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City Land Use and Planning Functions During Shelter In Place and Related COVID-19 Orders

Major California Cities Close Planning Counters and Suspend Planning Deadlines

Cox Castle & Nicholson, LLP is tracking developments related to the processing of land use and planning applications in major California cities in light of the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus.   While the situation is fluid, several patterns seem clear:

(1) zoning counters and planning departments are  closing for some period of time; some are maintaining virtual services;

(2) public meetings are being cancelled or delayed; in some cases social distancing is being enforced; in other case telephonic participation may be provided;

(3) cities have declared, or are preparing to declare, suspensions of deadlines under various state land use and environmental planning laws.

The following is the most recent information that we have received from these jurisdictions.  We plan on updating this page regularly as we receive additional information.

As of March 20:

CULVER CITY

  • Planning Department Functions: In person services are unavailable through at least March 31; the Planning department is open for business via telephone (310-253-5710), email, and online. Inspections may be conducted virtually via FaceTime or Skype.
  • Hearings: March 25 Planning Commission meeting cancelled; future meetings are to be determined; the City is testing technology to potentially switch to virtual hearings but this remains to be determined.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.culvercity.org/live/public-safety/emergency-preparedness/current-disaster-information

WEST HOLLYWOOD

  • Planning Department Functions: City Hall is closed to public; staff members are working offsite; the Planning Department is developing online services and is responsive at planning@weho.org.
  • Hearings: All regular public meetings (including Commission meetings) are cancelled until further notice; there will be a Planning Commission special teleconference meeting on March 24.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.weho.org/city-government/emergency-information

BEVERLY HILLS

LONG BEACH

  • Planning Department Functions: Permit center is closed until further notice; staff will continue serving customers on the Zoning Hotline (562-570-6194); online project updates will continue without change. Modified but available services include:
    • Plan checks (via PDF email), entitlement submittals (via WebEx video conference appointment with City Planner, and Dropbox PDF)
    • Public noticing and site posting of proposed developments (via staff in lieu of applicants)
    • Final inspections and project sign-off (which will require health precautionary measures taken by staff in the field)
    • Services that are temporarily unavailable include: In-person meetings, staff presence at outreach or community meetings, walk audits, acceptance of paper applications
  • Hearings: Planning Commission and Cultural Heritage Commission meetings will continue (via WebEx video conference); starting Monday, March 23, Zoning Administrator hearings will continue as regularly scheduled with a modified format.
  • See this link for the announcement: http://www.longbeach.gov/lbds/planning/

ALHAMBRA

  • Planning Department Functions: City Hall is open, but the City encourages people to conduct business online or by phone (626-570-5007).
  • Hearings: All board and commission meetings are cancelled until further notice; the next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for April 13, 2020.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xENtBUqk2W66oHt20P6OPKUPKakdlwF_/view

WALNUT

  • Planning Department Functions: City Hall is closed to the public; City operations will continue with staff available to provide services and answer questions by phone (909-595-7543).  The Building and Safety Department will continue to process a limited range of permits and plan checks.
  • Hearings: City Council and Planning Commission meetings are cancelled until further notice.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.cityofwalnut.org/for-residents/coronavirus-information

CLAREMONT

  • Planning Department Functions: City facilities are closed to the public; Planning Services and Plan Review are being conducted by appointment only, which can be made by phone (909-399-5460).
  • Hearings: All Commission, Committee, and Council meetings have been cancelled through at least March 31, 2020.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/home/showdocument?id=14475

As of March 19:

MOUNTAIN VIEW

  • Planning Department Functions:  City Hall will be closed effective March 17, 2020 through April 7, 2020. During this closure, the public counter will be closed.
  • Hearings: No Environmental Planning Commission Public Hearings, Administrative Zoning Public Hearings, or Development Review Committee meetings will occur through April 7, 2020.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/comdev/planning/default.asp

REDWOOD CITY

SAN BRUNO

  • Planning Department Functions: All City facilities are closed. Limited non-essential counter services at all City facilities by appointments only. Contact the Planning Division at (650) 616-7074.
  • Hearings: All Planning Commissions meetings are cancelled. City Council Meetings will be held as scheduled. The meetings will continue to be held at the San Bruno Senior Center and will be set up to allow for social distancing.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.sanbruno.ca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?t=75670.3&BlobID=31573

SANTA CLARA

  • Planning Department Functions: Effective March 17, 2020, all City facilities are also temporarily closed to the public. The City will provide planning services remotely, including submittal of new applications for planning permits. Please contact 408-615-2450 or planning@santaclaraca.gov for more information.
  • Hearings: The Planning Commission meetings scheduled for March 25, April 8, and April 22, 2020 are canceled. A special meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24. The meeting set-up in Council Chambers reflects social distancing requirements.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.santaclaraca.gov/i-want-to/stay-informed/current-topics/coronavirus-updates

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO

  • Planning Department Functions: The City remains open, however, operations will occur online at www.ssf.net or over the phone at (650) 877-8535 to limit in-person contact through April 15, 2020 (date subject to change). Applications for planning entitlements can be made by emailing planning@ssf.net or calling us at (650) 877-8535.
  • Hearings: The City Council Meeting will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on March 25, 2020, pursuant to the Governor’s March 19, 2020 Executive Order N-29-20 allowing for deviation of teleconference rules required by the Brown Act. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments, via email to All-CC@ssf.net or via voice message to (650) 829-4670, by 6pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.ssf.net/departments/economic-community-development/planning-division

SUNNYVALE

  • Planning Department Functions: The Permit Center public counter, including for Planning services, is closed until further notice. Non-residential plan checks will not be received during the active County of Santa Clara Shelter in Place mandate. Minor permits may be applied for online at eOneStop. Inspections for non-residential construction are postponed indefinitely.
  • Hearings:  Board and Commission meetings through the end of March are canceled, with future meetings subject to cancellations. City Council meetings are being held. Attendance at all public meetings will be limited to fewer than 35 people.
  • Suspension of Timelines: Inspections for non-residential construction are postponed indefinitely.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://sunnyvale.ca.gov/news/topics/coronavirus.htm

COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE

COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO

  • Hearings:  The Board of Supervisors will conduct its regularly scheduled meeting on March 25, 2020 via teleconference or phone conference. In person participation at Board of Supervisors meetings will not be allowed. Members of the public are encouraged to view the meeting live online or on television or listen to it live by dialing (619) 531-4716. In lieu of in-person attendance, members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit their comments on agenda and non-agenda items using the eComment service or via e-mail at publiccomment@sdcounty.ca.gov.
  • See this link for the announcement: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/cob/bosa/index.html)

COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning and Development Department is closed to the public from March 17 to April 3. The Department continues to work remotely. Please check this notice for more information on how the Department is working remotely.
  • Hearings: Planning Commission meetings continue to occur. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to participate remotely. Social Distancing Requirements are required, if one attends a meeting in-person. Please check this link for more information on how to participate remotely.

COUNTY OF ORANGE (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning and Development Department is closed to the public from March 17 to March 31. Online services remain accessible 24/7 at myOCeServices.ocgov.com during the closure.
  • Hearings: Planning and Development Department (such as Planning Commission) meetings are cancelled through March 31.

 CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning Division is closed to the public, effective March 18. Over the next several days, city staff will be working to implement alternate plans to deliver city services that are impacted by the closure. Please check this link for any updated information.
  • Hearings: The March 24 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled.

CITY OF ANAHEIM (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning Department is closed to the public; and is expected to remain closed through March 31. During this time a number of services are available online or via phone. Please check this notice for more information on how to interact with the Department remotely.
  • Hearings: The March 16 and March 30 Planning Commission meetings have been cancelled.

CITY OF SANTA ANA (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning and Building Agency is closed to the public, effective March 17. Agency staff will still report to work, but the public must conduct business remotely. Please check this notice for more information on how to interact with the Agency remotely.
  • Hearings: Planning Commission meetings continue to occur, however meetings are closed to the public. Instead members of the public must participate remotely. Please check this agenda for more information on how to participate remotely.

CITY OF IRVINE (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning and Development Department is closed to the public, effective March 18. Limited staff is available via telephone and email. Please check this link for more information on how to interact with the Department remotely.
  • Hearings: Planning Commission meetings continue to occur, however meetings appear to be closed to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely. Please check this link for more information on how to participate remotely.

CITY OF ORANGE (last updated March 19)

  • Planning Department Functions: The Planning Division is closed to the public, effective March 18. As of now, it is unclear whether the Planning Division continues to work remotely. Please check this link for any updated information.
  • Hearings: Planning Division meetings have been cancelled through March 31.

As of March 18:

SAN FRANCISCO

  • Planning Department Functions: Effective March 17, 2020, the Planning Department offices at 1650 Mission Street and the Planning Information Center (PIC) at 1660 Mission Street will be closed.  Some Planning Department staff is telecommuting and will be available to answer questions via email.
  • Hearings: The Planning and Historic Preservation Commission hearings will be cancelled until April 9, at the earliest, and the March 25, 2020 Zoning Variance hearing is cancelled.
  • Suspension of Timelines: The Planning Department intends to pause all time-limits and deadlines associated with ongoing notices, application reviews, enforcement activities, and other matters for the duration of the Shelter in Place Order.

See this link for the full announcement:

https://sfplanning.org/news/closures-and-cancellations-notice-effective-march-17-2020

SAN JOSE

  • Planning Department Functions: Effective March 17, 2020, the Permit Center and the Development Services Offices will be closed to public visitation.  Most Development Services staff will be working remotely and many Development Services functions will continue.  Intake appointments will take place by telephone call.  Planning Development Review and Building Plan Review will be handled electronically.  There will be limited on-site building inspections related to immediate safety and housing construction.  Many single-family home inspections (including ADUs) will be conducted via videoconferencing.
  • Hearings: The March 18 Planning Director hearing is cancelled.  The March 24 Council hearing currently remains on calendar, but the March 26 and 31 City Council hearings are cancelled.
  • Suspension of Timelines: Code Enforcement Inspectors will respond only to emergency inspections; inspections for general Code complains and the Multi-Housing Program are suspended until further notice.

See this link for the announcement:

https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments-offices/planning-building-code-enforcement/plan-submittal-plan-review-and-payments-during-covid-19

OAKLAND

  • Planning Department Functions: Civic Center buildings (City Hall, 150 and 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza) are accessible to the public only by special appointment or for public meetings, but will otherwise be closed to the public.  The zoning counter at the City of Oakland has been closed.  Planning staff continue to work remotely.  Most public service counters at the Civic Center are switching to online/phone/appointment access only.
  • Hearings: Advisory commission meetings are cancelled. No announcement regarding City Council meetings.    
  • Suspension of Timelines:  Although no official announcement has been made, it is likely that the City will follow other cities and suspend timelines associated with most planning functions and laws.

A list of City service impacts, including facility closures, service suspensions, and alternative service points (online, telephone, or by appointment) is included here: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/updates-on-covid-19-outbreak. Over the coming days and weeks, this list will be modified; check back for updates.

NEWPORT BEACH

  • Planning Department Functions: All City facilities, including City Hall, are closed to the public as of Wednesday, March 18 through March 31.  City planning staff is continuing to provide services by phone, email and through the web.
  • Hearings: All public meetings have been cancelled except for City Council meetings. Members of the public are encouraged to view Council meetings online and submit comments to the City Clerk by email. In-person attendance at City Council meetings is not (yet) prohibited.  Members of the public who do attend in person may sit in the Council Chambers or adjacent Community Room, where seats have either been marked with tape or spaced apart to enforce social distancing.

See this link for the announcement:  https://www.newportbeachca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/37995/2720

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

  • Planning Department Functions: City Hall (Planning Dept. headquarters) is closed to the public. The City’s Development Services Centers (where Planning cases and appeals are filed and the Dept. of Building and Safety provides counter services) are open. Unclear the extent to which staffing is reduced. Planning website seems to suggest Planning services are limited to case filing appointments and filing of appeals.
  • Hearings: All City Planning hearings have been indefinitely postponed. The full City Council is still holding one meeting a week through the end of March; however, no City Council committee meetings, such as the PLUM meeting, will be heard during this time.

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

  • Planning Department Functions: All Planning offices are closed.
  • Hearings: All Planning hearings are cancelled through April 7th. Future hearing schedules will be determined on a week by week basis. The Board of Supervisors has cancelled its March 17th and 24th meetings and anticipates the March 31st meeting will be a virtual meeting.

SANTA MONICA

  • Planning Department Functions: All Planning and Building and Safety offices are closed.
  • Hearings: The March 18th Planning Commission meeting is cancelled.

MENLO PARK

  • Planning Department Functions:  The Planning Department is closed to the public, but some staff continue to work remotely.
  • Hearings:  Hearings are continuing to occur telephonically, with one in person locations available, subject to Social Distancing Requirements.  Staff is asking applicants to defer non-essential Planning Commission hearings.