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Frequently Asked Questions

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Welcome to the City's Frequently Asked Questions page where you can find answers to commonly inquired about topics. Explore the FAQ library below by keyword search or by filtering by department.

Do I need a permit?

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See Permit Exempt handout for projects that do not require a permit.

Do I need a tree removal permit?

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A tree removal permit is required for the removal of any native trees, with the following exceptions:

  • Removal of deciduous native trees under 2 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH).
  • Removal of nondeciduous (evergreen) trees under 4 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH).
  • Removal of native trees on a single-family property in a single-family zone with no open construction or grading permits or construction or grading projects planned within the next year.

Tree removal permits cost $259 per permit, and require mitigation of the tree removal.

  • One tree removal permit can be used for the removal of multiple trees.
  • Mitigation can take the form of replanting trees elsewhere on the property or paying mitigation fees towards a City fund for planting native trees on public land.
  • For more information on native tree mitigation, see the Native Tree Regulations handout.

To apply for a tree removal permit, you will need to complete a planning application.

Do I need an appointment to submit for a building permit or planning project?

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Most services at the Permit Counter and all (including electronic submittals) project intakes require an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (805) 461-5000. Over the counter permit applications can also be submitted with check payment to the locked drop box in the City Hall Lobby. 

Resubmittals do not require an appointment.

Do I need an Intake Meeting?

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At this time, all counter transactions require a scheduled appointment. You can schedule an appointment by calling (805) 461-5000.

Do you offer Live Scan or ink fingerprinting to the public?

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The Atascadero Police Department only offers Live Scans to the public. Please call the Administrative Assistant at 805-470-3200 to make an appointment.

Do Zoo Members get a discount on Charles Paddock Zoo classes and activities?

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Most Zoo classes offer a $5 discount for Zoo Members. The discount will be reflected online when registering.

Does Apple Valley Park have restrooms or a BBQ area?

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Apple Valley does not have public restrooms or a BBQ area to rent.

Does Atascadero Police Department offer child car seat inspections?

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At this time, Atascadero Police Department does not offer child car seat inspections, but there are many nationally certified child passenger safety technicians throughout California. Check with your local CHP office or local health department to find a technician or "fitting station" near you. You can also log on to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) website to find a fitting station.

Does my application or permit expire?

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Yes. Your permit application is active for one year from the submittal date. That means all department approvals must be granted, all fees (except applicable development impact fees) must be paid, and the permit issued within one calendar year. The expiration date for permits is one year after issuance, with each passed inspection extending the date an additional six months.

If you feel this window cannot be met, reach out to the Permit Technicians for information about requesting an extension before time runs out!

Does someone need to be onsite for a project inspection?

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The inspector must be able to have full uninhibited access to the project area(s); no gates, dogs, or other deterrents. An OSHA approved ladder must be onsite for roofing inspections. For interior residential inspections, someone 18 years or older must be present. The approved set of plans and permit card must be available to the inspector at the time of the inspection and thorough construction.

Does the City have sand bags available for storm preparedness?

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Sand is available free of charge at Fire Station One, Located at 6005 Lewis Ave, and at the City's Corporation Yard at 8005 Gabarda Rd. This sand is intended for sand bags only, in preparation for a storm.

Note: You will need to supply your own sand bags (which can be purchased at local hardware stores), and bring you own shovel to fill your sandbags.

Does the City offer after school childcare?

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The City does not have elementary/school aged childcare* but does offer a drop in Teen Center.

*Please contact the Atascadero Unified School District for available after school program options.

Does the City offer swim lessons?

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Currently, the City does not offer swim lessons. Please contact Kennedy Club Fitness in Atascadero for their swim lesson options.

Does the Fire & Emergency Services Department offer CPR or first aid training?

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Community members looking for certification should contact a private provider or the American Red Cross.

Does the Fire & Emergency Services Department provide or service smoke detectors?

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Community members that are in need of smoke detectors may be eligible for assistance through the American Red Cross.

* If you have battery powered smoke detectors, replace the batteries at least once a year.
* Test your smoke detectors at least once a month.
* All smoke detectors, both battery powered and hardwired, should be replaced every 10 years.

Does the Police Department have a Lost and Found?

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If you have lost or found something, the first step is to complete an incident report by using the online crime reporting portal or by visiting the Police Department at 5505 El Camino Real.

If you've found an item, it should be brought in to the Police Department. Found property that can not immediately be identified will be secured in our property room and will be properly disposed of after the appropriate time period.

How can I check burn day status?

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Burning may take place on permissive burn days only. For burn information, call (805) 461-5070 ext. 8 or go to our Backyard Burning page. No person shall conduct a controlled open burning operation on a non-permissive burn day.

How can I confirm if the grading happening on a property has a city permit?

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If you suspect that someone may be doing illegal grading, please submit a Code Violation Complaint Form to or by fax: 805-470-3192.

If you have any questions please contact Code Enforcement at (805) 470-3191.

How can I find my evacuation zone?

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Visit the Zonehaven Aware website and enter your address to find your evacuation zone.

How can I find out when I am supposed to appear in Court?

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Please contact the San Luis Obispo Superior Court at (805) 706-3600.