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: March 28th, 2022 @ 10:14 AM

When Are Letters of Determination Needed?

Approval letter icon

Types of Letters of Determination:

  • Burn Down Letter: If you need an official letter confirming the Zoning Designation of a property
  • General Plan Determination: If your property's General Plan Designation does not match its Zoning Designation, you may request an official determination to resolve the mismatch
  • Determination by Staff (Research): If you need an official record from the City providing the Zoning history for a property and/or what is allowed under the property's Zoning Designation.
  • 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


  • Apply through our Online Permit Center (no need to login or register)
  • Fill out all required form fields, select the type of letter requested, and follow step-by-step instructions to submit


Once we receive your application we will review your proposal. 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) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

Additional Resources