Division V. Planning Permit Procedures

This division describes each type of land use and development permit required by the development code and the city’s requirements for the preparation, filing, processing, and approval or disapproval of each permit application. The division also sets time limits for the establishment of a land use or commencement of development as authorized by an approved permit, and provides for permit time extensions when needed.

Chapter 19.52
APPLICATIONS: FILING AND PROCESSING

Sections:

19.52.010    Purpose of division.

19.52.020    Authority for land use and zoning decisions.

19.52.030    Concurrent permit processing.

19.52.040    Application preparation and filing.

19.52.050    Application fees.

19.52.060    Initial application review.

19.52.070    Environmental assessment.

19.52.080    Staff report and recommendations.

19.52.010 Purpose of division.

This division provides procedures and requirements for the preparation, filing and processing of applications for the planning permits required by this development code. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.020 Authority for land use and zoning decisions.

Table 5-1, Review Authority for Planning Permits, identifies the city official or body responsible for reviewing and making decisions on each type of application, planning permit and other approval required by this development code. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.030 Concurrent permit processing.

When a single project incorporates different land uses or features so that this development code requires multiple planning permit applications, all the applications shall be reviewed concurrently, to the extent feasible. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.040 Application preparation and filing.

A. Preapplication Review. Prospective applicants and agents are encouraged to request a pre-application review prior to completion of project design and the formal submittal of a permit application. A request by an applicant for preapplication review, accompanied by preliminary project plans and designs, will be reviewed by the city’s project advisory committee (PAC). The PAC will inform the applicant of city requirements as they apply to the proposed development project, provide a preliminary list of issues that will likely be of concern during formal application review, suggest possible alternatives or modifications to the project, based on identified development standards and other adopted policies and regulations, and identify technical studies that may be necessary for the environmental review process when a formal application is filed.

B. Planning Commission Study Session. Prospective applicants and agents considering development applications that are large, complex, or potentially controversial, are encouraged to request a study session with the planning commission prior to or immediately following the submittal of a formal application. Such sessions are structured so as to provide an opportunity for a free dialog between an applicant and the planning commission in order to explore issues and alternatives related to site design, building massing and architecture, environmental mitigation, and other planning issues at an early stage of project review.

C. Application Contents. Applications for planning permits, amendments (e.g., General Plan, zoning map and development code) and other matters pertaining to this development code shall be filed with the division using the forms provided by the division. Applications shall include all information and materials required by the application content requirements list provided by the division for the specific type of application (i.e., conditional use permit, variance, or others).

D. Eligibility for Filing. Applications may be made by the owner of the subject property, or by a lessee or any other person, with the consent of the property owner. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.050 Application fees.

The council shall, by resolution, establish a schedule of fees for permits, amendments, and other matters pertaining to this development code. The schedule of fees may be changed or modified only by resolution of the council. The city’s processing fees are cumulative, unless otherwise specified in the city fee resolution. Processing shall not commence on any application until all required fees have been paid. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.060 Initial application review.

All applications filed with the city planner in compliance with this development code shall be initially processed as follows:

A. Completeness Review. The city planner shall review all applications for completeness and accuracy before they are accepted as being complete.

1. Notification of Applicant. The applicant shall be informed, as required by the Government Code, either that the application is complete and has been accepted for processing, or that the application is incomplete and that additional information shall be provided. All additional information needed shall be specified in the letter providing notice of an incomplete application.

2. Appeal of Determination. Where the city planner has determined that an application is incomplete, and the applicant believes that the application is complete and/or that the information requested by the city planner is not required, the applicant may appeal the determination in compliance with Chapter 19.84 SMC, Appeals.

3. Environmental Information. The city planner may require the applicant to submit additional information needed for the environmental review of the project in compliance with SMC 19.52.070, Environmental assessment.

4. Expiration of Application. If the applicant does not provide sufficient information to complete an application within six months after the first filing with the city planner, the application shall be deemed withdrawn. A new application, including fees, plans, exhibits and other materials that are required to commence processing of any development project on the same property, must then be filed in compliance with this division before processing will begin.

B. Referral of Application. At the discretion of the city planner, or where otherwise required by this development code, state or federal law, any application filed in compliance with this development code may be referred to any public agency that may be affected by or have an interest in the proposed land use activity.

Table 5-1

Review Authority for Planning Permits1

Type of Decision

Role of Review Authority2

City
Planner

Planning Commission

Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission

City
Council

 

Administrative Approvals and Amendments

Development Agreements

Recommend

Recommend

 

Decision

Interpretations

Decision3

Appeal

Appeal

Appeal

General Plan Amendment4

Recommend

Recommend

 

Decision

Development Code Amendment

Recommend

Recommend

 

Decision

Zoning Map Amendment

Recommend

Recommend

 

Decision

 

Planning Permits and Development Approvals

Zoning Clearance

Decision

Appeal

Appeal

Appeal

Temporary Use Permits

Decision

Appeal

 

Appeal

Use Permits

Recommend

Decision

 

Appeal

Exceptions

Recommend

Decision

 

Appeal

Variances

Recommend

Decision

 

Appeal

Planned Development Permit

Recommend

Decision

 

Appeal

Site Design and Architectural Review

Recommend

Decision

Decision

Appeal

Demolition Permit

Recommend

 

Decision

Appeal

Notes:

1.    The review authority for subdivision-related approvals is set forth in Table 6-1 (Division VI, Subdivisions).

2.    “Recommend” means that the review authority makes a recommendation to a higher decision-making 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 decision-making body, in compliance with Chapter 19.84 SMC, Appeals.

3.    The city planner may refer any matter subject to his/her decision to the planning commission, so that the commission may instead make the decision.

4.    See Chapter 19.86 SMC, General Plan and Development Code/Zoning Map Amendments.

(Ord. 06-2013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.070 Environmental assessment.

After acceptance of a complete application, the project shall be reviewed as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and city CEQA guidelines to determine whether the proposed project is exempt from the requirements of CEQA, whether it is a project which requires review under CEQA and if so, whether a negative declaration may be issued, or an environmental impact report (EIR) must be required. These determinations and, where required, the preparation of EIRs shall be in compliance with the city’s CEQA guidelines. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.52.080 Staff report and recommendations.

A. Staff Evaluation. City planner shall review all applications filed in compliance with this chapter to determine whether they comply and are consistent with the provisions of this development code, other applicable provisions of the municipal code, and the General Plan, and shall provide a recommendation to the reviewing commission and/or council (as applicable) on whether the application should be approved, approved subject to conditions, or disapproved.

B. Staff Report Preparation. A staff report shall be prepared by the city planner that describes their conclusions about the proposed land use and any development as to its compliance and consistency with the provisions of this development code, other applicable provisions of the municipal code, applicable specific plans, and the General Plan. The staff report shall include recommendations on the approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of the application, based on the evaluation and consideration of information provided by an initial study or environmental impact report.

C. Report Distribution. Staff reports shall be furnished to applicants at the same time as they are provided to members of the commission and/or council prior to a hearing on the application. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).