boundary lines shall be treated as side or rear property lines and setbacks shall be required as appropriate. Residential densities or floor area ratios shall not be averaged across zoning boundaries.

2. Where a zone boundary follows a public street or alley, the centerline of the street shall be the boundary. Where a boundary follows a lot line, the lot line shall be the boundary.

3. Where a zone boundary divides a lot, the location of the zone boundary, unless indicated by dimensions, shall be determined by use of the scale appearing on the zoning map.

4. A symbol, or symbols, indicating the classification of property on the zoning map shall in each instance apply to the whole of the area within the zone boundaries.

5. Where any public right-of-way is officially vacated or abandoned, the land use zone regulations applied to abutting property shall thereafter extend to the centerline of such vacated or abandoned right-of-way.

6. In case any uncertainty exists, the director of community development shall determine the location of the zone boundary. (Ord. 357 § 1, 2007; Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.050 Conflicts and clarifications.

A. Conflict with Other Regulations. Whenever the provisions of this title impose more restrictive regulations upon buildings or structures, or on the use of lands, or require larger open space, yards, or setbacks, or otherwise establish more restrictive regulations than are imposed or required by any other law, title, ordinance, code or regulation, the provisions of this title shall govern.

B. Statutory Authority in Case of Conflicting Provisions. Nothing in this code shall be deemed to affect, annul or abrogate any other ordinances pertaining or applicable to the properties and areas affected by this title. In the event that a conflict does arise, the more restrictive requirement shall apply.

C. Clarification of Ambiguity. If ambiguity arises concerning the appropriate classification of a particular use within the meaning and intent of this title, or if ambiguity exists with respect to matters of height, yard requirements, area requirements, or zone boundaries as set forth herein, it shall be the duty of the planning director to ascertain all pertinent facts and by resolution of record set forth the findings and interpretations.

D. Existing Easements, Covenants, or Agreements. The provisions of this title are not intended to interfere with or void any easements, covenants, or other existing agreements which are more restrictive than the provisions contained in this title. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.060 Existing lots which do not meet minimum dimension or area requirements.

Any lot, parcel, or building site shall be conclusively deemed to meet the minimum dimension or area requirements of the zone in which it is located if:

A. It existed as a legal lot, parcel or building site on December 18, 1989;

B. It has not been used in combination with another lot as a single building site;

C. It did not result from a division of land in violation of state law or city ordinance;

D. It has not been merged with another lot under the provision of SBMC Title 16 (Subdivisions), or any previous zoning ordinance. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)

17.04.070 Severability.

If any chapter, section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this title is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this title. The council hereby declares that it would have adopted each chapter, section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more portions of this code might be declared invalid, and if for any reason portions of this title should be declared invalid, then all other portions of the title shall remain in full force and effect. (Ord. 185 § 2, 1993)