Updates to City Hall Hours on Fridays in July and August 


Fences, Signs and Other Applications

Note: All Planning applications use the same application form.


Fences and walls located in the front and street side yard may be up to 4 feet in height provided they do not obstruct vehicle sight distance at driveways or intersections per §14.16.295. Side and rear yard fences may be up to 7 feet without a permit Additional regulations may apply to corner lots. Fences can be tricky and we strongly recommend that you contact the Planning Division for a more complete explanation of Fences and Walls. The Planning Division can be contacted by phone (415) 485-3085, email, or in person. Please check the public hours prior to visiting.

Sign Permits

New commercial business signs intended for public view (e.g., on an exterior business frontage or an interior sign placed within 10 feet of an exterior facing window) are subject to review and approval of a sign permit. Signs composed of professionally manufactured individual letters are generally preferred over hand-painted, box or can signs. For more information regarding Signs, including submittal material, check out our Sign Permit Review Handout and fee schedule.

To apply for your sign permit click here

Outdoor Dining (also see our page for COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Permits)

Public Property

We require an outdoor dining license agreement for businesses that propose to use the public right of way for outdoor seating. A license agreement is issued to the business “owner” at a specific location. A new application must be obtained if the business ownership or business location changes. For more information regarding Outdoor Dining on Public Property check out our Outdoor Dining on Public Property Handout and fee schedule.

Private Property

We require an Administrative Use Permit to establish outdoor eating areas proposed in conjunction with food service establishments, on private property. We require the Use Permit to ensure that outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes does not adversely impact adjacent properties and surrounding neighborhoods.

Kiosks/Food and Beverage Carts

An administrative use permit is required to operate a temporary food and beverage cart use on a commercially developed property. Such uses shall be subject to review and recommendation by the Community Development Director and Public Works Director to assure that the site can accommodate the use and that parking or vehicular circulation issues would not result. For more information about Food and Beverage Carts and Kiosks check out our Food and Beverage Carts and Kiosks handout and fee schedule.

Home Occupations

The home occupation requirements are from Chapter 14 (the Zoning Ordinance) of the San Rafael Municipal Code. The Zoning Ordinance establishes standards and procedures to ensure that development is consistent with San Rafael’s General Plan. Ordinance section numbers are included to help locate the specific regulations in the Zoning Ordinance. Check out our Home Occupations Handout for the specific standards.

If you can't find information on an application you're looking for here please check the Planning Library or feel free to contact a planner at (415)485-3085 or via email.

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