What is a Use Permit?
The City of San Rafael Municipal Code (SRMC) contains several zoning districts which identify uses that may be permitted, are not permitted or are conditionally permitted within each district. A Use Permit is required in order to establish a “conditionally permitted” land use.
There are a few steps we’ll need to go through to find out if you'll need a Use Permit.
Step One Locate your Zoning District by entering your street address or APN. A box will pop up with a line item that lists your Zoning type, which falls into one of the four following Zoning Districts.
If you are a business trying to locate in the City of San Rafael, check out our new San Rafael Business Permitting Portal which will walk you through a zoning portal tool to determine if your use is allowed in a certain zone. In addition, you can also obtain an estimate of your permit fees to open or expand a business in San Rafael through our business portal. Note that this portal does not cover permit fee estimates for residential projects. Access both portals by clicking on the following link: *NEW* San Rafael Business Permitting Portal.
|If your zoning is listed as:||Then you are located in a(n):|
|R(#), DR, MR(#), or HR(#)||Residential District
Note: If you want to start a home occupation please check our Home Occupation section.
|GC, NC, O, C/O, R/O, or FBWC,||Commercial Zoning District|
|4SRC, CSMU, HO, 2/3 MUE, 2/3 MUW, WEV, or 5/MR/O||Downtown Commercial Zoning District|
|I, LI/O, CCI/O, LMU||Industrial District|
Step Two Once you identify your zoning and click on your Zoning District, you'll be presented with a corresponding land use table. In the first column of the table, you'll find land use category and followed by Specific Zoning Districts.
- If your use has a “P” in your Zoning District, Congratulations! Your use is permitted by right, feel free to move in whenever you like!
**Please note that you still may need to acquire building permits.**
- If your use has an “A” in your Zoning District, you’re going to need an Administrative Use Permit. These are pretty simple and require a minimal amount of discretion. You’ll generally just need to meet the performance standards.
- If your use has a “CZ”” in your Zoning District, you’re going to need a Use Permit approved by the Zoning Administrator. These require a daytime public hearing and have quite a bit of discretion to them. I would recommend you come into the Planning Counter for additional assistance.
- If your use has a “C” in your Zoning District you’re going to need a Use Permit approved by the Planning Commission. These require a public meeting to be held in the evening and to be heard before the Planning Commission. It’s highly recommended you come to the Planning Counter before you move forward!
- If you can’t find a land use category that corresponds to what you want to do it may not be a permitted use in that Zoning District. Alternatively if you find a use that corresponds to what you want to do, but your zoning column remains blank that use is prohibited in that Zoning District.
If you can’t find your use please leave a message at (415)485-3085 and a Planner will call you back within 24 hours during the workweek.