When permit applications or plans are reviewed in accordance to the City of Sacramento Zoning Code, a project may require an entitlement. Entitlements would include things such as:
- General Plan and Community Plan Amendments -- The General Plan and Community Plans describe long range goals and objects for the City as a whole and for specific communities. These plans are official policy statements of the City Council. Projects must comply with these plans in order to be approved. Any change in the General Plan or Community Plans must also go through the same process of study, review and public hearings.
- Zone Change – The City of Sacramento has a Zoning Map that divides all of the land within the City into different areas or "zones." Zoning regulates what uses can go where and the development standards to which new development must be built. Development standards refer to the height, lot coverage, parking standards, wall, tree shading or landscaping requirements or setback requirements that apply within a particular zone.
The City Zoning Code may be amended to reclassify property from any zoning district to any other zoning district provided that any such amendment is consistent with the City of Sacramento General Plan. Zone change applications (also known as “rezones”) require action by the Planning Commission and the City Council. The Planning Commission makes a report of its findings and recommendations with respect to the proposed amendment, and files it with the City Council. Upon receipt of the Planning Commission’s report, the City Council sets the matter for public hearing. The decision of the City Council is the final action on such applications.
- Conditional Use Permits (also known as Special Permits ) -- A Conditional Use Permit (also known as a Special Permit ) is a zoning instrument used primarily to review the location, site development, or conduct of certain land uses. These are uses which may have an impact on the area in which they are located, or are capable of creating special problems for bordering properties unless given special attention. A Conditional Use Permit may be granted at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator, Planning Commission, or City Council and is not the automatic right of any applicant.
The Conditional Use Permit process allows decision-makers (either the Zoning Administrator or the Planning Commission) to impose certain conditions on a project in order to avoid potential problems. These requirements are not arbitrary; they must relate to the expected problems.
- Variances -- The City Zoning Code defines how a property may be used (i.e., for residential or commercial) and the development standard to which a project may be built (lot coverage, height, setbacks, and more.)
A property owner may feel that one or more standards impose a unique hardship. If so, the owner may request to be excused from strictly complying with that requirement. This request is called a variance (because the owner is allowed to “vary” from the rules that usually apply). For example, a company would like to build its new offices on a property with a protected tree. To make the project practical, the company would like build the offices closer to the street, which would violate the existing setback rules (how far the walls must be from the street) for that zone. They would then request a setback variance for the project.
- Plan Review -- Projects located in a zone with an “–R” suffix and also properties located within certain overlay areas (for example, the Transit Overlay (TO)) are required by the City Zoning Code to go through the plan review process. This is a thorough review of a proposed development plan to ensure, among other things, that the:
- proposed development is consistent with the General Plan and any applicable Community Plans or Specific Plans (i.e. the Railyards Special Planning District);
- utilities and infrastructure is sufficient to support the proposed development and are compatible with City standards; and
- proposed development is compatible with surrounding development.
The Plan Review process looks at site design and building design issues, not at the use of the site. Plan reviews are granted at the discretion of the Planning Director, Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission.
- Subdivision and Parcel Changes -- City Subdivision Code applies when a property owner wants to change an existing parcel by dividing an existing parcel into multiple ones, or otherwise change a parcel by adjusting its lot lines. An example would be an owner who bought a 5 acre property and wishes to divide it into 5 separate one-acre lots to sell to different buyers.
- Planned Unit Development Guidelines -- (PUD) (Chapter 17.180 of the City Code) encourage the design of well-planned facilities which offer a variety of commercial, residential, or other land uses through creative and imaginative planning. The development and design guidelines that are adopted for each PUD provide for greater flexibility in the design of integrated developments than otherwise possible through strict application of zoning regulations. Guidelines can be found in the online library
- Inclusionary Housing Plans -- This ordinance requires that any new residential development of ten units or more include an affordable component.