Planning Division

The Planning Division staff serves the City Council, the Planning Board, and the Historic Advisory Board and is responsible for two primary functions:

  1. Assisting the City Council with planning for Alameda's future development.
  2. Reviewing proposed development projects for compliance with the City of Alameda's adopted policies and ordinances.

Planning staff are available in the Permit Center to provide information on land use, zoning, site development standards, historic preservation, and General Plan policies.


Planning Permits


A consultation with Planning is often the first step in the permitting processes. Planning review is required for most alterations to a building's exterior and all new construction of structures. We also review business license applications to verify the use of a particular property conforms with the Zoning Ordinance. We are responsible for the review of proposed development to ensure it conforms to City policies, code requirements and design guidelines, as well as processing planning permits for projects that require them. We provide assistance to applicants to prepare and obtain planning permits, and to help them understand the regulations that apply to their projects. A planning permit is an entitlement that grants a particular use (activity) or development (buildings and subdivision of land) to proceed on a specific properties. It is always subject to a time limit and expires under specified circumstances unless. The responsible authority may impose conditions when granting a permit.


Planning Permits are sometimes confused with Building Permits; however, they are not the same. Building permits relate to the method of construction of a building or development. If your project requires a planning permit, it usually also requires a building permit.  Planning permits are also subject to conditions of approval. 


The most common types of Planning Permits include:

  • Design Review
  • Sign Permit
  • Use Permit
  • Home Occupation Permit
  • Certificate of Approval
  • Variance