Discretionary Permit Fees and Payments

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The cost of a discretionary permit is based on three elements: (1) An “At Cost” deposit that covers the planner’s time*, (2) Fees for other agency reviews, and (3) Surcharge and other fees that apply to all permits. Each of these elements is reviewed below.

“At Cost” Deposit 

The “At Cost” deposit is the amount you are required to provide, against which your project planner will bill their time. The current rate is $199/hour plus General Plan Maintenance & Update and Tech & Facilities surcharges. The initial At-Cost deposit amounts requested are based on the typical cost for the project type that is being applied for and will be held in an At Cost account that is linked to your application. You will receive billing statements on a regular basis during the processing of your application so that you can see how the deposit monies are being spent.  Once the application has been completed the At Cost account will be closed.  If the time and miscellaneous expenses billed to your At Cost account are less than the deposit amount, the remaining balance will be refunded. If the time and miscellaneous expenses billed to your At Cost account exceeds the deposit amount, an additional deposit will be required. 

The current initial deposit amounts for “At Cost” projects are as follows:

Project Type Deposit*
Pre-application Reviews $2,000
Minor Projects $3,000
Administrative Projects $4,500
Conditional Projects - Zoning Administrator $7,500
Conditional Projects - Planning Commission $15,000

Fees for Other Agency Reviews 

Additional fees are required to pay for the review of your project by other departments and/or agencies. For example, Environmental Planning, Public Works, Environmental Health, fire agencies, and the Clerk of the Board (for CEQA filings), who all charge separate fees to cover their staff’s time. Many of these are flat fees as listed in the adopted fee schedules but in some cases, such for Environmental Planning, an additional At Cost amount will be applied to cover staff time.  For some larger applications such as land divisions, Public Works will also require a separate At Cost fee instead of charging a flat fee. In addition, if your project requires a report review (such as a soils or geology report), a separate application will be created that will require an additional fee for the review of the report.

A list of fees that could potentially apply to your project is available here.  The actual fees required will depend on factors such as project type, development scope and site location.  Examples of the range of fees that may be charged for common project types is included here.

Surcharge and Other Fees 

All applications are charged a records management fee of $15 and are subject to a General Plan Maintenance & Update surcharge and a Technology & Facilities surcharge.  Where the time for the intake of an application is not billed to the At Cost account, additional flat fees may also be added for the intake of your application.   

*There are a few simple discretionary permits and reviews that are processed based on a flat fee as listed in the fee schedule.  For example, Zoning Clearances and Over-Height Fence Certifications. In addition, there are some simple projects that are processed At Cost where there is a different deposit than listed above. For example, Vacation Rental Permits, which are generally simple administrative projects and therefore require a smaller deposit. Revised deposit amounts may also apply on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Comments

  • If your parcel has a code compliance case with fees due, the payment of those fees will be required along with your discretionary permit application.
  • For most projects that require a discretionary permit, a building permit will be also required before you can start construction.  Information on building permit fees and any associated Capital Improvement Fees can be found here.