Planning Division

The Planning Division is responsible for assisting the City Council with planning for Alameda's future development and 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 public assistance on obtaining Planning Permits.  In addition to the City Council, the Planning Division also supports the Planning Board, the Historical Advisory Board, and the Public Art Commission.


Planning Permits

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. 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 approvals include:

  • Zoning Clearance for new businesses
  • Design Review for exterior building modifications
  • Sign Permit for installation of business signs
  • Use Permit for activities or business subject to special conditions
  • Home Occupation Permit for home-based businesses
  • Certificate of Approval for modifications to historic structures

When to Consult a Planner

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.  Planners are also responsible for reviewing new development to ensure it conforms to City policies, code requirements and design guidelines. 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 usually subject to a time limit and expires under specified circumstances.