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Please review Permit Requirements below as they vary from project to project.
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.
If you are planning a new major residential, mixed-use development or large-scale commercial or industrial project, you may need one or more Planning entitlements from the City, in addition to Building Permits. Depending on the size, nature, and zoning district of your property, your project will likely require a multi-step review process and public hearings.
In addition to other possible required approvals, the project must obtain Design Review and related approvals from the Bureau of Planning prior to applying for a Building Permit. The Building Permit and permits for all related Mechanical, Electrical or Plumbing (MEP) work within the building must be obtained before any construction work begins. Please note that for new business activities that will be approved as part of this project, either a Zoning Clearance (Over the Counter) and/or a Conditional Use Permit (multi-month approval) may be required.
Depending on the scope of the project, separate permits may also be required from the Oakland Department of Transportation, Oakland Fire Department, and Oakland Public Works.
Who Can Apply for Permits
Who Can Be Issued Permits
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires state and local agencies to identify any significant environmental impacts from certain projects. As part of the Bureau of Planning’s review of your application, staff will determine what type of environmental review is needed for your project and will provide you with information about the fees and time required to complete the review.
Public notice is required under the Planning Code for discretionary projects. Notification is typically sent to owners of properties located within 300 feet of the project location.
If your project meets any ONE of the following criteria, a Pre-Application is recommended:
For projects meeting any of the above criteria, please submit a Pre-Application through our Online Permit Center (see Step One below).
A pre-application meeting is a formal inter-departmental review process with an application and fee. This meeting provides an opportunity for applicants to receive feedback from City staff on complicated projects or proposals. As noted above, some projects require a pre-application meeting; however, a pre-application meeting is strongly recommended for complex projects. Please call (510) 238-3911 for more information.
Once we receive your application, staff will contact you regarding your intake appointment during which your submittal will be reviewed for completeness. It is recommended that you be available for questions during that appointment, but not required. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage. Please note that processing times will vary, depending on the capacity and the complexity of your project.
Call (510) 238-3911 for Planning/Zoning questions or (510) 238-3891 for Building questions. You can also find quick answers through our Permit & Services Questions Portal.
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