An overview of services and programs within the Land Development section.

Permit Processing and Related Services

Engineering Services provided include review, approval, and issuance of grading, public improvement (private development), and encroachment permits, as well as maintaining City maps and records. Engineering counter staff provides assistance to the public and responds to inquiries regarding engineering-related issues involved in public and private developments, including inquiries for related fees and inspections. The City Engineering inspectors enforce the City Engineering standards and ensure the vision of City Council is being met. They are responsible for inspecting private construction, utility permits, grading and improvement plans, public improvement, encroachment permits, sewer construction and conduct routine stormwater compliance inspections.

Planning Services provided include processing discretionary land use and development applications to ensure compliance with all City zoning standards, plans, policies, guidelines and regulations, including environmental review. Staff supports the Planning Commission and oversees the operation of the Staff Advisory Committee, which meets with prospective applicants on a weekly basis to familiarize them with City standards and provide early input in the design process. Planning counter staff provides assistance to the public and responds to inquiries regarding land use and zoning issues, as well as fee information for service provided.

Planning Commission

Conducts public hearings, renders determinations, and makes recommendations to the City Council on a variety of land use matters. Click here for more information and links to Planning Commission agendas, staff reports and meeting minutes.

Citizen Participation Plans & Public Noticing Requirements

There are two components to the City’s public outreach requirements for development projects: the Citizen Participation Plan (CPP) process and providing legal, public notice prior to public hearings or prior to making determinations on development applications. Public outreach requirements vary depending on the application type.  For CPP coordination, please contact Maria Gremban, Program Assistant at (760) 633-2684.

Staff Advisory Committee

The Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) provides an opportunity, at no cost, for a property owner or applicant to meet with City development review staff at various stages of the review process. The SAC can provide assistance to identify issues prior to project design, guide the applicant through the development review process, and provide assistance in understanding and meeting project conditions of approval during the construction permitting process.

Affordable Unit Policy

The City recognizes that many unpermitted units provide affordable housing that may not otherwise be available. As such, the Affordable Unit Policy (AUP) was adopted by the City Council as a quid pro quo – in exchange for waivers of certain zoning standards and legalization of the unit, the space must be brought into compliance with current building and fire codes and be rent restricted. For more information on the AUP, refer to the FAQ and the AUP application.

Green Building Incentive Program

The City of Encinitas Green Building Incentive Program provides financial incentive, priority plan check, and City Council recognition for projects that register and achieve certification with Build It Green (BIG) GreenPoint Rated and/or US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ®. Once registered with the City’s program, all plan checks for construction-related permits will receive priority in the City’s plan check process. On completion of the project and certification by BIG or LEED®, the project will be eligible for reimbursement for the costs of providing green building measures to achieve final certification up to a maximum of $2,000 per project.

Heritage Tree Nominations

Planning Commission may designate a tree as a Heritage Tree upon finding that the tree is unique and of importance to the community due to any of the following factors (UFMP Administrative Procedures Manual Section 9.00):

  1. The tree(s) is/are one of the oldest and largest of its species.
  2. The tree(s) is/are of unique form or species.
  3. The tree(s) has/have historic significance due to an association with an historic building, site, street, person or event.
  4. The tree(s) is/are a defining landmark or significant outstanding feature of a neighborhood.

For a tree(s) to be considered for designation as a Heritage Tree, a nomination form must be submitted to the Planning & Building Department. The tree(s) will be inspected by staff to make sure all designation criteria are met. The nomination request along with the results of staff’s inspection will be forwarded to the Environmental Commission for evaluation. If the nomination is approved by the Environmental Commission, the nomination will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for final approval.

Historic Property Programs

Encinitas Register of Historic Property: In December of 2003, the City Council by resolution approved and adopted the creation of the Encinitas Register of Historic Property commonly referred to as the local Register. The local Register is a comprehensive inventory of historic structures and properties that exemplify the cultural heritage of Encinitas and have been determined to be important cultural resources to the City. Based upon the significance of the contribution that these structures provide to the City, the City Council has deemed that special efforts shall be made to preserve these structures for the benefit of the community for years to come. As a result, anyone wishing to propose an exterior modification, relocation, or demolition of any structure on the local Register must first have that request reviewed by the Development Services Department and the City Council.  In order to have a historic property added to the local Register, an application must be completed and submitted to the Development Services Department.  Additionally, the property must meet the criteria for significance.  Both the application and the list of criteria can be found here.

Mills Act Program: The City’s Mills Act Program is agreement to provide reduced property taxes on eligible historic property if the property owner agrees to maintain and preserve the property for a minimum of ten years. Any property over fifty years old seeking tax relief under the Mills Act must demonstrate eligibility through a site-specific historic survey and be placed on an official registry of historic places (National, State, or local). The Mills Act Program serves as an incentive to owners of historic properties to preserve and maintain the historic property for the benefit of the entire community. The Mills Act Program is authorized in State law (G.C. 50280, et seq.).

Proposition A

To learn more about how Proposition A impacts land development applications, consult the Proposition A FAQ sheet.           

Urban Agriculture

The Urban Agriculture Ordinance allows for small-scale urban agriculture activities and creates a simplified and affordable regulatory process for those interested in pursuing urban agriculture activities in the City. For further information, refer to the Urban Agriculture FAQ and Agricultural Permit Application.