Chapter 11.51


11.51.010    Purpose.

11.51.020    Applicability.

11.51.030    Review types and responsibilities.

11.51.040    Project and permit applications.

11.51.050    Administrative permits and approvals.

11.51.060    Design review.

11.51.070    Temporary use permit.

11.51.080    Discretionary permits and approvals.

11.51.090    Permit revocation.

11.51.100    Fees.

11.51.010 Purpose.

This chapter establishes provisions and processes for the application, administration, approval, and permitting of activities subject to the regulation of this title.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.020 Applicability.

A.    General Applicability. The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to all land use permits, administrative and discretionary, as applicable to the development, building, establishment, renewal, modification, or discontinuance of any land use or structure within the city. Permits, subject to this chapter, shall be issued in accordance with the permitted land use, as established by the zone. Nonconforming uses and structures shall be subject to permit procedures as established by Chapter 11.55, Nonconforming Uses and Buildings.

B.    Permit Consistency. All departments, officials, and public employees assigned the authority to issue certificates, permits, and licenses in compliance with this title shall conform to the provisions of this title. Any certificate, permit, or license conflicting with the provisions of this title shall be null and void.

C.    Building Permits Issued Prior to Effective Date. Any current building permit(s) issued prior to the effective date and hour of the ordinance codified in this title shall be permitted to be exercised even if contrary to the provisions of this title.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.030 Review types and responsibilities.

All development proposals and applications may be subject to one or more development application processing procedures contained in this chapter. Exact processing and timing of applications shall be determined by the planning division based on the applicable zone and the project characteristics. Table 11.51-1, Application and Review Authority, outlines the primary types of development applications, review procedures required, and responsibilities. Figures 11.51-1, 11.51-2, and 11.51-3 generally depict the administrative and discretionary permit processes for South Gate.


Table 11.51-1 Application and Review Authority 

Permit Process


Planning Commission

City Council

Public Hearing Required

Administrative Permit Types

See Figure 11.51-1 for Process

Administrative Permit




Appeals Only

Temporary Use Permit




Appeals Only

Design Review




Appeals Only

Discretionary Permit Process A

See Figure 11.51-2 for Process

Conditional Use Permit










Plan Review (Site Plan)





Discretionary Permit Process B

See Figure 11.51-3 for Process

Density Bonus





Specific Plan





Regulating Plan/Zoning Amendment





Discretionary Permit Process C

See Figure 11.51-4 for Process

Final Parcel Map





Live Entertainment Permit





D = deciding body whose decision is final unless appealed; A = appeal authority; R = advisory body required to make recommendations.

Figure 11.51-1 Administrative Permit Process—CD Director (Deciding Authority)

Figure 11.51-2 Discretionary Permit Process A—

Planning Commission (Deciding Authority)

Figure 11.51-3 Discretionary Permit Process B—

City Council (Deciding Authority)

Figure 11.51-4 Discretionary Permit Process C—

City Council (Deciding Authority)

(Ord. 2355 §§ 3—7, 12-11-18; Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.040 Project and permit applications.

A.    Consistent Applications. All applications for any action or appeal covered by this title shall be consistent with the application forms established by the city.

B.    Application Signatures. Applications shall not be considered complete until signatures of the property owner(s) of record or designated representative are obtained. Representative signatures shall in no case infringe upon the free exercise of the powers vested in the city as represented by the planning commission and city council.

C.    Concurrent Filing. Development project applicants requiring more than one application (e.g., zoning map amendment and CUP) shall file all related applications concurrently, with all application fees as required by Section 11.51.100, Fees, unless the concurrent filing requirements are waived by the director.

D.    Record of Filing. All applications filed for zoning code actions shall be numbered consecutively in the order of their filing, and shall become a part of the permanent official record of the planning commission. Applications shall be attached to any related planning commission or city council files, along with all notices and actions, with certificates and affidavits of posting, mailing, or associated publications.

E.    Review for Completeness. Applications will not be deemed complete until filing fee and required notarized signatures are received. The director shall review each application for completeness and accuracy, including completeness of the administrative plan review or discretionary plan review if required for the land use. Determination of completeness shall be based on the city’s list of required application content as established by the planning commission in subsection (A) of this section. Additional information beyond the standard application may be required by the director based on the subject property and project parameters as applicable to the policies of this title.

F.    Refiling Limitations. Substantially identical discretionary permits for projects, actions, applications, or amendments denied by the city, regardless of who the applicants are on either application, shall not be refiled within one year from the date of denial of any application, unless otherwise stipulated by this title.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.050 Administrative permits and approvals.

Applications in compliance with all applicable requirements of this title, where a discretionary action is not required, shall be processed by the planning division for administrative approval by the director.

A.    Administrative Plan Review. Administrative plan review is an administrative site plan review submitted as part of the administrative permit and subject to review and approval by the director. The applicant and planning division shall review all zoning code requirements and other applicable design features in the context of a site plan. Only those land uses noted as requiring an administrative plan review in Chapter 11.21, Land Use Types, are required to submit this as part of the permit application.

B.    Upper-Floor Uses. Upper-floor uses (containing note “2” in the land use table of the applicable zone) shall be processed through an administrative permit. Upper-floor uses shall not be permitted on the ground floor of the applicable zone, but are administratively permitted on the second story or any story above. Restriction to upper floors is intended to generate a pedestrian-oriented setting on the ground floor, with businesses generating less direct foot traffic on the upper floors.

C.    Accessory Uses. Accessory uses, denoted as “A-U” in the land use table of the applicable zone, shall be processed through an administrative permit. Accessory uses shall be limited to a secondary use supportive of the primary permitted or conditionally permitted uses. Development or establishment of an accessory use shall not be permitted independently on a parcel as the primary use.

D.    Temporary Use Permits. Temporary uses, as identified in Table 11.21-3, 11.21-4, or 11.21-5, as applicable to the zone, shall be processed through a temporary use permit consistent with Section 11.51.070, Temporary use permit.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.060 Design review.

The regulations of this title are designed to permit flexibility to encourage creative design, elevate the character of the community, conserve open space, improve vehicular circulation and parking, maximize use of unique site features, and mitigate all potentially incompatible activities. Design review is an administrative permitting process designed to ensure that projects meet this purpose. Design review shall be required for a range of development projects, subject to the following regulations.

A.    Projects Requiring Design Review. All the following shall require design review prior to applicable permit approvals:

1.    All development and projects identified as requiring design review under other chapters of this title.

2.    All parcels of land fifteen thousand square feet or larger.

3.    Where two or more parcels are proposed to be consolidated for the development of a single project.

B.    Review Authority. The director or designee shall have the authority to review applications for completeness and evaluate the project’s consistency with the intent of this title.

C.    Civic Building Design Review. Due to the community-wide need for civic buildings to reflect the civic and cultural characteristics of the community as distinct from commercial or residential characteristics of noncivic buildings, all civic buildings are exempt from Section 11.23.080, Guidelines for building frontage types. Civic buildings are subject to design review by the director, who will present a recommendation to the planning commission for its consideration and action.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.070 Temporary use permit.

The purpose of an administrative temporary use permit is to allow for short-term activities that warrant individual consideration and are acceptable because of their temporary, short-term nature.

A.    Temporary Uses. The provisions of this section shall regulate all special events and temporary land uses as permitted by Table 11.21-3, 11.21-4, or 11.21-5, as applicable to the zone, or as determined by the director. Other temporary and seasonal uses under this section may include parking lot sales, one-day sales, public celebrations, organization- or interest-based festivals, and other temporary seasonal sales, including Christmas tree sales lots and pumpkin patches with affiliated facilities and trucks, outdoor farmer’s markets, parking lot sales, and similar temporary uses. See subsection (B)(5) of this section, Parking Lot Sale Conditions, for specific conditions.

B.    Mandatory Approval Conditions. A temporary use permit shall include all of the following approval conditions; other approval conditions specific to the temporary use may be added as deemed appropriate and necessary by the director.

1.    The temporary use shall not be detrimental to the property or improvements in the surrounding area, or to the public health, safety, or general welfare.

2.    The temporary use shall not be located within the public right-of-way or required setbacks unless specified within the temporary use permit as an additional approval condition.

3.    Permanent alterations to the site are prohibited.

4.    Limits on the maximum duration will be specified in the permit, and shall not exceed three days in a row, or ten working days in any calendar year.

5.    Parking Lot Sale Conditions.

i.    The location of the merchandise shall not impede pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic.

ii.    The sale must be supervised by the vendor in charge of the sale.

iii.    Applicant shall pay a parking lot sale application fee as set forth in the South Gate fee resolution, which shall be paid to and collected by the business license division. A fee waiver may be granted if the applicant is able to provide adequate proof of tax-exempt status.

C.    Exempt Activities. The following activities, although temporary, shall be exempt from the standards of this section, and shall not require the issuance of a permit for the activity:

1.    City-sponsored temporary activities and events conducted at City Hall.

2.    On-site construction yards in conjunction with development projects.

3.    Emergency public health and safety facilities and activities.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.080 Discretionary permits and approvals.

All applications for land uses not permitted by right within a zone shall require discretionary review of all project-related activities; see Table 11.51-1, Application and Review Authority, for application types. Applications that exceed the flexibility built into this title, as established in Table 11.30-1, Administrative Modifications, are considered inconsistent with this title and, therefore, may be approved, conditionally approved, or denied in the director’s discretion. Approval of such projects is discretionary and may include conditions of approval to ensure performance and compatibility in compliance with the intent of this title.

A.    Purpose. The purpose of a discretionary permit shall be as follows:

1.    To ensure that compatibility of the proposed use with adjacent properties, land uses, and the general community is maintained.

2.    To recognize and compensate for necessary land-use-related technology and equipment as related to the factors of noise, smoke, dust, fumes, vibration, odors, hazard, or public need.

B.    Process. All discretionary permits shall be noticed and have hearings held consistent with Chapter 11.50, Administration.

C.    Discretionary Plan Review. Discretionary plan review is a site plan review submitted as part of a permit application. The director shall evaluate the discretionary plan review and present a recommendation to the planning commission for its consideration and action. This provides an appropriate level of discretionary review of site plan, operation, and design features of specific land uses and development types in the context of a site plan. Only those land uses noted as requiring a discretionary plan review in Chapter 11.21, Land Use Types, are required to submit this as part of the permit application.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.090 Permit revocation.

A.    Violation of Permit. A public hearing consistent with Chapter 11.50, Administration, shall be held for the consideration of a permit revocation. A permit or any associated conditions may be revoked or modified by the planning commission subject to any of the following grounds:

1.    The permit or approval was obtained by fraud.

2.    The property is not being used for the purpose which is the subject of the permit.

3.    The use for which the approval was granted has ceased or has been suspended for one year or more.

4.    The permit or conditions of the approval have been violated; exercised contrary to the terms of approval; or in violation of any statute, ordinance, law, or regulation.

5.    The use for which the approval was granted was exercised in a manner detrimental to the public health or safety, or so as to constitute a public nuisance.

B.    Permit Expiration. Any approval or permit granted by the city becomes null and void if the property is not being used for the approved or permitted purpose within one year from the date the approval or permit was issued, consistent with the provisions identified within Chapter 11.55, Nonconforming Uses and Buildings.

C.    Existing Unexercised Permits. Any approval or permit granted within one year preceding the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title that has not made progress to fulfill the entitlements and bring the project to completion shall be considered null and void.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)

11.51.100 Fees.

A.    Filing Fees. All filing fees established by the city shall be paid upon the filing of an application, and such fees shall not be refundable. Applications shall not be deemed complete, and processing shall not commence on any application, until all required fees or deposits have been paid.

B.    Recovery of Attorney’s Fees. A prevailing party in any judicial action, administrative proceeding, or special proceeding to abate or to cause the abatement of a public nuisance, or in any appeal or other judicial action arising therefrom, may recover reasonable attorney’s fees in accordance with the following subsections:

1.    Attorney’s fees are not recoverable by any person as a prevailing party unless the city manager, or a designee thereof, or an attorney for and on behalf of the city, elects in writing to seek recovery of the city attorney’s fees at the initiation of that individual action or proceeding. Failure to make such an election precludes any entitlement to, or award of, attorney’s fees in favor of any person or the city.

2.    The city is the prevailing party when an administrative or judicial determination is made or affirmed and a person is found to be responsible for one or more conditions or activities that constitute a public nuisance. A person is the prevailing party only when a final administrative or judicial determination completely absolves that person of responsibility for all conditions or activities that were alleged to constitute a public nuisance in that action or proceeding. An administrative or judicial determination that results in findings of responsibility or nonresponsibility on the part of a person for conditions or activities that were alleged in that action or proceeding to constitute a public nuisance shall, nevertheless, result in the city being the prevailing party.

3.    Provided the city has made an election to seek attorney’s fees, an award of attorney’s fees to a person shall not exceed the amount of reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the person in that action or proceeding.

(Ord. 2323 § 1 Exh. A (part), 4-28-15)