Planning Department
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Planning Department Phone Number?

(831) 440-5630

What are the Planning Department hours?

Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Application submittals are taken in 8:00 am to 11:30 am, Monday through Thursday.

How do I begin the permit process?

Visit the Planning and Building Departments during counter hours so that staff may assist you with zoning information, permitted uses, and details regarding requirements on your plans and the number of copies to submit.

How long does the permit process take?

It depends on the type of application and project. Tree removal applications generally do not take more than 28 days and may take less depending upon the circumstances. Design Review, Use Permits, and other types of applications have a standard 30 day review period by various departments.

The applicant is then notified if the project has been deemed complete. Scheduling the project before the Planning Commission is determined upon agenda availability and type of environmental review required. Typically, there are two Planning Commission meetings held each month.

Do I need a tree removal permit?

No, if the tree is...

  • A Monterey Pine infected with pitch canker (arborist report required)
  • A Blue Gum Eucalyptus
  • A Bay Laurel growing under an established oak tree
  • An Acacia
  • An Oak infected with Phytopthera Fungus (arborist report required).

For more information on this disease please see http://camfer.cnr.berkeley.edu/oaks or http://cemarin.ucdavis.edu/index2.html

Yes, if the tree is...

  • Located within five feet of a public right-of-way or street no matter what size.
  • A single trunk tree greater than or equal to 13 inches diameter (40 inches circumference) measured four feet above ground.
  • A single trunk oak tree and is greater than or equal to an 8 inch diameter (25 inch circumference.)
  • Any multi trunk oak tree with any trunk greater than or equal to 4 inches diameter (12 inch circumference.)
  • Any tree greater than or equal to 8 inch diameter (25 inch circumference) if located within 20 feet of a moderate slope (greater than 20% slope).
  • Any multi trunk tree greater than or equal to 8 inch diameter (25 inch circumference).
  • Any size tree required as part of a permit approved by the Planning Department, Planning Commission, or City Council, or any required replacement trees for an unlawfully removed tree.
  • Any Heritage Tree, as specified in Resolution No. 1697.1, Exhibit A (adopted 4/20/05).

How do I obtain a Use Permit, Design Review, Variance Permit, Land Division Permit, or Rezoning Permit?

Call or visit the Planning Department to obtain a permit application. Complete the application, including all pertinent data, and return it to the Planning Department during counter hours. The City will notify the applicant within 30 days if additional information is required to process the application.

Once the application is deemed complete the appropriate hearings will be scheduled. For Use Permit, Design Review, and Variance Permits, one hearing before the Planning Commission is required. Once the Planning Commission approves the application, there is a 10 day appeal period in which the application could be appealed to the City Council. If appeal in not submitted, then the application is deemed approved. For Land Division or Rezoning Permits, hearings before the Planning Commission and the City Council are required.

How do I get a copy of an assessor's parcel map?

The City has an assessor's parcel book which shows each lot within the city. You may visit the Planning Department during counter hours to get a copy of the assessor's parcel map. You may also visit the County of Santa Cruz Mapping Web Site, search for your parcel information, and then click on the assessor's map link.

Can I have a guest cottage or second dwelling unit?

Can I have a guest cottage or secondary dwelling unit on my property? Yes, if the land area that the unit is placed on does not have an average slope greater than 20% and it is served by a sanitary sewer system.

A guest cottage may not exceed 600 square feet in size, and must not have a kitchen facility. A deed restriction is required to be placed on the title of the property prohibiting a secondary dwelling unit. A building permit is required to establish a guest cottage.

A secondary dwelling unit may not exceed 800 square feet in habitable area (excluding garages, decks, and porches) and must be located on a lot that is 10,000 square feet or greater. A kitchen facility is permitted in a secondary dwelling unit. A building permit is required to establish a secondary dwelling unit.