Comprehensive Fee Update

On October 19, the City Council voted to approve a comprehensive update to City Planning’s application fees. The new fees more accurately reflect current application trends and the associated staffing costs necessary to maintain vital city services.

Under the fee schedule currently in place, the City recovers approximately 63% of the estimated full cost of providing project planning services. On average, this has resulted in annual revenue that is about $14 million less than our expenditures. One reason for this shortfall is the changing distribution of entitlement applications. The last few years have seen a decline in applications for General Plan Amendments and Zone Changes, along with a corresponding rise in requests for projects that qualify under the Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Incentive Program, Senate Bill 375, and other administrative approvals.

By adjusting our fees to reflect our costs, the revised schedule is anticipated to bring our rate of cost recovery from 63% to 83%, resulting in savings of nearly $8 million per year to the City’s General Fund.

Throughout the fee update process, City Planning’s goal has been to take a balanced approach that meets the needs of the City’s residents while more accurately reflecting current development trends. While the cost of many applications will increase, the City will continue to subsidize community serving requests, such as non-applicant appeal fees and historic related applications, as well as local neighborhood uses like family day care centers and farmers markets.

To allow sufficient time for implementation, the new fees will not take effect until December 27, 2021, at which time new planning applications and sign-off requests will be subject to the revised fee schedule. Any City Planning invoice that is dated on or after December 27, 2021 will be subject to the new fees. Please plan ahead to avoid unforeseen delays due to the holidays.

For more information regarding the filing of an application, please contact staff assigned to the specific geography or division.