Skip to Main Content
How do I...
Orchard City Organics
Recreation & Parks
Signals and Lighting
Orchard City Organics
Recreation & Parks
Signals and Lighting
Show All Answers
What is the zoning of my property?
To determine your zoning district and applicable development standards, you may view the city's Zoning Map and Zoning Code online, or contact the Planning Division at 408-866-2140. The zoning map divides the city into different zoning districts such as residential, commercial, industrial, and public facilities. You may refer to the Zoning Code for further descriptions of the various zoning districts. Each zoning district is ascribed permitted uses, uses permitted with conditional use permits, and the development standards for those uses.
What uses are allowed on this commercial/industrial property?
Each Commercial and Industrial Zoning District has associated permitted uses and conditional uses, which are listed in the Zoning Code. Permitted uses are allowed uses, whereas conditional uses are reviewed and considered under a Use Permit application. Please reference the Zoning Map and Code to determine your zoning, and Chapter 21.20, Commercial and Industrial Districts, of the Zoning Code for more information regarding uses.
Can I subdivide my property?
The Zoning Code and the Subdivision Code regulate the subdivision of properties. The minimum lot size, lot width, and required street frontage are described in these codes and are based upon the zoning of your specific property. Please reference Chapter 21.08, Residential, of the Zoning Code; and, Title 20, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Municipal Code for more information.
Where, and how tall, can my fence be?
The maximum height of fencing is generally six feet (including any lattice), and the fencing must be decreased in height to three feet, six inches in front yard areas and street side yard areas. Please reference Section 21.18.060, Fencing, of the Zoning Code for more information.
Do I need a permit to remove a tree?
For developed single-family residential properties, a Tree Removal Permit is required if you want to remove an Oak, Redwood, Cedar, or Ash tree that is 38 inches or greater in circumference (as measured four feet from the ground). For all other properties (e.g. apartments, town home developments, commercial centers), a Tree Removal Permit is required for all trees that are 38 inches or greater in circumference (as measured four feet from the ground). Please reference Chapter 21.32, Tree Protection Regulations, of the Zoning Code for more information. For trees in the public right of way, contact the Public Works Department at 408-866-2150.
Can I put on shed on my property, where can I put it, and do I need a permit?
Sheds are allowed on private property within the allowable development standards (e.g. setbacks, lot coverage, and floor area ratio) for your zoning district. To determine your zoning district and applicable development standards, you may view the city's Zoning Map online or contact the Planning Division. You need a Building Permit to build or place a shed greater than 120 square feet on your property. Regardless of size, any shed needs to meet the minimum development standards. Please reference Section 21.36.020, Accessory Structures, of the Zoning Code for more information.
What are my minimum building setbacks?
Your minimum building setbacks are determined by your zoning district. To determine your zoning district you may view the city's Zoning Map on-line or contact the Planning Division.
Can I run a business from my home?
Home businesses are allowed in all residential zoning districts, must be conducted within a home (exclusive of an attached or detached garage), and must be clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the home. A Business License and a Home Occupation Permit are required to establish a business at your home. Please reference Chapter 21.44, Home Occupations, of the Zoning Code for more information.
Can I construct a granny unit on my property?
Granny units are allowed on single-family (R-1) lots having a minimum lot area of 10,000 square feet, and are subject to the development standards (e.g. height, design, and parking) for granny units as well as the development standards (e.g. setbacks, lot coverage, and floor area ratio) for your zoning district. The maximum size for a granny unit is 640 square feet, exclusive of the garage space. A Building Permit is required to construct a granny unit on your property. Please reference Chapter 21.36.200, Secondary Dwelling Units, and Chapter 21.08.030, Single-Family (R-1) Zoning District, of the Zoning Code for more information.
Where is my property line, and what is the size of my lot?
To determine the exact location of your property lines, you will need to hire a land surveyor to survey your property. A land surveyor can identify property characteristics such as: property line location(s), size of the lot, sidewalk location, street center line, structures, trees, fences, and other pertinent information on site.
Can I convert my garage to living space?
It is difficult to meet the requirements, but it may be possible for some properties if the required on site parking can be fully satisfied. The code requires that every single-family property have two parking spaces for each unit, one of which must be covered. Additionally, please note in planning on site parking that not more than 50% of the front yard area can be paved. Please contact the Building Division to determine if changes to the building need to be made to convert the structure to living space. Please reference Chapter 21.28, Parking and Loading, Table 3-1, Parking Requirements by Land Use; and, Section 21.18.070, Front Yard Paving of the Zoning Code for more information.
Do I need a permit to erect a sign?
A business sign requires a Sign Permit issued by the Planning Division, and a Building Permit issued by the Building Division. For more complex sign projects, such as a Sign Program for a shopping center, a public hearing may be required. Please note that signs are not allowed on a residence for a home business. Please reference Chapter 21.30, Signs, and Code Section 12.44.060.G, Home Occupation/Operating Standards of the Zoning Code for more information.
How long does it take to get a Development Permit?
The length of time to process a Development Permit depends on the complexity of the project. Examples of Development Permits include Site and Architectural Review, Use Permits, Minor Land Divisions, Subdivisions, etc. These types of permits, referred to as discretionary permits, involve some level of subjective (i.e. discretionary) review to render a decision. This review may include a public hearing(s), and project-specific conditions are applied when approved. The first step in reviewing a Development Permit is a 30-day review by applicable stakeholder city departments and agencies. If your plans do not comply with city department and/or agency requirements, you will be required to submit revised plans that will be reviewed. Subsequent city department and agency reviews take two to four weeks to complete from the time a revision is submitted. More complex projects (e.g. subdivisions, planned developments, etc.) involve a lengthier approval process, and may require environmental review in addition to Site and Architectural Review and public hearings. Subdivisions, for example, typically take approximately six months to process, and also involve additional processing time for post-approval requirements (e.g. map recordation of a final map for a subdivision). In addition to the complexity of the proposed project, work load can affect processing time. Please contact a planner at 408-866-2140 to discuss the scope of your specific project to get an estimated timeline for processing.
How long does it take to get a Building Permit?
The length of time to process a Building Permit depends on the complexity of the project. Simple Building Permits, such as re-roof permits, may be able to be issued over the counter. Building Permits for residential remodels which meet applicable zoning and building codes generally take two to four weeks to issue. If your plans do not comply with a stakeholder city department and/or agency requirements, you will be required to submit revised plans that will be reviewed. Subsequent city department and/or agency reviews take two to four weeks to complete from the time a revision is submitted. In addition to the complexity of the proposed project, work load can affect processing time. Please contact the Building Division at 408-866-2130 to discuss the scope of your specific project to get an estimated timeline for processing.
Agendas & Minutes
Slideshow Left Arrow
Slideshow Right Arrow