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Planning HandoutsPlanning Central

For Information on Public Counter Notices Re: COVID-19 click hereInformation on how to submit Electronic Applications is available here.

Planning Application

The City of Santa Barbara now accepts all permits and applications, including all supporting plans and documents, online via our Accela Citizen Access Portal (ACA)Any project that requires discretionary review (design review and development review) must submit a Planning Application. For minor design review projects, see Administrative Design Review below. The property owner must sign either the Planning Application or the Owner Authorization form.

Planning Application Guide
Planning (PLN) Application
Project Plan Submittal Guide
Resubmittal Form 
Owner Agent Authorization Form
Appeal Process


Once your online application is submitted, City Staff will follow up electronically with an invoice for the appropriate fee amount. Please do not fill out a check or try to make payments before you have been invoiced with the total fee amount. Applications will not be accepted for processing until fees are paid.

Fees for Planning effective 09-01-2021
Fee Payment Options

Administrative Design Review

A number of minor design review projects may be approved by staff without a public hearing. If you meet the criteria for Administrative Design Review and your project requires a building permit, complete the Administrative Design Review Supplemental Application and submit it directly to Building & Safety along with your building permit application.

Administrative Design Review 
Basic Site Plan
Design Review Checklist

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

The City recently updated its ADU Ordinance to comply with recent changes in State law. More information on Accessory Dwelling Units is available here. If you meet the criteria for ministerial approval, you may submit directly to Building & Safety. If your project requires discretionary review (design review and development review), you must submit a Planning Application with the supplemental ADU application below.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Guide
Accessory Dwelling Units Application


Use these calculators to help determine the allowable residential density on a lot or the maximum FAR.

Average Unit-size Density (AUD) Calculator - Excel File
FAR (Floor to Lot Area Ratio) Calculator - Excel File
Single Family Residence 20 Closest Lots - Excel File

Supplemental Applications

Supplemental applications and checklists collect additional information required for project-specific reviews and processes and are a required component of an application.

Affordable Housing Streamlined Approval
Agriculture Use Permit
Coastal Zone Review
Community and Market Gardens
Condo & Hotel Conversion
Density Bonus
Final Approval Checklist
Floor to Lot Area Ratio (FAR)
Hillside Vegetation Removal
Home Occupations
Mills Act Application
Mills Act Q & A
Supportive Housing Streamlined Approval
Substantial Conformance
Substantial Redevelopment
Telecommunication Facilities
Temporary Use Permit
Tenant Displacement Assistance
Two-Unit Housing (SB9)
Visual Aid & Story Poles
Zoning Modifications

Pre-Application Review

The City offers several options to participate in informal pre-application meetings with staff or one of the City’s design review bodies. In general, you can expect a determination letter in about 4-6 weeks after submitting a pre-application. Submit a pre-application online via our Accela Citizen Access Portal (ACA).  

Pre-Application (PRE) Review
Housing Development Project

Sign Applications

All new signs and outdoor vending machines require a Sign Permit. The City of Santa Barbara now accepts all sign applications, including all supporting plans and documents, online via our Accela Citizen Access Portal (ACA)Complete the Sign Permit (SGN) Application and submit it online for review.

Sign Application Guide
Sign Permit (SGN) Application
Resubmittal Form
Start-Up Business Temporary Sign Printers Contact List
Start-Up Business Window Signage Template Examples

Environmental Review

Environmental review is a key part of the City’s process for design review and land use projects. All discretionary decisions are subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Environmental document preparation and review occurs at the same time and in parallel with all other project review. The following handouts provide information about environmental screening and City-qualified consultants.

Environmental Screening Checklist
Archeological Resource Guide
Certified Arborists List
Historical Consultants List
Large Format Photographic Consultants
Noise Guide
Required Documentation Prior to Demolition
View Dispute Arbitrators List
View Dispute Mediators List

Design Guidelines Checklists

Applicants are encouraged to submit these optional checklists for Full Board/Commission projects to demonstrate how your project meets the City’s existing discretionary Design Guidelines.

Infill Development Checklist
Outdoor Vending Machines Checklist
Single-Family Development Checklist
Single-Family Hillside Housing
Single-Family Good Neighbor

General Information & Resources

The following handouts provide additional information about specific project types and planning & zoning resources.

Average Unit-Size Density Program Informational Packet
Building Height - How To Measure
Parking Lot Repaving-Restriping Submittal Requirements
Remote Public Hearings
Residential Zoning Standards Guide (Inland & Coastal)
Nonresidential Growth Management Program
Solar Access Height Limitations
Uses Permitted in the Various Zones
Vacation Rentals
Zoning Enforcement Questions
Zoning Plan Check Basic Compliance Checklist

Tree & Landscaping Information

Information and submittal requirements for trees and landscaping, fences and hedges, and view dispute issues:

Landscape Plan Submittal Requirements
Minor Tree Removal Permit
View Dispute Resolution Process Brochure
Coastal Zone: Fences and Hedges Administrative Review
Coastal Zone: Fences and Hedges Exception Consent Form
Coastal Zone: Fences and Hedges Guidelines

These resources are periodically updated as changes are made to City policies and Municipal Code. Always check the City’s Municipal Code for the most current regulations. Title 28 Zoning Ordinance is effective in the Coastal Zone. Title 30 is effective outside of the Coastal Zone.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2022
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