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What is the Planning Process

Learn more about the permitting process for various projects, general timelines, fees, and more.

Governing Bodies and Committees

Governing bodies such as the City Council, Planning Commission, and Design Review Committee all play a role in the planning, design and approvals process. For more information about these governing bodies click here.

Use Permits 3-6 Months

Conditional Use Permits (CUP) are intended to allow public review of land use proposals of a nature or magnitude which could significantly affect their surroundings. This procedure requires that the Planning Commission hold a public hearing for review for compatibility. The following require a CUP:

  • Conditionally allowed uses listed for a particular zoning district.
  • Multi-Family residential developments consisting of 12 or more units.
  • Non-residential developments containing 50,000 square feet or more of building or 10,000 square feet of outdoor storage area.
  • Planned District (PD) and/or Master Plan of Development projects.

Subdivisions 3-6 Months

Subdivisions include a tentative map that typically goes before the planning commission for approval. Once approved, a final map is required.

Planned Developments 9-12 Months

Planned Development Overlay Zones identify areas where development standards or processing procedures differ from those established by the underlying zoning district to promote compatible development and to enhance the opportunity to best utilize special characteristics of an area.

Environmental (CEQA) 3-6 Months

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires state and local agencies to assess the environmental impacts of certain projects, and notify the public of those impacts prior to approving the projects. Some projects may be “categorically exempt” from CEQA because of their size or nature, or because there is no reasonable possibility that they will significantly affect the environment. Article 19 of the CEQA Guidelines lists the types of projects that are normally exempt.

To view a record of environmental documents for projects within the City of Atascadero visit our Environmental Documents page.

General Plan Amendment 9-12 Months

The purpose of the General Plan Amendment is to ensure the orderly use and development of real property in conformance with the General Plan policies and programs. Most General Plan Amendments require prior (or simultaneous) approval of a Zone Change. These amendments require that the Planning Commission and City Council hold public hearings for review of the uses and proposed improvements for compatibility with their surroundings and the General Plan. The project is reviewed by City Council for final approval. See General Plan Amendment Application for more information.

Zone Code Changes 6-9 Months

You may request a change to your property’s zoning by filling out the City’s Planning Application and submitting it to the front counter.

Planning Fees

To estimate the fees for planning services associated with your project, please see the most recently adopted Fee Schedule.

Additional Resources