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City code can be complex and proper research can help prevent frustration. Start by reviewing the municipal code - you can search by topic. You can also call or email the Community Development department or visit the counter in person.
For more complex projects, the city offers predevelopment consultation meetings (PDF), and applicants should prepare detailed information about their property and project.
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Our city has adopted a variety of plans to shape future growth and development. At the highest level is the General Plan, applying to the entire city. There are also numerous plans by topic (transportation, housing, parks, lighting) and by neighborhood (Downtown, East Streetcar).
The city zoning is a designation given to every parcel in the city to define what is desired for that neighborhood and the rules for development and land uses in it. The city ordinances set these legal requirements.
The Planning Commission works with the Community Development Department to develop and approve master plans, and review and advise on development projects. Their role is to shape policies, advise on decisions and make recommendations to the City Council, who is the city's legislative body.
Any citizen can make a Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) to get more information about a project or decision. GRAMA requests are managed by the City Recorder's Office.