Planning Permits

Zoning lists allowable uses. In LA County’s Zoning Code, it also describes design requirements and required permit(s) for development. Visit Land Use and Zoning for more information.

Subdivisions also have to meet requirements from the County’s Subdivisions Code and the state Subdivision Map Act.

LA County Planning processes land use permits for areas outside a city in Los Angeles County. We look at zoning to check allowable uses and design requirements. We also look at certain local requirements, such as plants, hillsides, and community character.

We will work with you so you know what is possible on your property.


There are three main types of permit applications with LA County Planning.

Referrals and Letters

Sometimes, another County department or agency asks us to verify information. Common ones are referrals for business licenses.

We also register yard sales and verify zoning in writing.

Permits and Reviews

There are two main types of permits: ministerial and discretionary.

Ministerial, or by right permits, have to meet all zoning and design requirements. We check and review requirements before approving.

If you are grading or building, you will need other approvals before starting work.

Discretionary permits have to be appropriate for the location. This is decided during a public hearing. Extra requirements, called conditions, are also added to each project.

If you are grading or building, you will need other approvals before starting work. Inspections might also be required.


Subdivisions is a type of discretionary application that divides land into smaller lots or units for sale, lease, or financing. The subdivision design is on a tentative map. Every tentative map is reviewed by the County Subdivision Committee, which includes these County Departments:

  • Planning
  • Public Works
  • Fire
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Health

Subdivisions have to be appropriate for the location. This is decided during a public hearing. Requirements, called conditions, are added to each project. Subdivision projects also might need related permits.

After tentative map approval, sometimes the project needs to be the updated or changed. There are several applications depending on the type of change. The final map shows the new legal lots or units. Certain conditions apply before creating the new lots or units. Other conditions are before grading or building.

If you are grading or building, you will need other approvals before starting work.


When you have a project in mind, we can provide counseling before you file the application. We provide counseling for all types of projects.

In Person

We provide general counseling at all Field Office counters. We recommend in person counseling for general information and simple projects.

Starting February 21, 2023, we now offer general subdivision counseling in person at the Santa Clarita Valley Field Office. Every first and third Tuesday morning of the month, LA County Planning, Public Works, Public Health, and Fire (first Tuesday only) will be there to answer general questions. 

Phone and Email

We provide counseling by phone at (213) 974-6411 and email at We recommend phone and email counseling for general information.

More options are below for more complicated projects.


We also provide virtual zoning and planning counseling by Teams. Sign up for virtual counseling and you will receive a link to use and share. We recommend virtual counseling for general information and simple projects. Virtual counseling also works well for early counseling on more complicated projects.

Virtual with other County Departments

We provide more formal virtual counseling with other County Departments, called LA County Pre-Application Counseling. For a fee, you will meet with key County Departments and receive written notes from the meeting. We also try and assign the same planner for your LA County Pre-Application Counseling to your application if you file. We recommend LA County Pre-Application Counseling for complicated projects and subdivisions.

We require LA County Pre-Application Counseling for development in the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone. We also require pre-application counseling in special environmental areas called Significant Ecological Areas.

LA County Pre-Application Counseling needs a Pre-Application Counseling application so we can better understand your project.


When you are ready, you can file an application. Visit Applications and Forms for more information.

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