Making Exterior Improvements

Thinking about making physical improvements to the site or the exterior of the building where your business is located - such as constructing a new building, adding on to or repainting your existing building, or modifying the landscaping? You will first need to obtain approval of a Site Development Review Permit or a Waiver for minor improvements. The City of Dublin Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 8.104) includes regulations for Site Development Review Permits.

What is a Site Development Review Permit?

The purpose of a Site Development Review Permit is to promote orderly, attractive, and harmonious development within the City through design review.  A Site Development Review Permit addresses the aesthetics of proposed property improvements.  This includes architectural style, look, feel, and function of those improvements, and conformance with adopted design guidelines.

Do I Need a Site Development Review Permit?

When you propose to develop a property or change the exterior features of an already developed property, those improvements are subject to design review and require approval of a Site Development Review Permit.  All new construction, and exterior modifications to existing multi-family residential, non-residential development, and home additions that exceed 500 sq. ft., require approval of a Site Development Review Permit. Some common examples of improvements that require a permit include: new structures; additions; façade modifications and repainting of existing structures; new or modified landscaping, grading or circulation changes; etc. Improvements that are minor in nature may qualify for a Site Development Review Waiver. Please consult with a Planner to find out whether your proposed improvements require a Site Development Review Permit.


  • Pre-application meeting: Before making a financial commitment to a site and preparing detailed plans, you should set up a meeting with a Planner to discuss your project. Bring a rough draft of your plan to this initial meeting and describe your project. This will help to enable staff to identify preliminary issues or concerns, provide you with detailed submittal requirements, and discuss the review process and approval time-frame.  Depending on the complexity of the project and application completeness, a typical Site Development Review Permit can take three to six months to process.
  • Application Submittal: A Planner will complete a checklist of detailed submittal requirements and provide that to you.  A Written Statement is an important part of your application submittal. The Written Statement should provide factual evidence to support each of the mandatory findings, which must be made in order to approve your request.  Submit the application package to the Community Development Department, Planning Division.  A Planner will review your application submittal to confirm that you have provided all of the required information before accepting the application for processing.
  • Staff Review: A Planner will be assigned to your application and serve as your point of contact to help guide you through the application process. This Planner will review your application and complete the necessary environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Planner will also refer your application to other departments and/or public agencies (Police, Fire, Building, Engineering, etc.) for review and comment. The Planner will notify you within 30 days if your application is deemed complete and ready to be acted on by the approving body, or if additional information or clarification is necessary to complete your application. If your application is deemed to be incomplete, further processing will be delayed until you submit the necessary information. Once your application is deemed complete, it will be scheduled for a decision by the approving body.
  • Approval: The Planner will advise you if your application will be acted on by the Community Development Director with a public notice of decision, or will require a public hearing with the Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission. Either way, a notice will be mailed to all property owners and tenants within 300 feet of the property and published in the East Bay/Valley Times. This will provide the date, time, and place of the decision or public hearing, and a description of the project application. In the case of a public hearing, the hearing body will accept testimony from you, City Staff, and the public before rendering a decision on the application.
  • Appeal Period: Decisions by the approving body are subject to appeal for ten days following the decision. Anyone affected by the decision may file an appeal with the City Clerk in accordance with Chapter 8.136 of the Zoning Ordinance. A decision becomes final once the appeal period has closed or action on an appeal is complete. Once the decision becomes final, you may operate your business in conformance with the Conditions of Approval.
  • Building Permit: You may apply for a Building Permit once the decision becomes final.