Planning & Development Services


Revised Construction Advisory Effective 12/21/2020  

Please be advised that Santa Clara County has issued a Revised Mandatory Directive for Construction Projects. Violations of the public health orders are subject to civil and/or criminal enforcement, including but not limited to fines and penalties, suspension or revocation of permits or licenses, stop-work orders, refusals to inspect, and other consequences.

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


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.

Planning Application Intake Appointments:

Starting 2021, virtual appointments are required to submit all Planning Entitlement applications. Appointments can be made by calling the Planning Division at (650) 329-2441 x0. 
Prior to making your appointment, upload all required documents as a Planning Pre-Application through the City’s Online Permitting Services portal. Directions on creating an account and submitting a pre-app are available at Please note, the account used for the pre-app will be the main contact and uploader for the entirety of the project.
For questions, please contact our Planner-on-Duty hotline at 650-617-3117 or email



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
  • To schedule a building inspection, please call 650-329-2496 and press 2.
  • 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 our valued customers: As you know, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all. Impacts to our organization include a reduction in staff and other resources. Please know we are working hard to respond as quickly as we can to your inquiries, but it may take longer than usual during this time. Please refrain from calling multiple staff, as several team members responding to you will further reduce resources. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

 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 they were 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 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   Please email 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

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 for iOS and Androidmust  complete the “Inspection Screening Form” and email the completed form to

 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.

What We Do

Planning & Development Services (PDS) Department provides the City Council and community with creative guidance and effective implementation of land use development, planning, transportation, housing and environmental policies, plans and programs in order to maintain and enhance the City’s safety, vitality, and attractiveness.

Functional Areas

The PDS Department includes the following functional areas.

Note: Building permits and general zoning and development review are handled by the Planning & Development Services.

Popular Places

Check out some of the most commonly visited pages on our website.

Contact Us

Please follow the below links to learn how to connect with us in person or by phone or email.