Development Review Process

Planning Information Counter

When starting a project it's always a great idea to check in with our staff and get initial feedback. You can visit us at the Planning Information Counter at 11 English Street, Tuesday through Thursday, 10AM-2PM. Or call/e-mail us at 707-778-4301 and [email protected]

Development Review Committee

For projects that involve review by a number of different agencies, it's common for applicants to seek an initial consultation from our Development Review Committee (DRC). The DRC meets weekly and reviews both conceptual projects, as well as formal application submittals.

Site Plan and Architectural Review

You will need a Site Plan & Architectural Review (SPAR) for projects that involve:

  • Building new or modifying existing commercial buildings or schools, churches, museums, art galleries, and certain other public buildings;
  • Development in South Hills or West Hills;
  • Structures and sites in designated Historic Districts;
  • Subdivisions with five or more dwellings;
  • More than one dwelling unit per lot.

There are three types of SPARs. Minor SPARs typically involve small projects and can be processed with staff review only. Major SPARs involve large projects and must be reviewed by the Planning Commission. Historic SPARs are required for projects located in historic districts or involving City landmarks and must be reviewed by the Historic and Cultural Preservation Committee.

Target Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Information

On April 20, 2022, the Air District Board of Directors adopted CEQA Thresholds for Evaluation the Significance of Climate Impacts from Land Use Projects and Plan, see attached. Accordingly, we are hereby requesting that the draft Air Quality Report prepared for the project be updated to reflect the latest thresholds in effect.  Please be advised that as noted in the attached, item 2a. Transportation requires that project-generated VMT “meet locally adopted Senate Bill 743 VMT targets.” The City of Petaluma has adopted an SB 743 VMT target of 16.8% as presented in the City’s VMT Implementation Guidelines- SB-743 . Accordingly, the City’s threshold for Climate impacts is a reduction in VMT by 16.8% below the existing VMT per Capita (or employee for office projects).  

Additional information on the District’s Action is available at the following link:

Draft Objective Design Standards

The City is developing Objective Design Standards to enhance the City's ability to regulate site and building design for qualifying residential developments that are not subject to discretionary review or for which discretionary review may be limited to objective standards. The project seeks to ensure that qualifying housing approved for construction will strengthen community character and further community goals. When adopted, proposed Objective Design Standards will join the existing objective review standards, such as the Implementing Zoning Ordinance, the City's Subdivision Standards, and applicable adopted pedestrian walkway, bicycle, and street design standards to regulate new development.

Additional information on the draft Objective Design Standards can be found here.

Conditional Use

(Coming Soon)

Tentative Maps

(Coming Soon)

photo of blue house

Use Permits make sure that people are safe and your impact on your neighbors is minimal

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