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About the Community Development Review Process (Costco Project)

Posted on August 21, 2019

*This post has been edited to include the scheduled public meetings for conceptual design review (edit 9/9/2019)


The information below outlines the steps taken by an applicant in the Community Development Review Process. For more information about the Costco project visit the Project webpage and read our article about the Costco Pre Application and Conceptual Design Review.


1. Pre-Application

The Pre-Application process involves in-house departmental staff review and outside utility providers. This process is meant to review technical feasibility and to pinpoint major technical code issues that may arise within the purview of relevant City agencies.  Pre-Applications are reviewed and processed by the Community Development Department. Comments and feedback from various departments are collected and provided to the applicant, generally within 30-45 days of submittal.

2. Conceptual Design Review

Conceptual Design Review involves a public meeting with the Design Review Board (DRB). Conceptual Design Review is meant to provide an informal critique and evaluation of a project’s basic design approach.  It gives the DRB an opportunity to work together with the applicant to achieve a quality project.  The Board will identify relevant issues and significant concerns,  and provide comments on the appropriateness of the conceptual design and its compliance with design review criteria and guidelines.

Staff has encouraged the applicant to also present their conceptual project to the Planning Commission for preliminary comments focused on land use matters, ie noise, parking, traffic, intensity, compatibility, etc.

Meeting dates are tentatively Tuesday October 22, 2019 for the DRB review and Tuesday, October 15, for the Planning Commission review.

The City will provide mailed notice to property owners, residents, businesses and any Homeowners Associations within 500 feet of the Mall site, 15 days prior to the meeting. If you are outside this area and would like to be added to the mailing list, please submit your name, mailing address and email address with the subject line “Add to Costco Mailing List”

3. Formal Planning Applications

Following the Pre Application and Conceptual Review Process, the next step, should the applicant wish to proceed, is to submit their formal applications.  Once the City received the formal application, the following steps will occur:

  • Completeness Review – To ensure City has adequate information on plans and materials to make a decision. During this process, City will refer plans to applicable City Departments, outside agencies (utility, school, etc) and nearby neighborhood associations to inform them of the filing of the application and soliciting comments.
  • Design Review Board (DRB) Review and Recommendation – Review of the formal application by the DRB will be required. This is a public meeting that will be noticed. The charge of the DRB is to review the design related matters (ie site plan, architecture, mass/bulk, site improvements, color and materials, landscaping) for consistency with adopted city design guidelines and make their recommendation to the Planning Commission.
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review – City will evaluate the proposal and its impacts and made a determination on the level of CEQA require for the project. CEQA is conducted concurrently with the review of project applications.
  • Planning Commission (PC) review. Depending on the proposal and what permits are required, the Planning Commission will be the final hearing body or if City Council action is required, would be a recommending body. The Commission follows a protocol to assure that new development is consistent with our long-range General Plan, State laws and other public policies that advance the interests of our community. PC meetings are a public meeting that will be noticed, The charge of the PC is  to review and consider the DRB’s input on design matters, but the PC also is the body to consider land use matters (noise, traffic, parking, land use compatibility, etc) and will evaluate projects for consistency with the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.
  • City Council Review and Approval –The City Council reviews certain large development applications (Rezoning, General Plan amendments) or appeals of Planning Commission decisions. City Council is the final review body for a large project prior to the permit process. At this point, it is not known whether this project will require final action by the Planning Commission or the City Council.

Approval by the City Council, Planning Commission, and Design Review Board does not guarantee that a project will be developed. Once approved, a developer may decide to not build the project or delay development of the project.

4. Permitting and Construction

After approval the developer will follow the our permit process for construction.


Community Development – Planning Division
(415) 485-3095



Find information about the project and updates on the dedicated project web page.


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