FAQs

This page provides answers to the most frequently asked planning questions and is intended to serve as the starting point in providing the community with initial guidance for further assistance.  If a question is not addressed here or for additional information, please contact: 

Development Services Department
Planning Division

planningstaff@ci.oceanside.ca.us
(760) 435-3520
(760) 754-2958 Fax

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Do you have a list of recommended consultants?
The City of Oceanside does not maintain a list of recommended consultants for development services.  Please contact the local chapters of professional organizations for information and references of architectural, planning, engineering and other development services professional or construction disciplines. 


For how long are discretionary permits valid?
Discretionary permit approvals, unless extended, are typically valid for 24 months from the date of approval.    However, the State of California has recently enacted legislation (AB333) to automatically extend for 24 months tentative subdivision and parcel maps approvals unexpired   as of January 1, 2012.  The City of Oceanside has also, by means of uncodified text amendment to Articles 41 and 43, approved automatic 24 month extensions for all other discretionary permits.


How can I find out a project’s current status?
eTRAKiT provides access to permits, projects, and cases for information regarding status of inspections and reviews. For step by step instructions, please see the eTRAKiT User Manual (1.6 MB)

How do I comment on a Planning Commission or City Council agenda item?
Comments on a proposal pending before the Planning Commission or City Council can be provided prior to the public hearing verbally or in writing directly to the project planner/project manager.  In addition, an interested party  may speak during the public hearing or submit written comments which will be included as part of the project record.


How do I file an appeal to a project development decision?
To avoid results inconsistent with the purpose of the City of Oceanside zoning ordinance, decisions of the City Planner can be appealed to the Planning Commission, decisions of the Planning Commission can be appealed to the City Council, and decisions of the Community /Economic Development Director can be appealed to the Community Development Commission.  Article 46 (Appeals and Calls for Review) of the 1992 Zoning Ordinance provides detailed information about the appeal and the call for review processes.


How do I find out the applicable zoning and General Plan designations for a property?
The official General Plan and Zoning maps for the City of Oceanside are maintained in the Development Services Department/ Planning Division.  The maps can be viewed at the Department’s offices, at the Oceanside Civic Center, during normal business hours or online.   Zoning and General Plan information can also be obtained by contacting Development Services Department staff via phone at 760-435-3520 or by placing an inquiry on the City’s website.


How do I get preliminary/ initial input for a development proposal?
Prior to submitting a formal entitlement application to the Planning Division, developers are encouraged to meet with City staff from various departments to obtain preliminary direction and input. Informal input on a development proposal can be obtained from Development Services Department staff on planning, engineering and building related matters during normal business hours, without an appointment. In addition, the City provides, preliminary input on projects in a semi-formal meeting setting, by appointment only, during Developer’s Conferences. A Developer’s Conference review fee shall be paid prior to the meeting. The Planning Division schedules and conducts these meetings on alternate Tuesday mornings. You may call 760-435-3520 or email at Planningstaff@ci.oceanside.ca.us to set up a Developer’s Conference appointment.

How do I locate a property’s boundaries?
Subdivision maps show the shape and dimensions of lots and where survey pins/ property markers were placed, designating property corners and establishing lot boundaries.  Surveying pins are typically not exposed and are found several inches below the ground surface.  To accurately determine property boundaries, where property markers don’t exist or can’t be easily located, a survey should be conducted by a licensed land surveyor.  The surveyor will locate existing property corners or set new survey pins/property markers.  The City does not locate property boundaries in the field.

How do I obtain property ownership information for a parcel?

The County Assessor’s Office provides property ownership information for all properties in the County   over the phone or in person at all branch offices.  The Assessor's Office also prepares and maintains maps delineating every parcel in the County. These parcel maps serve as a basis for all property assessments, and are continuously updated to reflect new subdivisions and surveys. These maps are available for review and purchase at the Assessor's San Diego Office arcc.co.san-diego.ca.us/
or online. For more information, call (619) 531-5588.

 



How do I reach a planner?
Planning staff is available to assist the general public during normal business hours at the Development Services Department/ Planning Division offices located at 300 N. Coast Highway can also be reached via phone at 760-435-3520 or via email at
planningstaff@ci.oceanside.ca.us.


How long does it take to process a discretionary permit?
Processing time for discretionary permits can vary depending on the complexity of the requested permit and the amount of time the applicant may take in responding to staff comments.  Projects  must be deemed compete before they can move forward to a public hearing.  Once a submitted application has been deemed complete, the remaining processing time will be predicated upon the type of environmental review required.  For projects that require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), final discretionary action must be scheduled within 360 days, while those requiring a Negative Declaration/Mitigated Negative Declaration (ND/MND) must be acted upon within 180 days.  Final action on projects exempt from environment review must be taken within 30 days.  Time extensions to the above deadlines can be agreed upon, at the applicant’s discretion.


What are the planning permit review fees?
The current planning permit review fees as well as neighborhood notice fees are found in the City of Oceanside Development Processing Guide, Appendix C.

What is a Coastal Permit?
The City of Oceanside Local Coastal Program includes the entire geographic area called the “coastal zone”.   A Coastal Permit is a discretionary permit required of certain projects within the coastal zone.  Under the Local Coastal Program, all projects in the coastal zone are divided into five categories:

  • Exempt projects;
  • Categorically excluded projects;
  • Projects requiring an Administrative Coastal Permit from the City of Oceanside;
  • Projects requiring a Regular Coastal permit from the City of Oceanside;
  • Projects requiring a coastal permit from the California Coastal Commission.  
Descriptions of the above referenced project categories and associated coastal permit process, if applicable, are provided in the City of Oceanside Coastal Permit Handbook.

What is a Conditional Use Permit?
A Conditional Use Permit  (CUP) is a discretionary permit that may be granted by the City Planner, Planning Commission or City Council to allow certain use classification(s) to operate on a particular property.  Use classifications subject to CUPs typically possess unusual site development features or operating characteristics requiring consideration by one of the aforementioned decision making bodies to ensure that they will be designed, located and operated compatibly with uses on adjoining properties and in the surrounding area.


What is a Development Plan permit?
A Development Plan permit is a discretionary approval required for certain projects to ensure that new development complies with the zoning ordinance and other policy documents.  Applicability, review requirements and other pertinent information related to this permit is included in Article 43 Development Plan Review of the 1992 Zoning Ordinance.


What is a Home Occupation Permit and how do I apply for one?
A Home Occupation Permit is a ministerial permit that can be granted for certain uses within agricultural, open space, mobile home park and residential districts upon determining that such land uses comply with the requirements of the zoning ordinance.  Establishment and operation of a home occupation requires a business license, obtained by filing a completed application form with the Business License Office.  Detailed information regarding applicable procedure for obtaining a home occupation permit is provided in Article 30 (Site regulations) Section 3007 (Home Occupations) in A, O, MHP, and R Districts of the 1992 Zoning Ordinance.


What is a Variance Permit?
A Variance is a discretionary permit that may be granted by the City Planner or Planning Commission to allow deviation(s) to applicable zoning development standards.  Variances are intended to resolve practical difficulties or physical hardships that may result from the size, shape or dimensions of a site or the location of existing structures thereon from geographic, topographic, or other physical conditions on the site or in the immediate vicinity.  While potentially a factor in the City’s determination, the cost of strict compliance with a regulation(s) to the applicant is not the sole reason for granting a variance.

What is CEQA and how does it apply to a particular project?
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was adopted in 1970 and incorporated in the Public Resources Code §§21000-21177.   Its basic purposes are to: inform governmental decision makers and the public about the potential significant environmental effects of proposed activities; identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced; require changes in projects through the use of alternatives or mitigation measures when feasible; and disclose to the public the reasons why a project was approved if significant environmental effects are involved.  CEQA applies to projects undertaken, funded or requiring an issuance of a permit by a public agency. The analysis of a project required by CEQA usually takes the form of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Negative Declaration (ND), or Environmental Assessment (EA).


What is the difference between ministerial permits and discretionary permits?
A ministerial permit is a permit that is granted upon determination that a proposed project complies with established standards set forth in the zoning ordinance and/or other applicable policy documents. These determinations are arrived at through reference to objective standards, involve little or no personal judgment, and are issued by the City Planner or his/her designee (e.g. home occupation permit, building permit review/issuance). A discretionary permit is a permit granted following the exercise of judgment and deliberation. Most discretionary permit applications require an analysis by the Planning Division and various City departments followed by public hearing at which a final decision is made. A decision to approve or deny a permit application is based on the findings of fact contained in the City of Oceanside zoning ordinances, subdivision ordinance or Municipal Code. Discretionary permit types

What is the required application and review process for discretionary permits?
The City of Oceanside Development Processing Guide provides an overview of the discretionary permit review process.  Additional details may be obtained in person from Development Services Department staff during normal business hours at the Oceanside Civic center offices or by calling (760) 435-3520.

What is the review process for temporary uses?
In the coastal zone, certain uses of a temporary nature involving large assemblies of people or automobiles (e.g. carnivals or circuses, religious revival meetings, rodeos, airshows or sky-diving performances, temporary establishment of trailer parks or camp sites) are governed by issuance of a temporary use permit by the City Council. Specific information on temporary and minor use permit procedures is provided in Article 15.1 (Temporary and Minor Use Permits) of the 1986 Zoning Ordinance.


What parking standards are applicable to a specific land use?
Applicable parking standards vary by land use.  A list of parking ratios for the most common uses  is included in Article 31 (Off Street Parking)  of the 1992 Zoning Ordinance (for properties outside the coastal zone) and in Article 27 (Off-Street Parking), of  the 1986 Zoning Ordinance (for properties within the coastal zone).


What standards apply to development on a property?
Development standards for a property depend upon its zoning designation.  Development standards for each zoning designation are included in the 1992 Zoning Ordinance (for properties outside the coastal zone) and the 1986 Zoning Ordinance (for properties within the coastal zone).

What type of technical studies must accompany a permit application?
Depending on project’s land use, site characteristics and required environmental review, reports such as addressing geology, hydrology, traffic, biology, paleontology, archeology, cultural resources, storm water mitigation may be required.  City staff provides preliminary guidance to applicants regarding required reports prior to project submittal.  Additional technical reports may be requested by staff once review of the project has been initiated and detailed analysis of the proposal commences.


What types of land uses are allowed on a property?
Land uses that may be permitted on a property depend upon its zoning designation.   A list of permitted uses (by right or subject to a conditional use permit) for each zoning designation is included in the 1992 Zoning Ordinance (for properties outside the coastal zone) and the 1986 Zoning Ordinance (for properties within the coastal zone).   


Where can I find Oceanside City Code and Oceanside Zoning Ordinance?
View the Oceanside Municipal Code. State codes such as the California Health and Safety Code and California Vehicle Code can be found here.

Where do I get a discretionary permit application?
The Application for Public Hearing form is incorporated within the City of Oceanside Development Processing Guide, Appendix A.

What is a conditional use permit?
A Conditional Use Permit  (CUP) is a discretionary permit that may be granted by the City Planner, Planning Commission or City Council to allow certain use classification(s) to operate on a particular property.  Use classifications subject to CUPs typically possess unusual site development features or operating characteristics requiring consideration by one of the aforementioned decision making bodies to ensure that they will be designed, located and operated compatibly with uses on adjoining properties and in the surrounding area.