In response to community concerns about noise the San Rafael and Novato City Councils have established a Quiet Zone effective immediately. The train horn will not blow at railroad crossings.

What do I need to Submit for a Use Permit?

To apply for a Use Permit, complete an application package and submit it to the Planning Division during counter hours. The application package should include:

  • The General Application Form filled out and signed by both the property owner and applicant.
  • A written description of the business and how it will operate. (i.e.: Hours of operation, number of employees, etc.)
  • Site Plan, identifying the structure, parking lot and any potential site improvements.
  • Floor Plan of the existing and proposed space.
  • Square footage calculations of the proposed use(s).
  • Inventory of Existing and Proposed Uses (For Use Permits on multi-tenant sites).

For a more complete list of application requirements see the General Zoning Application submittal requirements.

You may also contact the Planning staff to discuss the requirements for a particular project and associated fees. Please keep in mind that every project is different and may request additional information after the initial submittal.

Application Processing Time

The amount of time required for processing varies depending on project complexity, level of review, initial completeness, whether multiple zoning entitlements are required, as well as the volume of projects under review.

To help assure the review process runs as quickly as possible, it is recommended that the applicant meet with planning staff for an initial consultation, review plans with neighbors prior to submittal, and provide accurate plans and timely re-submittals.

The approximate schedule for processing your application is as follows:

  • Staff Level- 4-6 weeks
  • Minor (Zoning Administrator)- 10-12 weeks
  • Major (Planning Commission)- 20-25 weeks

Approved projects typically are provided one-year to obtain building permits and begin operating.

Once a use permit has been approved it shall run with the land and shall continue to be valid for the time period specified whether or not there is a change of ownership of the site or structure to which it applies. However, should the use cease operating for more than 12 months the Use Permit will expire or should it be found that the business is operating in violation of a condition of permit approval or a provision of title 14.22  of the San Rafael Municipal Code it may be revoked, as provided in Chapter 14.30, Enforcement.

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