Development Proposal Process Overview

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Here to Help!

The Planning and Community Environment Department is here to assist you with your development review questions and applications.


Where should I start? 

If you are just getting started with a project or you have general questions about the development review process, we have Planning staff available to assist you. To speak to a planner in person, please feel free to drop into the Development Center public service counter between the hours of 9:00am to 4:00pm (Monday through Friday) at 285 Hamilton Avenue. If you’re not able to drop in, you can also reach a planner by calling or emailing the “Planner on Duty”.  The contact number is 650-617-3117 and our email is Planner@CityofPaloAlto.org


How do I learn more about a specific property? 

If you need general information about a particular property please check out our Parcel Reports to download a PDF file that includes the assessor parcel number as well as information on the parcel’s lot size, zoning, Comprehensive Plan land use designation, flood zone, parking district, historic status, traffic impact district, and any known public easements. For single-family lots, parcel reports include the items above as well as a lot’s maximum allowable floor area, maximum allowable lot coverage, maximum height, special setbacks, and minimum front, side, and rear yard setbacks.   


What do I need to include in my application? 

The Planning Department processes a multitude of discretionary applications.  Common application types include Single Family Individual Review (IR), Home Improvement Exceptions (HIE), Variances, Architectural Review Board (ARB), Zone Changes, Subdivisions, Conditional Use Permits (CUP), Temporary Use Permits (TUP), Design Enhancement Exceptions (DEE), Historic Review, and Site and Design Review.  Under our Forms and Application web page you will find process handouts that walk you through the various processing steps of each of the discretionary planning applications.  You will also find checklists that detail for you the items that are generally required for application submittals.


Ready to submit your application?

Appointments are required for all Planning application submittals.  Please call 650-329-2442 to set up an application intake appointment.  Please be sure to carefully review the application submittal checklists found on the Forms and Applications web page to be sure you are ready to submit your application. Incomplete applications may not be accepted.