Zoning Code and Map Amendments

What Is a Zoning Map Amendment?

A Zoning Map Amendment is a procedure to amend the official zoning map of the City by changing the boundaries of any zoning district. A zoning boundary cannot be changed if it conflicts with the objectives and policies of the General Plan, the blueprint for development in the City. Information regarding the General Plan is available in the Planning and Development Department, Community Planning Section at 175 North Garfield Avenue or by calling (626) 744-4206.

Zones, or zoning districts, provide the mechanism through which Zoning Map Amendments can occur. They are established by the City through adoption of the Zoning Ordinance to protect the public from harmful, inappropriate or conflicting uses. Zones are designed to implement the General Plan by ensuring those who live and work in the city that the stability and character of the community will be preserved.

The General Plan provides for objectives and policies to ensure that these goals will be met. In addition to regulating use of property, the Zoning Ordinance also provides standards for building size and setbacks, height of structures, density of population and lot area.

Consult the staff in the Community Planning Section if you are interested in applying for a Planned Development District. A planner will help you find out the zoning and General Plan designations of the project site. You will be provided information on the City’s land use regulations and objectives and policies of the General Plan. The Planner will also help you understand the City’s review and approval procedure, and assist you with the application process. The planner will discuss the importance of meeting with the neighborhood that will be affected by your proposal.

A meeting to discuss your project with the surrounding neighborhood is required before you submit a formal application. You are encouraged to seek comments from the residents and work with them to resolve any conflicts on the design of your project, traffic, noise, use of the site or any impacts specifically related to your project. The City’s Neighborhood Connections office and the Community Planning Section can provide you with further assistance to help you conduct and effective meeting.

Unless otherwise waived, all applicants are requested to go through a Pre-Development Plan Review (PPR). The primary purpose of this step is to familiarize you with City regulations and concerns of City departments. Zoning Map Amendments which are not accompanied by a specific development project may not be required to go through CPR and may be directly submitted to the Community Planning Section for processing. Contact the Current Planning staff at 175 North Garfield Avenue for further information about Pre-Development Plan Review.

Any one of the following may file a Zoning Map Amendment:

  • The property owner.
  • The authorized agent in writing.
  • The Planning Commission.
  • The City Council.

You can obtain application forms from the Community Planning Section at 175 North Garfield Avenue, or by mail by calling (626) 744-4206. The complete application submittal consists of the following:

  • General Information Application and Supplemental Application
  • Notification Materials
  • Environmental Assessment Form.
  • A map showing location, street address and the assessor’s parcel number of the property that is the subject of the amendment, and surrounding properties within 300 feet of the project site.
  • Minutes of the Pre-Development Plan Review meeting, or proof of waiver.

There is a flat fee to cover the cost of processing your application as well as additional fees for environmental review. Depending on whether or not your project needs a more extensive environmental review, there may be additional fees. The fees are reviewed yearly and may be adjusted by the City Council. Consult a planner in the Community Planning Section for further details on specific application deposits and fees.

After we have received your application for a Zoning Map Amendment, the Community Planning staff will determine if the application is complete. Staff will complete the review of the application within 30 days after you have filed the application. If your application is deemed incomplete, staff will send a letter to you detailing a list of items necessary to complete the application. Once your application is deemed complete, you will be notified, and the Community Planning staff will prepare the environmental review.

In addition to your discussing the project with the neighborhood, the Community Planning Section will hold a neighborhood meeting on your project after you file a formal application. This is to ensure that issues important to the neighborhood have been identified and addressed. If any unresolved new issues arise that need to be mediated between you and the neighborhood, the Community Planning Section will hold additional meetings.

Depending on the nature of your development project, additional reviews may be necessary. If you are proposing a specific development project to accompany your Zoning Map Amendment request, it may be required to go through Design Review and/or Historic Preservation Review. See a planner in Design & Historic Preservation at 175 North Garfield Avenue.

Following the neighborhood meetings, a staff report is prepared on your proposed Zoning Map Amendment, including a review of the required environmental documentation; an analysis of the planning issues including a discussion of the consistency of the project with objectives and policies of the General Plan; the neighborhood meetings; and a recommendation based on the staff analysis and public input.

Planning Commission Hearing

Once the report is completed, the Community Planning staff will notice a public hearing before the Planning Commission. At the Planning Commission hearing, the staff will make a brief presentation and then you will be given an opportunity to comment on the project. An opportunity will then be given to citizens to speak in favor or opposition and/or simply comment on the project. Following this segment of the public hearing, you will be offered a final opportunity to speak to the Planning Commission.

At the conclusion of the hearing the Planning Commission can either recommend approval of the proposed project, continue the project until further information is presented, modify the project or deny the project. In addition, the Planning Commission can modify the staff recommendation on the proposed project. If the project is approved, staff will schedule it for a noticed public hearing before the City Council following the Planning Commission hearing.

City Council Hearing

The City Council meeting will also be noticed. At the hearing, public testimony will again be received in the same manner it was received before the Planning Commission. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council will make the final decision on your project. The City Council can either approve the project with or without modifications, continue the project until further information is presented, refer the project back to the Planning Commission for further review, or deny the project.

If your project is denied by the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission is the final decision making body unless the project is “called up” for review by the City Council (PMC 17.104). If your project is denied, no new application for the same or substantially the same Zoning Map Amendment can be accepted within one year of the date of denial (PMC 17.100.090).

Zoning Map Amendments are adopted by Ordinance. The City Attorney will prepare the Ordinance after the City Council takes action on the proposed project. Then, the City Clerk will place the ordinance on the City Council agenda for first and second reading. After the second reading, the Ordinance is published in a newspaper of general circulation and becomes effective 30 days following publication.