City Permits

New All-Digital Permits & Planning Hub

Petaluma has moved to an all-digital permitting process. Please go to our new Permits & Planning Hub at to apply for permits, schedule inspections, and find information about requirements and property records.

Getting a Permit Means Different things in Different Situations

One of the hardest things about getting a permit is understanding which permit you need. The City issues permits for all construction. But we also oversee the installation of equipment, some kinds of storage, changing how a space is used, installing landscaping, and for some special business types. Issuing permits is our way of tracking your work and making sure it meets the applicable standards and rules. Some projects require several permits from different City departments. And other projects also require permits and approvals from County, State, and/or Federal agencies.

Once you figure out which permits you will need, you will then need to understand what you will need to prepare in order to apply for the permit. In many cases, the main requirement is a set of plans that describes the work you propose. In other cases, we might also need to see the specifications of equipment, the make up of the soil under your project, or the water pressure in you water pipes.

Permit Tools

If your project involves a commercial project, you can scope out permit requirements using our Open Counter tool.

Repair or Remodel

Installing a new roof or water heater? Repairing a broken fence? Or redoing your master bathroom? You'll need a permit for all of this and more.


Adding on to your property or building a new unit can trigger several permits, requirements, and fees that you should understand before moving forward with your project.

Property Use

The way you use your property could trigger requirements. If you work from home, you will need a Home Occupation Permit. Or, if you change a retail space to a restaurant you may need to install several upgrades.

Business Types & Licensing

Some businesses have special regulations. Taxis, solicitors, mobile vendors, family day care, cannabis and alcohol businesses require special approvals.

New Construction

New Construction is usually the most complicated permit scenario. The project will require environmental review, architectural oversight, and several other steps.


Installing equipment like water heaters, tanks, air conditioners, or commercial refrigerators triggers permit requirements. Most vendors are aware of the requirements but it's always safer to check.

Business & Industrial Storage

Commercial racking system that are 12 feet or higher or encompass 500 or more square feet require special Fire & Building permits.

Fire Protection Systems

Anytime you install a fire protection system, you will need special inspections and permits. Fire protections systems, which often include sprinklers, require dedicated water lines and enough water pressure.

Telecom Equipment

Cell towers undergo special review and require special permits. If you install telecommunication equipment on private property, you might also need a special permit.

Landscape & Trees

California's drought inspired changes to Petaluma's Landscaping requirements. The new rules encourage drought tolerant planting. Petaluma also works hard to protect trees.

Use City Property

If you project requires you to work in the public right of way (sidewalks, streets), you will need a permit. You also need permission to operate a business in a public space.

Close window