Informational Handouts


Accessory Dwelling Permit
Permit required for the construction of a second-unit, (granny unit), on a parcel that is zoned for residential use.
Certificate of Compliance
A certificate issued under the Subdivision Map Act certifying that a parcel has been lawfully created.

Christmas Tree Lot
A temporary Use Permit is required for the establishment of a seasonal sales lot.

Design Review
The comprehensive evaluation of a development and its impact on neighboring properties and the community as a whole, addressing site and landscaping design, architecture, materials, colors, lighting, and signs.

Design Review Workshop
The Design Review Workshop is the first stage of City review often following a neighborhood meeting  evaluating the site and architectural design concept of a project.

Environmental Review
The assessment of impacts of a development project on the environment in accordance with the guidelines and regulations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Fee Schedule
Planning fees are required for a variety of development projects in Novato. Planning fees are generally based on the type and complexities of a project.  Some applications are “fixed fee” in nature, while others are “deposits” from which actual staff processing time and costs are subtracted. In the case of “deposits”, a partial refund may be issued, or additional fees required, depending on the City’s actual costs expended in processing the application. Please ask Planning Staff to assist you with the calculation of actual filing fees.

General Plan Amendment
A specific change or addition to the City of Novato's General Plan.

Lot Line Adjustment
A lot line adjustment is required to alter common property lines between four or fewer existing adjoining properties.

Master Plan
A Master Plan is required prior to development of property located in a Planned District Zoning (PD). A Master Plan is the zoning of property, which sets forth a development pattern to establish the type(s) and intensity of the use(s) to which the property can be put; and establishes guidelines for the physical development of the property.

Neighborhood Meeting
The purpose of holding Neighborhood Meetings is to allow the surrounding neighbors of a proposed project to learn and understand what the proposed project will entail. This information would be directly from the project applicant. This would allow neighbors the opportunity to talk directly with the project applicant.

Precise Development Plan
A Precise Development Plan is required prior to development of property located in a Planned District (PD). A Precise Development Plan is a document establishing specific development standards for all or part of a land area for which an approved Master Plan is in effect.

When the City applies a zoning district to property outside the City limits prior to annexation of that property to the City.

Rezoning can be defined as an amendment to the text or to the map of the zoning ordinance to effect the change in nature, density, or intensity of uses allowed in a zoning district.  

Second Story Design Guidelines
Design Review is required for new two (2) story homes, accessory structures and any single family lift-and-fill construction or additions which result in two stories, in the  Residential  Zoned  Districts per Section 19.42.030b. of the Zoning Ordinance.  The Guidelines have been developed in order to promote better design of such additions and to limit impacts on adjacent properties.

Sign Permit
A Sign Permit is issued to allow the placement of signs under specific conditions and subject to certain regulations.

Single Family Design Review

Design Review is required for most new, significant additions or second-story additions to single-family homes.

Story Pole Policy
The purpose of story poles is to accurately depict a proposed structure’s location, mass, bulk and height in relation to the existing grade. Story poles are typically placed after a Design Review Workshop at least 10 days prior to a public meeting.

Street Tree List
Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk, street trees and shrubs adjacent to their property.  A Tree Permit from the Planning Division of the Community Development Department is required prior to planting/replacing a street tree or shrubs.  A street tree or shrub is defined as those trees or shrubs to be planted on or adjacent to property owned by the City, including streets or sidewalks.

Technical Advisory Comittee
A “pre-application” review for a development project is available to applicants through the  Technical Advisory Committe Review process.  The Technical Advisory Committee is made up of City staff as well as representatives from other agencies (North Marin Water District, Novato Fire Protection District, etc.) which have regulations that may apply to development projects with in the City. This initial feedback is intended to be proactive and provide comments which may eliminate design delays, conflicts between agency regulations and eventual reduction in application processing fees and time.

Tentative Map
A Tentative Map is to allow the subdivision of land.

Tree Removal/Alteration Permit
The Tree Removal Permit is the process through which property owners can request to remove or alter heritage of non-heritage trees.

To learn how to apply for a tree permit please click here.

Use Permit
Use permits are intended to allow for activities and uses which may be acceptable in the applicable zoning district if compatible with adjoining land uses, but whose effect on a site and its surroundings cannot be determined before being proposed for a particular location.

A Variance may be granted to vary from or modify the regulations or provisions of the zoning ordinance in cases in which special circumstances exist relating to the physical nature of the property that deprive the property owner of privileges enjoyed by surrounding properties or within similar zoning districts.


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