Frequently Asked Questions

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A listing of frequently asked questions is available below. If your question is not addressed or if you would like additional information, please contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov.

  • Can I conduct a business from my home?

    First, you will need to determine the zoning district your property is located in. This can be done by entering in your address or Assessor’s Parcel Number in our Interactive Map. Once you know your Zoning District, you look up the permitted uses (that is, to verify whether conducting a business is allowed in your district).

    If your residence is located in a residential zoning district that allows Home Occupations, you may conduct business from your home as long as you comply with a few regulations. For more information on the regulations for conducting a business from home within a single-family zoning district, please see Chapter 18.100 of the Zoning Code.

    If your intended use is not listed, or if you are unable to determine your zoning district or permitted uses within your zoning district, please contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov.

  • Can I make an appointment with a Planner?

    You may make an appointment with a Planner for a specific project by directly contacting a Planner or stopping by the Permit Center during counter hours. Permit Center counter hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (except the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 9:00 a.m. - 10: 30 a.m. when staff meetings are held and staff are not available).

    Contact a Planner

  • Can I reactivate a Development Entitlement that has expired prior to obtaining a building permit?

    Yes, but with some exceptions. For more information, please contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov.

  • How can I comment on specific pending planning projects?

    The City welcomes public comment on land use items. While public notices are sent to nearby properties with information on the pending project and how to provide comments, all members of the public may provide comment and/or view project plans by contacting the project planner. For more information on public noticing requirements, please view our Noticing Requirements Summary.

    To submit comments for a Public Hearing:

    Written comments and/or materials or comments in electronic format for specific projects can be directed to Planning@santaclaraca.gov. Comments may also be submitted in person at the Community Development Department (1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050). You can also send an e-mail to the planner assigned to a project by checking our Current Developments webpage.

    It is encouraged to submit public comments early to allow the Planning Commission adequate review time. Written public comments will be received up until 12:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Oral public comments may be made during the corresponding public hearing.

    If you have questions about accessing links or commenting issues, please call us at (408) 615-2450.

  • How can I obtain feedback on a development proposal prior to submitting an application?

    A pre-application review process is required prior to architectural review and the formal consideration of a development proposal. For a listing of associated fees, please review the Planning Fee Schedule.

    Individuals may discuss proposals in person with a Planner at the Permit Center. For more information, contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov for more information.

  • How do I find general plan and zoning land use information?

    General Plan and Zoning Code information may be obtained in any of the following ways:

  • How tall can my house be? How many stories can my house be?

    A single-family residence in a single-family zoning district is allowed to be up to twenty-five (25) feet in height and may have no more than two stories. For more information, please see Chapters 18.10 and 18.12 of the Zoning Code.

  • I live on a corner lot. Which is the front and which is the side property line?

    For corner lots, the narrowest street frontage of the lot is the front property line, and the longest street frontage of the lot is the side property line, regardless of location of the entrance into the house or orientation of the house to either street.

  • I see a development posting sign at a property near my home or in an area of interest to me. Can I see the plans or comment on the proposed construction?

    Plans are available for review at the Community Development Department. Interested individuals are welcome to contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov, or stop by to speak to the project planner regarding the proposed project.

  • What are the new projects in the City?

    To view information on major projects, visit the Development Activity webpage.

  • What are the regulations for "accessory units" (for example: garages, sheds, etc.) and "accessory structures" (for example: gazebos, trellises, arbors, etc.)?

    An accessory unit may be attached to or detached from the existing single-family home. Regulations and requirements differ for each. For more information, please refer to the Accessory Unit Administrative Review handout and see Chapters 18.10.030 and 18.12.030 of the Zoning Code. You may also contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov for any additional questions.

  • What are the rules for fences?

    For single-family residential properties, fences are generally limited to three (3) feet in height in the required front yard or street. Behind the required front yards and corner street side yards, fences are generally limited to six (6) feet in height with one (1) foot of open/non-solid lattice material on top. However, corner lots, unusually shaped lots, and Planned Development (PD) zones have different requirements.

    For more information, please refer to the Regulations Covering Erection of Fences handout or Chapter 18.64 of the Zoning Code or contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov.

  • What is a Legal Nonconforming Use?

    A use of land or a structure which was legally established according to the zoning and building laws of the time, but which does not meet current zoning and building regulations. In other words, a use of land or a structure that was legal at the time but not anymore. As such, no change or further action is necessary. However, if a change is proposed by the property owner, then the new land use or structure must comply with the current laws. Please refer to Chapter 18.94 of the Zoning Code for more information.

  • What is the zoning designation of my property?

    Using the interactive Map Santa Clara, along with the street address or Assessor's Parcel Number (APN), you can find the zoning and general plan information, along with contours, aerials, and other property-related information.

  • What permits do I need for a new or replacement sign?

    You will need Architectural Review Approval and a sign permit, in addition to applicable building and electronic permits. For more information, please refer to Chapter 18.80 of the Zoning Code or contact the Permit Center at (408) 615-2420.

  • What size addition may I make to my house?

    Size additions are dependent on a formula called maximum building coverage. This formula refers to the percentage of the total area of your lot that is covered by any buildings. Per Chapter 18.12.110 of the Zoning Code, a single-family residence’s maximum building coverage is 40%. Therefore, you may make an addition to your home as long as it does not cause your maximum building coverage to exceed 40% and meets all other relevant regulations.

    If you have any questions on what your current building coverage is or how to calculate your maximum building coverage, please contact the Planning Division at (408) 615-2450 or Planning@santaclaraca.gov.

  • Where can I find information on parking space dimensions, parking stripe regulations, and number of required parking spaces?

    Please refer to Chapters 18.10.120 or 18.12.120 of the Zoning Code for information on parking related to single-family homes, as well as Chapter 18.74 for all other uses.

  • Where do I find the expiration date of an approved Development Entitlement?

    Please refer to the Development Entitlement document itself, and specifically the section entitled, "conditions", "permit expiration", "time limit", or "term."

  • Where is City Hall?

    Santa Clara City Hall is located at 1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

    Directions

    City Hall Map

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