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.
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.
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.
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.
Use these calculators to help determine the allowable residential density on a lot or the maximum FAR.
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
Final Approval Checklist
Floor to Lot Area Ratio (FAR)
Hillside Vegetation Removal
Mills Act Application
Mills Act Q & A
Supportive Housing Streamlined Approval
Temporary Use Permit
Tenant Displacement Assistance
Two-Unit Housing (SB9)
Visual Aid & Story Poles
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).
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.
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
Required Documentation Prior to Demolition
View Dispute Arbitrators List
View Dispute Mediators List
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.
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
Zoning Enforcement Questions
Zoning Plan Check Basic Compliance Checklist
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.