Application Process


Most types of development in Pismo Beach require planning permits. There are generally two basic types of permits: those that require review by the Planning Commission, and those that only require staff review. Several factors determine the process.

Inside the Coastal Zone

Virtually all projects in all zones except R-1 and R-2 require a public hearing by the Planning Commission. Most projects in the R-1 and R-2 zones, inside the Coastal Zone but outside the Coastal Appeal Zone, do not require Planning Commission review. Nearly all projects inside the Coastal Appeal Zone require Planning Commission review. See below for more about the Coastal Zone.

Outside the Coastal Zone

Most residential projects in the RSL zone (outside Coastal Zone) require staff-level permits. Tract conditions or hillside property or some other factor may mean a Planning Commission permit is required.

These flowcharts outline the different processes:

How to Apply

Submit a Planning Application and the materials required on the checklist. If you are asking for a variance, submit a Variance Findings supplement along with the other materials. Application materials and fees must be submitted to the Community Development Department in person or by postal mail.

 Coastal Zone

The Coastal Zone includes all land and water extending from the state's outer limit of jurisdiction inland approximately 1,000 yards from the mean high-tide line. The Coastal Commission adopted an official Coastal Zone map, which can be viewed in the Community Development Department. The city's zoning maps incorporate the Coastal Zone boundary, but in cases of dispute please contact the Coastal Commission staff for a determination. See the Public Resources Code, section 30103, for the official definition of “Coastal Zone."

Coastal Appeal Zone

That land between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea or within 300 feet of the inland extent of any beach or of the mean high-tide line where there is no beach, whichever is the greatest distance, plus public trust lands, land within 100 feet of any wetland, estuary, or stream, or within 300 feet of the top of the seaward face of a coastal bluff. The Coastal Appeal Zone is designated on city zoning maps. The Coastal Commission has ultimate authority in determining the exact boundary of this zone. Public Resources Code Section 30603 describes this boundary further.