How Do I...

Change use of a structure

The allowed uses of a structure are determined by the zoning designation of your property. In most cases a change of use of a structure would be allowed with only a construction permit which makes sure that the building meets the requirements of the California Building Code and is safe for use. In some cases the existing use of a structure is "nonconforming," which means that it was established before the zoning designation was applied to the property and would not be allowed under the property's current zoning designation; for example, a commercial use in a residential zoning district. The continuation of the nonconforming use or its change to a similar use would be allowed per specific requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. In order to determine if a change of use of a structure is allowed you would have to first determine the zoning designation of your property. Should you have questions, please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to determine if a change of use of a structure on your property is allowed.

Remove Trees

Monterey County has policies and codes that regulate removal of native or protected trees. A Tree Removal Permit is required to remove or significantly trim protected trees. Hazardous trees or the removal of three or less trees may be handled administratively. The removal of three or more trees may require a Use Permit/Coastal Development Permit. A tree assessment from a County-approved arborist/forester is required in all cases. Before removing or significantly pruning any native trees, please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to determine if a permit is required.

Build a fence/retaining wall

Generally, in all zoning districts, your fence may not be more than six feet high unless it meets the setback requirements for an accessory structure (non-habitable). If your property is in a Design Control District, a Design Approval application is required. If your property is in a high archeological zone, an archaeological report may be required. Generally, fences cannot be located on easements. For additional information, please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Remodel

In general interior remodels do not require planning permits; however building permits are still required from RMA-Building. If your remodel includes any exterior changes (windows, doors, roof, porches, etc.) and your property zoning includes a "D" (Design Control) zoning overlay, then you will require a Design Approval for the exterior portion of the remodel. All remodels (interior and exterior) will still need to comply with all applicable setback, coverage and height restrictions, for the property's zoning designation. For additional information, please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Construct an addition

Additions need to comply with all applicable setback, coverage and height restrictions, for the property's zoning designation. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site, the current square footage of the structure that you wish to add an addition to, and any details regarding the proposed addition (Any new water fixtures proposed? Purpose/use of new addition? Location of proposed addition and distance from nearest property line?

Build a new house/structure

All new construction must comply with all applicable rules, regulations, and policies of the Monterey County General Plan, the applicable area plan/land use plan, if located within the coastal zone the applicable coastal implementation plan, and the applicable zoning ordinance. When reviewing an application for new construction staff reviews setbacks, coverage, height, proposed use, and other specific requirements that may be required due to location, use, and/or zoning. At minimum a Construction Permit will be required, but permitting requirements can greatly vary based on a number of factors, such as use, location, height, size, site constraints, hazard zones, etc., which can trigger cause for additional entitlements. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building located at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Prior to visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site, and specifics in regards to your proposed construction.

Adjust Lot Lines

A Lot Line Adjustment application is used when a property owner wants to adjust a lot line between at least two (2), but not more than four (4) adjoining parcels. In a Lot Line Adjustment, the owner(s) agree to deduct land from one parcel and add the land to an adjacent parcel(s). No additional parcels may be created. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Subdivide Land

The feasibility of subdividing a property depends upon a variety of factors. These factors include (but are not limited to) zoning, water quantity and quality, wastewater capacity (including percolation limitations and secondary repair area requirements), soils and slope, etc. Also, pending resolution of water constraints, subdivisions are not allowed for parcels located in the North County Area Plan and North County Land Use Plan areas. Parcels may be split or subdivided by processing a Tentative Map application. A minor subdivision generally involves the creation or reconfiguration of four (4) or fewer parcels. A standard subdivision generally involves the creation or reconfiguration of five (5) or more parcels. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Extend a Permit

Discretionary permits expire unless the permitted use or construction is started by the expiration date stated in the permit resolution. A Permit Extension may be granted by the RMA-Planning Director (Coastal Zone) or the original hearing body (Non-Coastal) provided a written request and application fee are submitted to RMA-Planning a minimum of 30 days before the expiration date of the permit. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Amend a Permit

A Permit Amendment is required when a change is made to a project after it has been approved. If the change is minor in nature, the amendment may be approved by the RMA-Planning Director. If the change is more significant, the amendment will be taken to the decision making body of the original permit and processed consistent with the original permit procedures. An application and fee are required for both. Please contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a specific proposal. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Implement other types of projects

Uses of a property and types, height and locations of structures on a property depend on what zoning district the property is located in. If the site is located in the unincorporated area, planning staff can determine the zoning district upon request if you visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas or call (831) 755-5025. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of the site.

Find out what my neighbor is doing

There are several steps you can take if you are curious about development that is proposed or under construction on a parcel. First, check the ACA online database of active Planning and Minor applications or current construction applications and issued construction permits and their current status in your area. If a planning application is currently under consideration or a construction permit has been applied for or issued within the last 40 days, it will show up on this list. You may also contact the Planner of the Day at (831) 755-5025 or visit RMA-Planning on the second floor of the County Administration building at 168 W. Alisal in Salinas to discuss a particular project. Before visiting or calling make sure you have the specific Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) or address of your neighbor’s property.