Development Services

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Planning and Development Services proudly introduces:

The Online Permit Services System!

 

By offering online permit services, the City can continue to serve customers while sheltering in place. After discussing your project with a Planner, begin a pre-application by following these instructions and to learn more click here.

Due to the Shelter in Place Order, Planning & Development Services staff are working remotely. Walk-in services are not available.

To reach Development Center staff, please call 650-329-2496. To learn more about phone services click here.

For general planning questions, please call 650-617-3117 or email Planner@CityofPaloAlto.org.

To schedule a building inspection, please call 650-329-2496 and press 2.

Before scheduling an inspection, you must implement Appendix A and either Appendix B-1 or B-2, as appropriate, of the County Health Order.

To report a code violation, please use 311 or call our Code Enforcement Team at 650-329-2605.

In accordance with the Shelter in Place Order, Code Enforcement staff are not performing on-site inspections.

For COVID-19 related questions, please call the Community Support Call Center at (650) 272-3181.

To submit an application, please utilize the Online Permit Services system.

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Online Permit Pre-Applications Available

Pre-applications for building permits can be filed online through Palo Alto’s Accela Citizen Access portal. The online pre-application process allows prospective building permits applicants to submit their pre-applications and upload digital building plans and documents. Staff then review the application materials to ensure all necessary documents have been provided. The applicant will be notified once the online submittal package is considered complete and ready for the building permit application intake phase.

Please visit our Online Permit Services web page to learn more.

The Energy Reach Code Ordinance, which requires “All-Electric” designs for all new low-rise residential projects, takes effect on April 1, 2020. This pre-application process will allow applicants to submit their projects before the new code takes effect.


Ordinance Addresses Expired Building Permits & Planning Applications/Entitlements 

On May 4, 2020, the Palo Alto City Council adopted Ordinance 5496 which temporarily suspends the expiration of Building Applications, Building Permits, Planning Applications, and Planning Entitlements. The ordinance automatically extends these applications and permits if their valid and  not in ‘expired’ status as of March 16, 2020.  

Planning Applications/Entitlements and Building Applications/Permits that were in ‘ACTIVE’ status on March 16, 2020 will be automatically extended six (6) months after the Shelter in Place (SIP) order is lifted.  No action is required on your part. The extensions will be automatically administered by City staff. 

Planning Applications/Entitlements and Building Applications/Permits expired or not valid prior to March 16, 2020 are not eligible for the automatic permit extension. Applicants and permit holders must apply for reactivation of their permits and applications.   Please fill out a request form to reactivate building permits and email completed form to expiredpermits@cityofpaloalto.org.   Please email expiredpermits@cityofpaloalto.org or call (650) 329-2288 if you have additional questions regarding expired building permits.   For questions on expired Planning Applications/Entitlements, please contact Planner on Duty at (650)617-3117 or email  Planner@CityofPaloAlto.org.


Schedule Inspections with Accela Citizen Access or PA iRequest App

Scheduling inspections with Accela Citizen Access (ACA) or the PA Inspection Request Mobile App (PA iRequest) Now Available!

In accordance with the City of Palo Alto’s protocols to ensure compliance with Santa Clara County’s Public Health Order, applicants who wish to schedule inspections online with Accela Citizen Access (ACA) or the Palo Alto Inspection App (PA iRequest)  must  complete the “Inspection Screening Form” and email the completed form to inspectionscreeningform@cityofpaloalto.org

 City staff will review the form and reply back with further instructions on utilizing ACA  or the PA iRequest App for scheduling of inspections. Only one completed screening form is required for each permit and is valid for all inspections required for the scope of the permit.

Accela Citizen Access (ACA) – View all Building or Fire permits, cancel or reschedule inspections and view inspection history.

 

Building Inspections Resume for Construction Projects 

To schedule an inspection you may call 650-329-2496 and press 2. Before scheduling an inspection you must implement Appendix A and either Appendix B-1 or B-2, as appropriate, of the County Health Order. 

 Accela Citizen Access (ACA) – View all Building or Fire permits.


Mission

Development Services is a resource for homeowners, businesses, designers and contractors. The goal of our staff is to help our customers build safe, healthy and sustainable buildings that comply with applicable codes and regulations. We see ourselves as an integral part of each project team and are committed to establishing positive working relationships with our partners, while focusing on problem solving and delivering exceptional customer service.

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Building Division

The Palo Alto Building Division serves as a resource for homeowners, businesses, designers and contractors. The goal of our staff is to help our customers build safe, healthy and sustainable buildings that comply with applicable codes and regulations. We see ourselves as an integral part of each project team and are committed to establishing positive working relationships with our partners, while focusing on problem solving and delivering exceptional customer service. Programs included in the division include building plan check, inspections, permitting, and green building.


Fire Prevention Bureau

 The mission of the Palo Alto Fire Prevention Bureau, within the city's Development Center, is to provide quality and timely development services. Our fire prevention staff performs fire plan checks, reviews, permitting, and field inspections. Our goal is to accommodate all requests for service in a time frame that meets our customer's needs. 


Planning & Development Services

Planning & Development Services (PDS) provides services in long range planning, current planning, and transportation. The Planning Section provides staff support for the Planning & Transportation Commission, the Architectural Review Board, the Historic Resources Board, and administers the City's housing programs as well as preparing and monitoring the Comprehensive Plan and providing long-range planning studies.


Public Works

Public Works provides services integral to our community on a daily basis. Our department's mission is to provide quality services with commitment, courtesy and pride. In partnership with the Palo Alto community, we strive to offer efficient, cost effective and environmentally responsible services that make Palo Alto a beautiful, vibrant and appealing City in which to live and work. The Public Works Department is comprised of a variety of divisions however there are three divisions that typically relate to development services. These divisions include Public Works Engineering, Water Quality, and Urban Forestry.

Utilities

 We in Utilities are eager to help make your project successful and be sure you are safely hooked up to all the electric, gas, water and sewer services you may need. Utilities also handles commercial "dark fiber optic network" connections. Be advised that all utility-related projects within the City's public right of way (including gas services up to and encompassing the gas meter) need to conform to the Water, Gas & Wastewater Standards and Electrical Requirements as described on the linked pages and any relevant Public Works Standards---unless otherwise approved in writing by the responsible Engineering Manager. Private utilities on private property are under the jurisdiction of the City's Planning Department, Building Inspection Division.