Generators are defined as stationary or portable compression ignition engines used to provide power to a structure or for a given activity. Zoning review, Electrical, and Plumbing Permits are required. For large generators, a Building Permit is required.

Date Posted: January 11th, 2022 @ 2:00 PM
Last Updated: March 25th, 2022 @ 4:54 PM

When Is a Permit Required?

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Installed generators require Zoning Review. Generators should be located at the side (not in a required yard “setback”) or anywhere in a rear yard (including setback). Creek and noise considerations may apply to the review.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply


Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

STEP ONE: Zoning Review

  • Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center*
    * NOTE: You will be taken to our login page first before you can submit a Zoning Worksheet
  • In the Worksheet, upload your completed Basic Application for Development Review including all site photos, a site plan, elevations and/or a cut sheet for vendor
  • A planner will review your submission
  • Once approved, you will receive confirmation from the Zoning Division

STEP TWO: Building Permits

For small residential generators (natural gas-powered), apply for both an Electrical and Plumbing permit here:

For large generators (>400 lbs. AND with a center of gravity above 4 ft.), you will also need a Building Permit:


Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

Additional Resources