Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning

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Dec 02, 2008
Last Updated:
Jan 28, 2015
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How-To, FAQ

Application Submittals FAQ

What is a Site Plan Review?

A Site Plan Review involves determining whether a project is in compliance with the Los Angeles County Code Title 22 Planning and Zoning and any applicable provisions within a Community Standards District (CSD) or special area relative to setbacks, parking, height, and related standards. It is an administrative procedure and does not require a public hearing. Note that an approval does not ensure that a lot is buildable. Please contact the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Building & Safety Division to determine which other departments you would need to obtain approvals from in order to obtain an eventual building permit. We encourage contacting Public Works, the Fire Department, and the Department of Public Health, if necessary, early on in your project.

How many sets of plans do I need to submit with my application?

Please consult the checklist for the appropriate application for this information. You may also choose to contact the public counter for assistance.

Do I need to submit blueprint drawings with my application?

Yes, plans are required for most applications. Please consult the checklist for the appropriate application for this information.

How much does it cost to file my application?

Please refer to the fee schedule for the cost of a particular application submittal. You may also choose to contact the public counter for assistance.

What payment methods does the Regional Planning Department accept?

We accept payment in cash or checks only. If writing a check, please write it payable to “Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning”.

What applications do you accept through postal mail?

We only accept rebuild letter requests, One-Stop Counseling meeting requests, and Business License Referrals and other license referrals through postal mail. All other applications must be submitted in person. Some applications must be submitted in person with an appointment. Please refer to the checklist of the appropriate application. If an appointment is needed, please call (213) 974-6438.

If you are sending in one of the applications that are accepted though the mail, please include a check written for the appropriate amount payable to “Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning”. If the appropriate payment is not included, your request will not be processed and may be returned to you.

For One-Stop Counseling meetings, once your request and the appropriate payment are received, you will be contacted by phone for an appointment. For more information regarding One-Stop Counseling meetings, please contact us.

How much time will it take for review?

The initial review for a Site Plan Review and Certificate of Compliance applications are currently taking 6-8 weeks. Discretionary applications requiring a public hearing, not including Subdivision applications or in conjunction with Subdivision applications, are currently taking approximately 1 year to process. Applications which involve a subdivision are currently taking a minimum of 2-3 years to complete.

Can I pay more for the Regional Planning Department to expedite my application? Can projects be approved over the counter?

Unfortunately, we do not have an expediting service on any of our applications. Furthermore, we do not approve projects over the counter. Please take the above mentioned processing time into consideration when planning your development.

Do I need an appointment to file my application?

All discretionary applications, Temporary Use Permit applications, Lot Line Adjustment applications, and the filing of three or more Site Plan Review, Certificate of Compliance, and/or Zoning Conformance Review applications require an appointment for filing. If an appointment is needed, this is specified on the respective application and checklist. To determine the appropriate application to file, please contact the public counter for assistance. If an appointment is needed, please call (213) 974-6438 for an appointment.

Do I need an Oak Tree Permit?

An Oak Tree Permit is required if you are proposing to cut, destroy, remove, relocate, inflict damage, or encroach into a protected zone of any tree of the oak genus which is:

  • 25 inches or more in circumference (8 inches in diameter) as measured 4 ½’ above mean natural grade. In the case of an oak with more than one trunk, whose combined circumference of any two trucks is at least 38 inches (12 inches in diameter) as measured 4 ½’ above mean natural grade
  • Any tree that has been provided as a replacement tree

If only one oak tree is affected in conjunction with a single family residential project, you may apply for an Administrative Oak Tree Permit (without Public Hearing). Click here for the application.

If more than one oak tree is affected, you must apply for a Public Hearing Oak Tree Permit. Click here for the application.

For more information about the Oak Tree Permit, click here. You may also choose to contact the public counter for assistance.

I have an oak tree that I believe is posing a danger. How do I obtain permission to remove the oak tree?

If you believe that an existing oak tree may endanger the safety of property or people, please contact the Los Angeles County Forester for the possibility of an Emergency Oak Tree Permit to remove the oak tree. The Forester may be contacted at (323) 890-5719. If the Forester indicates that an emergency oak tree permit cannot be issued, but that an Oak Tree Permit must be first obtained with the Regional Planning Department, please click here for the application and more information.

Are there any exemptions to the Oak Tree Permit?

There are few exemptions to the Oak Tree Permit process. These include a project which has obtained an Emergency Oak Tree Permit from the County Forester; the emergency or routine maintenance by a public utility necessary to protect or maintain an electric power or communication line or other property of a public utility; tree maintenance, limited to medium pruning of branches not to exceed 2 inches in diameter in accordance with guidelines published by the National Arborists Association (see Class II), intended to ensure the continued health of a protected tree; trees planted, grown and/or held for sale by a licensed nursery; and trees within existing road rights-of-way where pruning is necessary to obtain adequate line-of-sight distances and/or to keep street and sidewalk easements clear of obstructions, or to remove or relocate trees causing damage to roadway improvements or other public facilities and infrastructure within existing road rights-of-way, as required by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

For more information about the Oak Tree Permit, click here. You may also choose to contact the public counter for assistance.

What is a Certificate of Compliance?

A Certificate of Compliance (CofC) is a recorded document certifying a parcel is complying with state and local land division laws. For more information about the CofC, please click here.

Do I need a Certificate of Compliance?

A Certificate of Compliance (CofC) is needed if you have current plans to build or sell your property. If you are planning to transfer your property, a CofC may be required by your real estate representative, escrow company, or title company.

If you are planning a development on your property, please contact our office to determine whether a CofC would be required. Typically, the only exemptions from the CofC is a remodeling, minor additions, or repair of existing structures, which do not change the use or density of the structure; business signage proposal; and the addition of accessory structures. If a property has a previously recorded CofC, a new CofC is also not necessary. However, please provide a copy of the recorded CofC along with any applications you are submitting.

For more information on our office locations and hours, please click here.

Will my Certificate of Compliance get approved? Will there be problems?

A Certificate of Compliance (CofC) will be issued as unconditional or conditional. If a CofC is issued with conditions, the property owner must satisfy the conditions of the CofC and submit for a clearance of conditions. This request for a clearance of conditions requires a fee. Generally, conditions imposed on a Conditional CofC pertain to access and inadequate lot size. If the conditions of a CofC cannot be satisfied and cleared, development on the property is prohibited.

How do I request a Temporary Use Permit to hold a special event for the community? What kinds of events qualify for a Temporary Use Permit?

Events or activities which qualify for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) include carnivals, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, pageants, and religious observances sponsored by a public agency or a religious, fraternal, educational, or service organization directly engaged in civic, charitable or public service endeavors conducted for no more than 6 weekends or 7 days during a 12-month period; movie on-location filming for a period of time determined by the Director; and outside display or sales of goods, equipment, merchandise, or exhibits, in a commercial zone, conducted not more than once during any 12-month period with each time not exceeding one weekend or three consecutive calendar days, provided that all goods, equipment and merchandise are the same as those sold or held for sale within the business on the lot or parcel of land where the outside display and sales are proposed.

For extended time periods, notification to the surrounding community and the satisfaction of the Burden of Proof is also necessary for approval. For more information about the TUP process, click here.

Please complete and follow the instructions on the TUP application (PDF or Word) for submittal. Note that the TUP application must be submitted 30 days prior to the actual event date. An appointment is required for submittal. Please call (213) 974-6438 for an appointment.

Does my project need an Environmental Assessment? If so, what do I need to do?

Projects that generally require an environmental assessment include Discretionary Director’s Review, Conditional Use Permits, Oak Tree Permits requiring a public hearing, Zone Changes, Plan Amendments, Tentative Parcel Maps, and Tentative Tract Maps.

Please complete the environmental information section in the application that you are submitting. An environmental initial study fee will be charged at the time of submittal of your application. Note that additional fees may be required at a later time if your project is referred to other agencies for review.

Do I need a soils report?

A soils report may be needed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Building Safety Division, main office at (626) 458-3173, or Land Development Division, main office at (626) 458-4921, for more information. The Regional Planning Department does not require soils reports.

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Department of Regional Planning
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
T: (213) 974-6411 . F: (213) 626-0434
TDD: (213) 617-2292
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