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If your planning to open any business these days you will probably need to submit a "Conditional Use Permit" or CUP as they are commonly referred too.

What is a CUP?  The purpose of a CUP is, to allow the proper integration into the community uses that may be suitable only in specific locations in a zone or, only if the uses are designated or laid out on the site in a particular manner.  Typically the project will be analyzed with respect to the proposed use of the subject site including, for example, the hours of operation; additional impacts to traffic; and the overall appropriateness of the proposal in conjunction with other established uses in the area.

Conditional Use Permits are issued by the Planning Commission of the City you are locating in.  The Planning Commission comprises individuals appointed by the City Council who are charged with the responsibility of approving or denying requests for development.

CUP's can take from 3-5 months to process, depending on the level of environmental review that is required and staff's current workload.  This time frame includes certain minimum timeline requirements stipulated by State law for environmental review and public noticing.  Projects that are determined to be categorically exempt from CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) normally take 3 months to process while those requiring a Negative Declaration take approximately 5 months to process.  Projects that require preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will take significantly longer to process.

It is important that the applicant prepare a complete and accurate submittal package.  Delays may occur (and usually do) if the staff does not have accurate information or has to return an incomplete application.

This is where our services and experience prove to be a valuable investment for you.

 We know how important it is for you to
open your business as soon as possible.

We also understand you can't begin to recover your start-up cost until you actually start-up by being in business and making real transactions.

As a General Contractor and Certified Building Inspector we work with Federal, State and Local Government Agencies from coast to coast.

We know the requirements you must meet to get your business and construction project approved.

We know how to accurately read government policy, zoning requirements and building codes, and we know how to work with Architects to ensure the plans are developed correctly to meet those requirements.

To see some examples of what a City requires select below:

CUP Example A     CUP Example B


Our completed applications are packaged in individual presentation folders which keep all properly folded items together and organized to meet official guidelines.  Our folders also help your project to be easily & readily identified by staff members.

Conditional Use Permit Example A

This example of CUP requirements is taken from the City of Irvine, California Application


SECTION D - Project Plans These must be legible and must be drawn to scale to clearly illustrate the components of the project. Remember that the staff, Planning Commission and Zoning Administrator are not familiar with the property and will need this information to evaluate your project. If the plans are not legible, or do not contain the information listed below, your application will not be accepted for processing. Submit ten sets of project plans, folded to approximately 8 1/2" x 14". Use the checklist to be sure your plans include the following required elements:

____ scale (for example 1:20, or 1/8" = 1')

____ vicinity map

____ north arrow

____ building location(s) ("footprints") showing floor plan and access points

____ building elevations (new construction only) (Note that your case planner may require elevations if necessary to understand the project as indicated in section F below.)

____ dimensioned setbacks

____ dimensioned property lines

____ notes labeling existing and proposed on-site uses

____ notes labeling surrounding land uses

____ easement locations (if any)

____ parking lot layout and circulation, showing dimension of parking spaces and drive aisles

____ existing and proposed pavement striping and signage (directional arrows, drop off zones, etc.)

____ turning radii of trucks expected to use the project (including trash trucks)

____ loading, service areas

____ location of trash enclosures

____ controlled access gate locations (if any)

____ ultimate street right-of-way property lines (if these are different from existing)

____ adjacent streets, street names and intersections, showing striping and medians

____ existing and proposed bus turn-out locations (if any)

____ all access points (driveways), existing or proposed; label access type (i.e. curb return or apron)

____ note distance from each driveway to the nearest access of adjacent properties

____ sidewalks

____ "line of sight" (per City Standard Plan 403) at all access points on a curved roadway or at access points where buildings, landscaping or signage may obscure a driver's view

____ turning radii and ramp grades of parking structures, if proposed

____ site and parking summary table as contained on Page 2 of the Development Case Application

____ one set of 11” x 17” reduced project site plan

____ 8 sets of color photo simulations when cellular antennas and monopoles require Conditional Use Permits


SECTION E - Public Notice Materials: Please note that the homeowners' associations which govern property in the vicinity will be notified of your project as required by the City's Zoning Ordinance. Staff suggests that you advise them of your intent to develop a project as soon as possible to receive their comments and address their concerns.

____ A listing of all names and addresses for:

a. Each property owner and residential tenant, and all homeowners' and community associations governing property within five hundred (500) feet of the property line of the proposed project. Commercial tenants within 500 feet shall be included in the following instances only: 1) the subject of the application is a residential development which is proposed within 1000 feet of where businesses use, store, transport and/or manufacture hazardous materials or waste; or 2) the subject of the application is a heavy manufacturing use which involves the use, storage, transportation, and/or manufacture of hazardous materials or waste. This information shall be provided from the latest equalized assessment roll of Orange County.

b. Each local agency expected to provide water, sewage, schools, or other essential facilities or services to the project.

c. The property owner or the owner's duly authorized agent.

d. The project applicant.

___ Mailing labels may be submitted in any one of the following formats:

Saved in TEXT format Excel with separate fields of information or Excel with separate fields of information (MSWord, Word Perfect, and other common formats will not work) on an IBM formatted floppy disk. Each field of information (assessor’s parcel number, name, street address, city, state, zip code) must be separated by a tab key, tab-delimited (preferred), or comma, comma-delimited. The project number and number of entries on the above list should be printed on the disk label. (Preferred format)

Two sets of labels affixed to a number 10 size envelope in order for the mail room "stuffing machine" to automatically insert the notices and with the following preprinted return address:

Etc., etc...


If you're not ready to supply all of this and more then call us today.

Conditional Use Permit Example B


A statement of justification must be provided on a separate sheet of paper. Applicants should explain in detail the nature of the request and why the proposal is justified (i.e., how it meets the required Findings). A strong and complete project description and justification will improve the likelihood of a favorable staff recommendation and approval by the Planning Commission. Projects without clear statements of justification will be requested to provide such prior to determination that the application is complete.



Fees for processing Use Permits that are exempt from CEQA require payment of a nonrefundable, flat fee. Fees for processing projects that require either a Negative Declaration or an EIR are based upon a deposit/reimbursement agreement between the Community Development Department and the applicant. Submittal fees are used to cover staff's time for preparation of environmental documents, preparation of staff reports, and attendance at required public hearings. Actual staff time is charged against the initial deposit at a rate specified by the City Council. Projects exceeding the base deposit amount will be charged accordingly. Payment of all fees is due one (1) working day prior to the scheduled public hearing. Projects having an outstanding balance on

the scheduled hearing date will be continued pending payment of fees due. A reimbursement agreement is attached which must be completed and returned with the submittal package.


The Department of Fish and Game requires payment of fees for the review of projects impacting wildlife sensitive areas. The fees for this review are $25.00 for a finding of no impact (Diminimus Finding); $850.00 for review of an Environmental Impact Report; and $1,250.00 for review of a Negative Declaration. These fees are due and payable prior to the scheduling of public hearings for the proposed project. Checks for payment of these fees should be made payable to the “County of XXXXX” and submitted to the City of XXXXXXX Community Development Department for processing.



A preliminary title report, current within sixty (60) days, of all parcels involved in the request is required. A title report can be obtained from any title company located in XXXXXXX County.



A Public Notice Map and Property Owner's List on mailing labels conforming to requirements outlined on form D of this packet is required.



The proposed plans shall be prepared in conformance with accepted architectural standards and shall conform to the requirements of the enclosed "Site Plan Review" and the appropriate Zone Compliance Checklist.



Each application for a Conditional Use Permit must contain the following:

  • Completed General Application Form (Form A)

  •  Executed Conditional Use Permit Checklist and Site Plan Review Checklist

  •  Statement of Justification (Attach separate sheet)

  •  Payment of non-refundable application fees

  •  Executed Reimbursement Agreement

  •  Preliminary Title Report of all properties involved in the request (2 copies, current within 60 days)

  •  500-foot Public Notice Map

  •  Typed list of owners on mailing labels for public notice mail out list that includes current names, assessor's parcel numbers, and mailing addresses of all parcels within 500 feet of the subject property

  •  Ten (10) sets of proposed site plan; floor plans; landscape plan; and elevations pursuant to the Site Plan Review Checklist contained herein (folded to 8-½" x 11", individually)

  •  Ten (10) copies of a detailed Sign Plan, if entitlement request includes signage (folded to 8-1/2”x11”, individually)

  •  One (1) 8-1/2”x11” reduction of each exhibit. Reductions may be PMT (Photo Mechanical Transfer) or electronic in PDF format on a disk.

(NOTE: No copier reductions will be accepted)


Additional information or exhibits in support of the proposal are encouraged if justified. Exhibits, photos, petitions, etc., become the property of the Community Development Department and cannot be returned. Additional studies and/or supplemental materials may be required pending environmental review.



While it is not necessary for a professional to prepare your plans, it is necessary that the plans conform to accepted architectural standards. This means that the plans must be neatly drawn using ruled lines; that all dimensions be shown; that the plans be drawn to scale and that the scale be noted on the plans; that all improvements (existing and proposed) be clearly labeled; and that the plans be prepared in such a manner that a clear, understandable "picture" of the proposed project is easily seen.


SITE PLANS: Proposed site plans shall contain the following minimal information:

  1.  Title and address of the project

  2.  All property lines and easements (existing and proposed)

  3.  All public right-of-ways

  4.  All existing and/or proposed structures

  5.  North arrow

  6.  Scale of the drawing

  7.  Date of the drawing

  8.  All site dimensions including parking lot planters, walks, etc.

  9.  Location, species and size of all existing trees (indicate trees to be removed)

  10.  All fences or walls including height

  11.  All loading and storage facilities, utilities, trash enclosures, transformers, etc.

  12.  A statement regarding the proposed floor area, site area, parking ratios, employee counts where applicable, and zoning classification

  13.  Floodplain designation and finished floor elevation

LANDSCAPE PLANS: Applicants are encouraged to obtain a copy of the City XXXXXXX Landscape Development Guidelines prior to preparing plans. In addition to the list of basic items shown under Site Plans, landscape plans submittals must also include the following:

  1.  Landscape grading plan including berms, swales, and drainage easements

  2.  Proposed planting plan with detailed planting list by type and number

  3.  Required site amenity point schedule calculations

  4.  Arborist report (may be waived)

FLOOR PLANS: Floor plans shall be prepared to scale and contain the following minimal information:

  1.  Use for which each room is intended

  2.  Door and window location and size

  3.  Plumbing fixture layout

  4.  Location of utility service points

  5.  Drawing scale

ELEVATIONS: Elevation plans shall be prepared for all views and contain the following minimal information:

  1.  Slope of the property in relation to the proposed structure(s)

  2.  Exterior wall coverings, doors, and windows

  3.  Roof pitch and covering materials

  4.  Color scheme (if known)

  5.  Drawing scale
     and more...

If you're not ready to supply all of this or more then call us today at (855) 676-8687. We'd love to help.