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Big Changes for Commercial Zoning

Big Changes for the Community Planning and Development Department

As many of you know, we work closely with the Department of Community Planning and Development (CPD) and some licenses require documents generated by that Department.  As one of our important City partners, we wanted to share with you some important changes that are taking place in CPD.

The commercial zoning counter is changing to half-days starting June 5

Over the past few months, the commercial zoning review process has changed quite a bit.

  • The Community Planning and Development Department changed their "zoning stamp" process. In the past, applicants for a building permit, who had already received zoning permits but did not have a zoning stamp on their plans, had to visit the zoning counter in person to receive this stamp before they were able to apply for building permits. Today, the mentioned department does this process internally as the building plans come in, and these customers no longer need to get in line for the zoning counter.
  • In April, they launched simultaneous review. This is a huge time-saver for customers and their staff. You can now apply for zoning and building permits at the same time, by getting in line for the "Log In" service at the permit counter. "Log In" is where building plans have traditionally been submitted. This line now also receives zoning plans when they are submitted at the same time as building plans, freeing up capacity at the zoning counter.
  • In May, CPD streamlined their commercial zoning webpage, guides, and applications. Clearer instructions and easy access to application downloads via the new Commercial Zoning webpage means more customers will be equipped to apply for zoning permits via email, as well as make for a quicker submittal process at the counter for customers who still prefer to come in person.

As a result, fewer customers need to see the commercial zoning staff in person at the permit counter, and so the Department is shifting these important, skilled plan reviewers away from the counter, so they can spend more time reviewing submitted applications and issuing permits. This will also free up more staff time for responding to records requests and answering customers' questions via phone and email. 

Starting Monday, June 5, the commercial zoning counter's new hours will be 8 am to noon, Monday through Friday. Check-in opens at 8 am each day and closes at 11:30 am. Like all permit counter services, check-in will close early if all available time slots for that day are taken, and check-in always closes 30 minutes before the counter closes.

As always, Community Planning and Development will accept emailed zoning application packages to at any time of day.

In addition to that, If their commercial zoning webpage looks different to you, it’s because it is!

As a complement to the residential permitting guides the Department released in 2016, there are now updated application forms and guides for commercial zoning permits as well. The new applications better reflect the information they need to complete a zoning review, and each application is accompanied by details on how to apply.

They have created Project Guides for most of their common zoning permit types - Use Permits, Construction Permits, and Temporary Use Permits - and for special situations like marijuana businesses, special event parking, home occupations, zone lot amendments, and more.

They also created sample plans that illustrate all the elements of a good zoning plan set, and listed these elements on the sample plans as well as within each of the project guides.

Easily access all this information (commercial zoning forms, guides, and sample plans) online.

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll down to "Project Guides, Applications and Instructions."

Open the drop-down menu of the permit you seek (e.g., a "zoning use permit" for a new use or a "zoning construction permit" for a fence) and follow the instructions.