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Residential Building Permit & Allocation System

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Residential Building Permit Allocation System

BlueprintsThe Residential Building Permit Allocation System (Ordinance No. 1209), also referred to as the “Allocation System," is the primary implementation tool for the City’s adopted Managed-Growth Plan. The City’s voters adopted the original Managed-Growth Plan (“Measure Q”) on March 26, 1996 in response to their collective concern about the rate of growth and quality of development occurring at that time. The voters reconfirmed the Managed-Growth Plan as “Measure N", which became effective January 1, 2013.

The purpose of the Managed-Growth Plan is to reduce air pollution generated by development to a level below that which would occur in the absence of the Plan, to promote affordable housing, and to protect the hillsides from over-development. The Allocation System manages population by limiting the number of residential building permits that may be issued on an annual basis, balanced against local housing needs as determined by applicable State and Federal guidelines.  The current Managed-Growth Plan covers the period January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2022.

The following is a summary of Ordinance No. 1209. Please refer to SVMC Chapter 9-36 for the full text of the ordinance.

The following projects are exempt from the provisions of the Residential Building Permit Allocation System:

  • Remodeling or replacement of an existing dwelling, or conversion of apartments to condominiums
  • Development of one residence on a lot that is not part of a Planned Development (this exemption only applies to two such projects per developer, per calendar year, provided such developments are not on adjacent sites

At the beginning of each calendar year, 292 allocation grants enter the Residential Building Permit Allocation System. Allocation grants not awarded from the prior year are added to the following year. Upon final approval of a Planned Development, all residential projects are automatically placed into the allocation system. Allocation grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Projects that have been placed into the allocation system may receive up to one-half of the available grants during that calendar year. If a project requires more allocation grants, the project will maintain its place in the allocation system and will be eligible to receive up to one-half of the available grants for each subsequent calendar year until all allocation grants required for the project have been issued. All allocation grants are valid for four years. The four-year period will commence when a project, or phase of a project, receives its last grant. If a developer fails to establish vested rights within four years, the allocation grants are returned to the allocation system for distribution. If the project's Planned Development has not expired, the project will be placed at the end of the list of projects awaiting allocation grants.

A Quarterly Report of the status of Allocation Grants is provided to the City Council.

Please contact the Planning Division for assistance and further information at (805) 583-6769 or