Determine Project Zoning Conformity (Letter of Determination)

Developers and business owners may need a formal determination whether their proposed project meets Zoning designations or regulations, or may wish to challenge City interpretation of a project's Zoning conformity. They may seek these by applying for a Letter of Determination with the Zoning Division.

Date Posted: June 30th, 2021 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: July 19th, 2021 @ 4:41 PM

When Are Letters of Determination Needed?

Approval letter icon

Types of Letters of Determination:

  1. Burn Down Letter: If you need an official letter confirming the Zoning designation of a property.
  2. Research: If you need an official record from the City providing the Zoning history for a property.
  3. Zoning Manager Review: If you wish to legalize unpermitted units, memorialize condominium credits, memorialize permits on parcels that cut across City limits into other jurisdictions, or issue a challenge to code interpretations that are preventing aspects of your project from moving forward, you may apply for Zoning Manager Review. If you receive a Letter of Determination from the Zoning Manager rejecting your challenge, you may appeal the determination within 10 days.

Who Can Be Issued a Letter?

  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 Request a Letter



  • Download the Basic Application for Development Review
  • Complete page 1, check "Determination (DET)," and sign page 2
  • Complete a separate sheet describing your specific request, indicating which type of letter you are seeking

Once completed, e-mail your completed application and required attachments to or via our Digital Inbox for applications over 20MB.


Once we receive your application we will review your proposal. Depending on the complexity of your request, it may take up to 8 weeks to issue a response. If we need further information, we will contact you.


Call (510) 238-3911

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