Community Development & Planning
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Services – Planning
Long Range Planning
The primary focus of Long Range Planning is to implement the Ukiah Valley General Plan which consists of seven State mandated elements, including a State-certified Housing Element and seven optional elements.
Completion of specific projects, which to date have emanated from the goals, policies, and implementation measures contained in the General Plan, include the Ukiah Municipal Airport Master Plan and Comprehensive Land Use Guidelines, Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Landscaping and Streetscape Guidelines, Commercial Development Guidelines, Riverside Park Master Plan and Phase 1 development, the Stream and Creek Enhancement Plans for Doolin Creek and Orr Creek.
Long Range Planning staff also develop, implement, and/or assist in the creation of special programs and projects related to long range community development such as the Airport Industrial Park Planned development, Orr Creek and Orchard Avenue extension, annexation studies and maintenance of the Zoning Ordinance to reflect current State law and modern planning principles.
Staff also coordinates and collaborates with the County of Mendocino in regards to the Ukiah Valley Area Plan and projects and programs located in the county that affect the City of Ukiah.
Staff is currently working on or has recently completed the following long range planning projects.
- Downtown Zoning Code
- Water Rights Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
- Subdivision Ordinance Amendment for Lot Line Adjustment and Parcel Mergers
- Municipal Services Review (MSR)
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Climate Action Plan
- Plastic Bag Ordinance
- Zoning Ordinance Amendment for Airport Development
- Sphere of Influence Update
- Brush Street Triangle Annexation
For additional information on long range planning, contact Kevin Thompson, Principal Planner at 707-463-6207 or email@example.com.
Current planning staff assists property owners, developers, and the public in matters related to the use and development of private property. This includes: providing information on the regulations and guidelines that apply to property and projects; review and processing of building permits; providing assistance on project design and development; processing land use entitlements for private and public development proposals; and performing environmental review associated with development proposals. Current planning staff also provides professional planning support to the Planning Commission, City Council, Design Review Board, Zoning Administrator, City Engineer, Paths, Open Space, and Creeks Commission, Demolition Permit Review Committee, and Building Appeals Board.
Land Use Entitlements
Land use entitlements processed include Use Permits, Site Development Permits, Variances, Lot Line Adjustments, Rezonings, General Plan Amendments, and Subdivisions of land. A list of current projects is maintained by the department and updated quarterly.
As part of processing applications for land use entitlements for development proposals, staff also performs environmental review and analysis required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As part of this process, staff determines if the project qualifies for an exemption from environmental review or if the project requires the preparation of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, or environmental impact report (EIR).
Project Design and Development
Staff provides assistance to project applicants in developing site plans and building designs that promote an aesthetic and functional quality for community development, are consistent with adopted city ordinances and guidelines, and maximize the probability the project will be approved by the Zoning Administrator, City Engineer, Planning Commission, or City Council.
Pre-development meetings with staff are encouraged and welcomed. These meetings provide an opportunity for a property owner or developer to discuss a potential project with staff early on in the process, allowing staff to provide information on the requirements that would apply to the project, provide input on building and site design, and to work collaboratively to create a project that meets the needs of the applicant, the design and development goals of the community, and has a high likelihood of approval. Design Review Board and Planning Commission pre-application review is also available.
Decision-Making and Advisory Bodies
Staff provides professional planning support to the Planning Commission, City Council, Design Review Board, Zoning Administrator, City Engineer, Paths, Open Space and Creeks Commission, Demolition Permit Review Committee, and the Building Appeals Board.
The Planning Commission is composed of five members appointed by the City Council. The Planning Commission is responsible for reviewing and deciding on major land use entitlements such as Major Use Permits, Site Development Permits, and Variances. The Planning Commission also makes recommendations to to the City Council on proposed changes to the General Plan, Zoning Code, and other land use matters.
The Planning Commission meetings are on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Civic Center.
Design Review Board
The Design Review Board is composed of five members appointed by the City Council. The members have various types of education and/or experience in architecture and design, landscape architecture, building contracting, urban planning, civil engineering, or a similar field. The Design Review Board is advisory to the City Council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Administrator on all Site Development Permits, Planned Developments, Precise Development Plans, and urban design.
The Design Review Board meetings are on the second Thursday of the month at 3:00 p.m. at the Civic Center.
The Planning Director acts as the Zoning Administrator. The purpose of the Zoning Administrator is to improve efficiency and reduce the time needed to process minor discretionary land use applications, such as Use Permits, Site Development Permits, and Variances. The Zoning Administrator has the authority to refer any application to the Planning Commission for review and decision.
The Zoning Administrator meets as needed once applications are ready for public hearing. The meetings are held at the Civic Center.
The City Engineer is the review and approval authority for Minor Subdivisions and Lot Line Adjustments. The City Engineer meets as needed once applications are ready for public hearing. The meetings are held at the Civic Center.
Paths, Open Space and Creeks Commission
The Paths, Open Space, and Creeks Commission (POSC) serves in an advisory capacity to the City Council on matters pertaining to the efficient implementation of the Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan, the pathways included in the Transportation Element of the General Plan, and on funding mechanisms for acquisition, preservation, and effective stewardship of City paths, open space, and creeks.
POSC holds a workshop meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. and a regular meeting on the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center.
Demolition Permit Review Committee
The Demolition Permit Review Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the City Council on applications to demolish structures more than 50 years of age. The Committee consists of five members appointed by the City Council, including three members of City staff.
The Committee meets as needed to review and make recommendations on demolition permit applications. Meetings are held at the Civic Center.
Building Appeals Board
The Building Appeals Board consists of five members (appointed by the City Council) and decides appeals of orders, decisions, or determinations of the Building Official. Board members are required to have one of the following qualifications: registered design professional, licensed general or special contractor, certified building or fire inspector.
The Board meets as needed at the Civic Center.
Apps & Handouts
- Planning Permit Application
- Address Assignment or Change Application
- Sign Permit Checklist
- Temporary Banner Permit Application
- Temporary Objects Permit Application
- Outdoor Dining Permit Application
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can I do with my property?
- What is the zoning of my property and what does my zoning designation mean?
- What size structure can I building on my property?
- What are my setbacks?
- What type of business can I operate in my specific zone?
- How can I get zoning clearance to open a new business?
- Can I operate a business out of my home (home occupation)?
- Can I put up a banner?
- Does the City have requirements for signs?
- Do signs require a permit?
- I’d like to construct an addition to my house. What do I need to know?
- Can I have chickens in the city?
- Can I have a beehive in the city?
- Does the City regulate trees?
- What information should I bring with me if I come in to speak with someone at the counter?
- Can you tell me what is happening with a project/business/piece of property?
- Can I subdivide my property?
- Is my property in a Flood Zone? What is my Flood Zone?
What can I do with my property?
What is the zoning of my property and what does my zoning designation mean?
Each parcel within the Ukiah city limits has a zoning designation which determines how the property can be used and developed. The Zoning Ordinance defines all zones and establishes the uses allowed, parcel size, building setbacks, parking requirements, and other requirements. The zoning of a specific parcel can be found by calling the Planning Department at 707-463-6206. Be sure to have the property address or assessor’s parcel number. The zoning may also be found by viewing the City of Ukiah Zoning Map.
What size structure can I building on my property?
The size of the structure that can be built is determined by the development requirements for the property. The development standards are determined by the zoning district in which the property is located. The development standards typically include requirements for building height, building setbacks, parking, and landscaping. Other considerations or constraints on building size may include proximity to other buildings or structures, location of onsite easements, location in a flood zone, and setbacks from creeks or streams. For additional information contact Planning Services at 707-463-6206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are my setbacks?
Setbacks are determined by the zoning of the property. Setbacks are usually different for primary and accessory buildings. To obtain setback information specific to your property, call 707-463-6206. Be sure to have the property address or assessor’s parcel number. If you know the zoning of your property, setbacks can be found in the Zoning Ordinance (Division 9, Chapter 2) under the zoning district for your parcel (i.e. R1, R2, etc.).
What type of business can I operate in my specific zone?
The businesses (uses) allowed for a specific property are determined by the zoning of the property. Each zoning district identifies allowed and permitted (allowed with approval of a Use Permit) uses. The Zoning Ordinance is included as Division 9, Chapter 2 of the Ukiah City Code and can be found at (insert link). The Zoning Ordinance includes definitions of specific uses. Each zoning district includes a listing of the Allowed and Permitted uses for that district. For assistance in determining the zoning or whether or not a specific business is allowed, contact the Planning Department at 707-463-6206 or email@example.com. Please be aware that a business license is required prior to doing business within the city limits. Additional information on business licenses may be obtained by contacting the Finance Department at 707-463-6202.
How can I get zoning clearance to open a new business?
In order to provide a zoning clearance, an exact address and a complete description of the type of business, including any accessory uses must be provided. Planning Department review of the use(s) and location are necessary to determine whether the type of business is allowed for the location or if a Use Permit is required. If the business is only a change in ownership and the previous owner had a zoning clearance or use permit for the use, a simple verification of the clearance or use permit is all that is needed. For a new business, verification that the use is allowed at the proposed location is required. In some cases, approval of a use permit may be required before the use can be allowed. Home occupations also require zoning clearance. For more information, please contact the Planning Department at 707-463-6206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I operate a business out of my home (home occupation)?
Home occupations are accessory commercial activities or business services, conducted on the site of a detached single-family dwelling, and operated by the occupant(s) of the dwelling. Home occupations are allowed in the R1, R2, R3, and CN zoning districts and subject to specific requirements. The following businesses are not allowed as Home Occupations: auto repair or dismantling, medical or dental offices, retail sales, commercial kennels, restaurants, equipment repair involving outdoor storage of equipment, and other similar uses. The Planning Deparment has prepared a handout on Home Occupations. Home occupations also require a business license. For information on business licenses, contact the Finance Department at 707-463-6202.
Can I put up a banner?
Banners are permitted as temporary signs on commercial property for up to 30 consecutive days and no more than 45 total days per calendar year and require application for and approval of a Temporary Banner Permit Application from the Community Development Department. A Banner Permit is $25.00 and may be issued over the counter with submittal of a completed Banner Permit Application form signed by the property owner.
Does the City have requirements for signs?
The Sign Ordinance regulates signs within the City limits and includes limitations on the size, location, number, type, and lighting of signs. The Sign Ordinance prohibits certain types of signs, Prohibited Signs. The Sign Ordinance is included as Division , Chapter of the Ukiah City Code. Information on signs may be obtained by contacting the Planning Department at 707-463-6206 or email@example.com.
Do signs require a permit?
Prior to installation of a sign, application for and approval of a Sign Permit from the Community Development and Planning Department is required. Sign Permits require completion of a Building Permit Application and one Sign Permit Checklist for each sign. The information required to be submitted as part of the Sign Permit application is included on the Sign Permit Checklist. This information is used to determine compliance with the Sign Ordinance. The Sign Ordinance exempts certain signs from the requirement for a permit, Exempt Signs.
I’d like to construct an addition to my house. What do I need to know?
By contacting Planning Services at 707-463-6206 and giving the planner your address, you can learn the zoning of your property and the regulations regarding height, setbacks, lot coverage, and design review/use permit (if applicable).
Can I have chickens in the city?
Hen chickens and rabbits are allowed with approval of a Use Permit. Division 9, Chapter 2, Article 16, Section 9182 of the Ukiah City Code includes specific requirements for minimum lot size, number of animals, and location of the pen and/or coop. Roosters, turkeys, geese and swine are not allowed in the City.
Can I have a beehive in the city?
Does the City regulate trees?
The City has adopted Master Tree Lists for Street Trees, Parking Lot Trees, Parks Tree List, Riparian Trees List, and Residential Trees List. The Street, Parking Lot, Parks, and Riparian Master Trees Lists identify the required trees to be planted and provides a process that allows fort the planting of an alternative tree. The Residential Master Tree List is informational and identifies trees that are known to grow well in Ukiah’s climate but are not required to be planted.
A Protected Tree List and Landmark Tree List has been adopted as part of the Downtown Zoning Code and applies to the properties within the boundaries of the Code.
Street trees cannot be removed without approval from the City of Ukiah Public Works Department and may require replacement if removed. Trees required to be planted or retained as part of a development project cannot be removed without approval from the City and may require replacement if removed.
What information should I bring with me if I come in to speak with someone at the counter?
Can you tell me what is happening with a project/business/piece of property?
If you can provide the exact address, parcel number, or permit number, we can tell you if any projects are being processed or if any permits have been issued. For information contact the Community Development and Planning Department at 707-463-6203.
Can I subdivide my property?
Possibly. This depends on the General Plan land use designation and zoning district in which the property is located (which regulate lot size and density). Contact Planning Services at 707-463-6206 and give the planner the address of the property. The planner will provide the regulations needed to determine if the property meets the minimum requirements for a subdivision.
Is my property in a Flood Zone? What is my Flood Zone?
In order to determine if your property is in a Flood Zone, your address and/or assessor’s parcel number is required. Contact Public Works at 707-463-6284 for Flood Zone information. For Flood Zone information and to purchase flood zone maps, visit FEMA’s website.