Frequently Asked Questions

​ADVISORY: The information listed herein is intended for general information purposes only and should not be used in place of adopted County ordinances and regulations. Please contact the Office of Planning and Environmental Review at sacplan@saccounty.net for information regarding specific regulations or before submitting an application.​

Zoning / Property:​

What is my zoning?​

What is the SPA or NPA zone?​

Can I change my zoning?​

Can I split my lot?

How do I verify my property lines?

Can I repair my vehicle on my property?

I received a Zoning Violation, what do I do?

Can you send me a Zoning Verification / Burn Down Letter?

Building and Development Standards:

Can I build a second house or accessory dwelling unit?

Can I attach an accessory dwelling unit to my home?

Can I place a manufactured home on my property?

Can I place a tiny home on my property?

Can I build a detached garage / accessory structure?

Can I convert my garage into an office or bedroom?

Can I convert part of my home into an accessory dwelling unit?

Can I build a duplex?​

Can I build a fence in my front yard or side-street yard?

Can I expand my paved driveway?

What are my setbacks?

How tall can I build?

What are Development Standards?

Do you have copies of building permits of my home?

Can you send me a site plan / plot plan?​

Use:

Can I have chickens / crowing fowl?

Can I keep horses on my property?

Can I rent my home as a short-term rental (AirBnb, VRBO, etc.)

Can I park a semi-truck on my residential property?

What businesses can I run from my home?

Do I need a business license? How do I get a business license?

What can I do on my commercial property / What can I do on my industrial property?

Can I open a cannabis dispens​ary or sell cannabis products (including CBD)?

Can I conduct auto sales on a commercial property?

General:

What is a Use Permit?

What is a Minor Use Permit?

What is a Special Development Permit?

How long do entitlement applications take to process?

I got a mailed notice for a public hearing, what is it?

How do I submit comments about a project?​


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is my zoning?

You can check the zoning of a property on our online Parcel Viewer. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code (SZC) for descriptions of current zoning districts.

What is the SPA or NPA zone?​
The “SPA" zoning district stands for “Special Planning Area." Special Planning Areas are areas within the County of Sacramento identified by the Board of Supervisors as having unique development standards and use regulations that cannot be achieved by the standard Zoning Code. The “NPA" zoning district stands for “Neighborhood Preservation Area." Neighborhood Preservation Areas are areas identified by the Board of Supervisors as having a unique character that the residents of the area would like to preserve through alternative development standards. A list of all SPA / NPA plans are available on our website.

Can I change my zoning?
An applicant can apply for a Rezone of a property to change the zoning district. This process is considered a discretionary action and involves public hearings, public noticing, and environmental review.  A Rezone can typically cost $24,000 or more in application fees and can take nine months or longer to​ process. It is highly recommended that an applicant apply for a Pre-Application Meeting prior to filing for a Rezone. The Pre-Application Meeting Request Form can be found on our Forms webpage. 

Can I split my lot?

An applicant can apply for a Tentative Parcel Map or Tentative Subdivision Map to divide a property. A Tentative Parcel Map will typically allow an applicant to divide a lot into four or fewer parcels, if approved. A Tentative Subdivision Map will allow an applicant to divide a lot into five or more parcels, if approved. All proposed parcels must meet the minimum lot size, width, and development standards of its zoning district.

For example, an applicant with a four-acre property, zoned AR-2, wants to split their lot into two parcels. As indicated in Chapter 2 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code, the AR-2 zoning district has a minimum lot size of two acres. The applicant would apply for a Tentative Parcel Map to divide the four-acre lot into two two-acre lots. They could not request to divide the four-acre lot into three lots as the proposed lots would not meet the minimum lot size standards for the AR-2 zone.

How do I verify my property lines?

The Office of Planning and Environmental Review does not verify property boundaries nor settle civil disputes regarding property lines. Please contact the County Engineering Division, Survey Section at (916) 874-6546 or by email at dsssurveysweb@SacCounty.net for a list of recently active licensed Land Surveyors who can be contracted to survey lots and verify property boundaries.

Can I repair my vehicle on my property?

Yes! You can perform minor repairs (such as oil changes, brake pad replacement, etc.) on personal vehicles (owned by the property owner or by someone residing on the property) using tools normally found in a residence within a fully enclosed space or garage.

I received a Zoning Violation, what do I do?

Please contact the Code Enforcement Officer of the Day at (916) 874-7908 or by email at saccode@saccounty.net for more information regarding violation notices.

Can you send me a Zoning Verification / Burn Down Letter?

To obtain a Zoning Verification or Burn Down Letter, please submit a complete Research Request Application form and a check for $165.11 to the Office of Planning and Environmental Review, either by mail at:

Office of Planning and Environmental Review
827 7th Street, Room 225
Sacramento, CA 95814

Or in person at the Building Assistance Center at 827 7th Street in downtown Sacramento.

Application forms can be found on our Planning and Environmental Review Application Forms webpage.

Please allow three weeks for processing.

Building and Development Standards

Can I build a second house or accessory dwelling unit?

Please review our webpage on Accessory Dwelling Units. An Accessory Dwelling Unit, commonly known as a “granny-flat" or “mother-in-law's quarters" is allowed up to 600 square-feet or 800 square-feet in most zones with an Accessory Dwelling Unit Administrative Permit.

Can I attach an accessory dwelling unit to my home?

Yes! Please review our webpage on Accessory Dwelling Units for development standards and permitting requirements.

Can I place a manufactured home on my property?

Yes! In most cases, manufactured homes are allowed as either a primary residence or an accessory dwelling unit, subject to the standards of Sacramento County Zoning Code Section 3.5.1.G., which can be found in Chapter 3 of the Zoning Code

Can I put a tiny home on my property?

Tiny homes, or homes that are either moveable or much smaller than average single-family dwellings, are not allowed unless they meet the minimum building width requirement of 20 feet and are placed on a permanent foundation.

Can I build a detached garage or accessory structure?

Yes! In most cases, you may construct a detached garage, subject to the required development standards for setbacks, size, and height requirements. Please review Zoning Code Section 5.4.5.B., Table 5.10 for development standards regarding accessory structures. Zoning Code Section 5.4.5.B. can be found in Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code.​

Can I convert my garage into an office or bedroom?

Yes! Please contact Building Permits and Inspections at (916) 875-5296 for information regarding necessary permits. If the conversion will increase the number of bedrooms in the dwelling to five or more, a Minor Use Permit will be required and the garage conversion shall be replaced with permanent enclosed parking.

Can I convert part of my home into an accessory dwelling unit?

Yes! Please contact Building Permits and Inspections at (916) 875-5296 for information regarding necessary permits.

Can I build a duplex?

Duplexes or halfplexes are allowed by right in the RD-10 zone, the RD-15 through RD-40 zones, and in the RM-2 zone. A duplex or halfplex is allowed by right on corner lots in the RD-5 zone. A Use Permit by the Zoning Administrator is required to allow duplexes or halfplexes on interior lots in the RD-5 zone.

Can I build a fence in my front yard or side-street yard?

Please review Sacramento County Zoning Code Section 5.2.5.B.1. for development standards regarding walls and fences in front yards for single-family development. In summary, solid fences are allowed within the front yard up to three feet tall; semi-open fencing is allowed up to four feet tall, and open fencing is allowed up to seven feet tall. Solid fences are allowed up to seven feet in height in the side-street yard. Section 5.2.5.B.1. can be found in Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code.​

Can I expand my driveway?

Pursuant to Sacramento County Zoning Code Section 5.9.3.C.1., no more than 40% of the area between the front and side-street lot lines and the front and side-street walls of the primary dwelling can be paved. Additional paved area may be granted with a Minor Use Permit. Section 5.9.3.C.1. can be found in Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code.​

​​

What are my setbacks?

Setback requirements for the construction of new structures or for the modification of existing structures depends on the Zoning and proposed use of the structure.  Please contact sacplan@saccounty.net with the subject address and/or the Assessor Parcel Number of the subject property along with a brief project description and staff will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible with the applicable setback information.  Below is a listing of the most commonly referenced Development Standards Sections below along with the appropriate Zoning Code Section:​

1.Single-Family Development Standards (Section 5.4.2.B.).

2.Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) Development Standards (Section 5.4.5.F.).

3.Accessory Structures in Agricultural and Agricultural Residential Zones (Section 5.3.2.A.).

4.Multifamily Development Standards (Section 5.4.3.B.). 

5.Commercial Development Standards (Section 5.5.2.A.). 

6.Industrial Development Standards (Section 5.6.2.A.).​

Please note that if your project is located within a Neighborhood Preservation Area, Special Planning Area, Specific Plan, Combining Zone, or Planned Unit Development your setbacks may be different than the standards listed in the Zoning Code sections listed above.​

How tall can I build?​

Height requirements can be found in Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code​. Typical single-family residential structures can be up to 30 feet tall.

Please contact us at sacplan@saccounty.net to verify height requirements in all zoning districts.

What are Development Standards?

Development Standards are specific regulations, codes, or policies that dictate how you may develop a property. Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code contains most of the Development Standards for structures and development within Sacramento County. ​​

Do you have copies of building permits of my home?

Please contact the Building Permits and Inspection division at (916) 875-5296 to request historical building permits.

Can you send me a site plan / plot plan?

The Office of Planning and Environmental Review does not prepare or provide site plans or plot plans. ​

Use:

Can I have chickens?

Yes! The keeping of egg-laying chickens or ducks is considered an Incidental Agriculture Use and is allowed in most zoning districts, pursuant to the provisions of Sacramento County Zoning Code 3.9.3.G. which can be found in Chapter 3 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code.

Typically, an average RD-5 residential lot may keep one egg-laying chicken or duck per 1,000 square-feet of parcel area or 200 square-feet of rear yard area, whichever is less. These animals must be kept at least 20 feet from all neighboring residential dwellings and must have a covered coop or roost. 

Can I keep horses on my property?

You may keep horses on a hobby-type basis on agricultural-residential and residential lots 20,000 square-feet or greater.

Can I rent my home as a short-term rental (AirBnb, VRBO, etc.)?

Yes! Short-term rentals are allowed in a primary single-family dwelling or accessory dwelling units as an accessory use as long as the property owner lives on the property at least six months out of the year. Please review our webpage on Short-Term Rental Permits.

Can I park a semi-truck on my residential property?

No. Pursuant to Sacramento County Zoning Code Section 5.9.3.E.1.a., Motor vehicles and equipment used for, or designed primarily for, commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of ten thousand pounds or more, and trailers used for, or designed primarily for, commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes, cannot be parked or stored on any agricultural-residential, residential or interim residential zoned property except when loading, unloading, or rendering service. Section 5.9.3.E.1.a. in Chapter 5 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code.

What businesses can I run from my home?

Please review Sacramento County Zoning Code Section 3.9.3.F. for examples of allowed, restricted, or prohibited home occupations. Section 3.9.3.F. can be found in Chapter 3 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code

Do I need a business license? How do I get a business license?​

Please contact Business Licensing at (916) 874-6644 for business license questions. You can apply for a business license online through the Department of Finance website.

What can I do on my commercial property?

Please review Chapter 3 of the Sacramento County Zoning Code for allowed, conditionally allowed, and prohibited uses. 

Can I open a cannabis dispensary or sell cannabis products (including CBD)?​

Commercial cannabis activites are prohibited within the County of Sacramento. Please check our Cannabis in the Unincorporated County​ ​webpage for more information. 

Can I conduct auto sales on a commercial property?

A Use Permit by the Planning Commission is required for auto sales in the GC, M-1, and M-2 zones and is not allowed in the LC or SC zones. A Use Permit by the Planning Commission ​is a discretionary permit which costs $14,862 and takes approximately seven to nine months to process and includes public hearings, noticing, and environmental review. ​

General:

What is a Use Permit?

A Use Permit, also known as a Conditional Use Permit or Special Use Permit, allows specific land uses in zones not normally allowed for a particular site to ensure that the proposed use is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

What is a Minor Use Permit?

Minor Use Permits typically have less impact on adjacent properties than a Conditional Use Permit, require less intensive review, and may be approved by planning staff, upon compliance with staff recommendations and condit​ions for approval. Unlike a Conditional Use Permit, Minor Use Permits do not require a public hearing.

What is a Special Development Permit?

A Special Development Permit is a discretionary permit which may be granted by the appropriate authority to provide greater flexibility from and alternatives to development standards, minimum lot area and lot width, and minimum public street frontage in any zoning district.

How long do entitlement applications take to process?

Discretionary entitlement applications, such as Use Permits, Special Development Permits, Tentative Parcel Maps, Rezones, etc. can take anywhere from six to twelve or more months to process. This timeline includes review of application for completeness, comments from internal and external agencies, public hearings and notices, and the preparation of necessary planning and environmental documents. Lower level discretionary permits, such as Minor Use Permits, and administrative permits can take anywhere from a few weeks to four months to process.

I got a mailed notice for a public hearing, what is it?

A mailed notice of a public hearing is sent to property owners who are adjacent to a property with a proposed entitlement application. It is generally encouraged that you review the mailed notice and visit our Planning Projects Viewer to find more information regarding the project. You may also contact us at sacplan@saccounty.net or via the contact information on the mailed notice for more information about the project. Please include the Control Number in all correspondence regarding a proposal.

How do I submit comments about a project?

Comments for projects can be submitted to our office directly or sent via email to either sacplan@saccounty.net or to the staff person assigned to the project. Comments can be mailed to our office at

Office of Planning and Environmental Review
827 7th Street, Room 225
Sacramento, CA 95814​​​​