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San Ramon LogoAbout Land Use Permits

What is a Land Use Permit?

A key goal of land use rules is for nearby land uses to be compatible with one another.  One way cities and counties do this is to say that certain kinds of uses are allowed only under certain conditions. 

If someone wants to make such a use of property, he or she must get a Land Use Permit.  Sometimes planners call this a “Conditional Use Permit or CUP.” Other names include “special use permit” or just “use permit.”  Zoning rules usually explain when someone needs a land use permit or a minor use permit. 

The permit process allows decision-makers to create requirements to avoid problems.  These requirements must relate to the expected problems a use will create.  The relationship must be backed up with facts presented to decision-makers

Decision-makers must explain their decision with findings.  Such findings explain why the decision-maker decided that the permit is or is not justified under the circumstances.


An example is establishing a bar use.  Such a use can have negative impacts on neighbors.  Common restrictions include limited hours of operation, soundproofing and noise limits, security guards and/or parking requirements.

  Key Questions:

Is the permit consistent with the general plan, specific plan (if any) and zoning ordinance?

* Does the proposed use make sense for the site?

* Is the proposed use compatible with surrounding uses?

* If not, are there things that can be done to make it more compatible?

* Will the project have any environmental effects? What will those effects be? What level of environmental review must occur?

* Can the proposed use adequately be served by existing public facilities and services (for example, police and fire protection, parking and roads)?

* How will the use, as restricted, affect the community as a whole?

Visit the Permit Center
Decision-Making Process

Decision-makers want to hear from those who have opinions or information about whether to approve a proposed land use permit.  If you want to share your thoughts, see “Suggestions for Providing Effective Testimony at a Planning Commission Public Hearing”

Application Information

To file an application please take a few minutes to review Development Application and Building Permit Processing Timelines.  This document will provide you with an overview our process and processing times. To apply for a Land Use Permit you will need to download the following documents:

Use Permit

Please download the following documents for the select number of Land Use Permit application types that have specific submittal requirements.

Minor Use Permit

Large Family Day Care Minor Use Permit

Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Land Use Permit

Submittal Requirements Submittal Requirements Submittal Requirements
Development Application Form Development Application Form Development Application Form

Application Processing Timeline Questionnaire

We encourage all applicants to contact the Planning Services Division to schedule a meeting prior to filing your application. This will provide us with an opportunity to review the appropriate forms, discuss the process, including environmental review, the necessary committee and commission meetings, projected timelines any potential issues and answer questions you might have. We may be reached at (925) 973-2560.

Application Processing Timelines

Please note that these timelines are to be used as a guide in determining how long your project may take to complete. The timelines begin once all the information is received and your application has been deemed complete for processing.

30 Days or Less
(Assumes CEQA Exemption or Previously Certified Environmental Document)
  • Tree Removal Permits (No ARB Review)
  • Sign Permit
  • Lot Line Adjustments
  • Single Family Residence- Alt./Add.
  • Temporary Use Permits
  • Home Occupation Permits
  • Administrative Architecture Review
  • Temporary Sign Permits
  • Zoning Clearance Permits
45 Days or Less
(Assumes CEQA Exemption or Previously Certified Environmental Document)
  • Tree Removal Permits (ARB Review)
  • Large Family Daycares
  • Minor Land Use Permits (e.g. studio uses)
  • Minor Exception Permits
  • Variances
  • Master Sign Programs
  • Architecture Board Review (commercial addition and second story addition to existing single story home and new single family homes)
90 Days or Less
(Assumes CEQA Exemption Negative Declaration or Previously Certified Environmental Document)
  • Telecommunication Facilities
  • Land Use Permit Applications (e.g. churches, preschools)
  • Development Plan Applications and Amendments – Retail/Commercial/Office
120 Days or Less
(Assumes CEQA Exemption, Previously Certified Environmental Document or Negative Declaration)
  • Large commercial developments
180 Days or Less
(Assumes Negative Declaration)
  • Mixed-Use Developments
  • Residential Development Applications
  • Hillside Residential Developments
180 Days or More
(Assumes EIR or Complex Negative Declaration)
  • Any project requiring the preparation of an EIR.
  • Rezoning
  • General Plan Amendment
  • Specific Plan Amendment
  • Zoning Text Amendment

To Learn More

Planner’s Training Series, The Conditional Use Permit, 2007 available at:


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2401 Crow Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583 | Map | Phone (925) 973-2560 | Fax (925) 838-3231