Project applications start at the public counter. Whether the application is for a project renovation or new construction, the public counter is the place where planning and development come together.
Public counters are where applicants submit applications for ministerial, administrative, or discretionary planning approvals. Planners are available at three locations (the Development Services Centers in Downtown, the Valley, and West L.A.) to answer basic zoning questions. Planners at the public counter also help applicants identify which entitlements are needed for a proposed project.
Land Use Process
Research the rules and zoning regulations prior to submitting a project application. Zoning information for properties in the City of Los Angeles is available online through the City’s web-based mapping tool, ZIMAS. Projects that do not require planning approvals may proceed to the public counter to apply for building permits with the Department of Building Safety.
If a project requires planning approvals, applicants are encouraged to meet with staff before filing their application to verify which land use entitlements are required. Based on the project description, applicants may qualify for the services offered by the Expedited Processing Section.
at the public counter
Project approvals are submitted at the public counter. Once an application is filed, the project is assigned a case number and routed to the appropriate staff members to review.
Before processing a case, the staff conducts an initial assessment to confirm that the necessary documents have been submitted. Next, the assigned planner reviews the plans and application materials, conducts the necessary environmental review, and makes a recommendation.
After considering the merits of a project and public testimony, the decision maker will approve or deny the project. If the determination is not appealed, the original decision stands; otherwise, the appellant body hears the appeal before rendering a final decision.
After the project has been approved, the applicant returns to the public counter to obtain possible clearances for project conditions while applying for the building permit or permits.
Note: This is a simplified version of the local land use process. Actual steps may vary based on the project description and entitlements. For more details, contact public counter staff.