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The City of Sacramento, Planning Division, reviews development proposals for consistency with adopted policy, development standards, and design guidelines.  Some development projects require the submittal of a planning application to approve a planning permit, also referred to as an “entitlement.”

Application forms and additional resources can be found on the Planning Forms page.

The most common types of entitlements are listed below:

Site Plan and Design Review- The purpose of site plan and design review (SPDR) is to ensure that the physical aspects of development projects are consistent with the general plan and with all applicable design guidelines or historic preservation standards.  When staff reviews a SPDR entitlement application, the review extends to all aspects of the physical characteristics of development, such as the architecture of the buildings and structures, building materials, and site design.  The goal is to ensure the development is of high quality and is compatible with and complimentary to surrounding development.  SPDR may be approved at the staff, Director, or Commission level.

Conditional Use Permit - A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is a zoning instrument used primarily to review the location, site development, or operation 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.  An example of a development that requires a CUP is a gas station, a drive-through restaurant, or a cannabis dispensary.  The Conditional Use Permit process allows decision-makers to impose conditions on a project in order to avoid potential problems.  A CUP may be granted at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator, Planning and Design Commission, or City Council and is not the automatic right of any applicant.  

Tentative Map – The approval of a tentative map is required to subdivide a parcel of land into smaller parcels for development and requires a public hearing.  Tentative maps may be approved at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator, Planning and Design Commission, or City Council.

Ministerial Housing – The City of Sacramento offers two ministerial permit options for housing development projects that meet eligibility criteria and existing objective development and design standards.  The Ministerial Housing application is reviewed at staff level.   

Senate Bill 9 (SB9) Application – Effective January 1, 2022, SB9 requires locate jurisdictions, such as the City of Sacramento, to ministerially approve (via a pass or fail checklist) two-unit dwellings and a subdivision of one lot into two (ubran lot split) in any single-unit dwelling zone.  The SB9 application is reviewed at staff level.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) – The City of Sacramento allows a total of two (2) ADUs on one lot when accompanied by an existing or proposed primary residential structure on the property.  ADU applications are reviewed at staff level.

Planned Unit Development Guidelines – The establishment of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and adoption of standards and guidelines for that particular area encourages 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.  Only the City Council can establish a new PUD, consistent with the requirements in City Code Section 17.452.  An example of some of the City’s PUD Guidelines can be found in the online library on the City website under, Planned Unit Development Guidelines

Zone Change – The City of Sacramento has a zoning map that divides all of the land within the City into different areas or "zones." A property’s zone regulates what land uses can be conducted on the property and the development standards to which new development must be built, consistent with the City’s Planning and Development Code. Development standards regulate the height, lot coverage, parking standards, landscaping requirements and setback requirements that apply within a particular zone. To rezone a piece of property requires the approval of the City Council. To look-up the zoning designation for a piece of property, please visit the City’s online Land Information Lookup Application.  

General Plan Amendment -- The General Plan describes long range goals and objectives for the City as a whole and for specific communities. These plans are official policy statements of the City Council. Projects must comply with the General Plan in order to be approved. Any change in the General Plan must also go through the same process of study, review, and public hearings.  Only the Planning Director, Planning and Design Commission, or City Council can initiate an amendment to the policies contained within the General Plan.  A property owner may request an amendment to the General Plan land use designation applied to a piece of property; the amendment must be heard at a public hearing before the City Council.

For more information about any of the Planning permits listed above, please contact the Planning Helpdesk by sending an email to