Land Use (Entitlement) Permit Process

Keep in mind that these are simplified versions aimed at providing the user with a general understanding of the planning process and do not contain all the steps involved nor do they provide detailed explanations for the steps illustrated.

  • A Person wonders what they can do with their property or already has an idea in mind for a project at a specific location. Typical questions they may have are: What is the zoning on my property? Can I put up a six foot wall along my front yard? Can I put this type of business or use at this location?

    The first thing they should do is to go to the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS) to check the zoning regulations on the property, to discuss the project with LADBS staff, and to apply for the necessary building permits.

  • At the LADBS public counter, the proposed project is reviewed to determine whether or not it meets all of the zoning regulations.

    If it conforms to all of the zoning regulations, the applicant has their plans approved by LADBS and a building permit is issued. This is called “by right development” where the applicant has the right to build or use their property if all of the zoning requirements of the property are met.

    If it doesn’t conform to the zoning regulations or requires approval by the Department of City Planning (Planning), LADBS will instruct the applicant to go to Planning to apply for the necessary land use permits (entitlements).

    • Once an applicant received a building permit, they can go ahead with their project. No public hearing or further discretionary approvals are required.

  • At the Planning public counter, the project is reviewed to determine which type of land use permit (entitlement) the applicant must apply for to have their project considered for approval, the application procedure is explained, and the application form is distributed. After the applicant completes the application form, they return to the Planning public counter to submit their application package.

    In order to inform certified Neighborhood Councils at the earliest time, a convenient list of new applications for land use permits (entitlements) that have been accepted for review will be emailed every two weeks.

  • For most projects a public hearing is required. When a public hearing is required, a public hearing notice is mailed out to the appropriate parties. The hearing notice is also mailed to the certified Neighborhood Council within which the project is located. At the public hearing, any individual or community group including a Neighborhood Council has the right to speak on the proposed project. Written comments are also accepted per the instructions on the hearing notice. Depending on the required action, the project is reviewed by the appropriate decision-maker.

  • After considering all public testimony and Planning staff recommendations, the decision maker will make a decision (determination) on the proposed project. The determination will either approve the project as is, approve the project with conditions or deny the project. Once a determination is issued, it can be appealed. A Neighborhood Council is an entity of the City of Los Angeles and therefore cannot directly appeal a determination.

    If the determination is appealed, it is heard by an appeal body. The appeal requires a separate public hearing. The appeal body will then issue their decision on the project. After all appeal efforts have been exhausted, the decision becomes final.

    If the determination is not appealed, the original decision becomes final.

    • Project is denied.

  • After a project is approved, the applicant must return to LADBS to obtain necessary building permits.