Determine Business Location

Determine Business Location

Search sources such as LoopNet to find leasing opportunities.

Before you sign a lease or purchase a commercial building, contact the Planning Division at 707-543-3200 to be sure that your business is allowed in the zone or area you've selected. The Planning Division can tell you if your business meets the zoning requirements and whether you need any other type of City review or permit, such as a Design Review or Use Permit.

Additionally, the Planning Division has information about signage and parking requirements that may apply to your business and location. Remember that home-based businesses also need to check on zoning! The Planning Division is located in room 3, City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue.

Zoning & City Permits

What You Need To Do

Contact the Planning and Economic Development Department to find out what the zoning is for your prospective location and what land use permits may be required.


City of Santa Rosa Planning & Economic Development Department
Development Review/Planning Division
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: 707-543-3220

Estimated Cost



Zoning ClearanceNo charge
Minor Use Permit$2,445
Application Processing$60
Conditional Use Permit$10,676
Planning Commission Public Hearing$1,839
Application Processing$60

(As of June 2016, for current info see Fee Schedule (PDF) or contact the department.)


  • Zoning Clearance - Over the counter
  • Minor Use Permit - Average of about 6 to 8 weeks
  • Conditional Use Permit - Average of about 2 to 3 months



Ordinance 3944 (PDF) (valid through July 2013) now makes it easier to open a restaurant downtown by allowing restaurants (with incidental bar) as a permitted use in all commercial (and several other) districts, without requirement of a use permit.

Also, because of Ordinance 3944, if a previous operator had an approved Conditional Use Permit (Minor or Major), the approval is transferable to a new business as long as the operator is willing to operate under the requirements of the previous approval and the previous restaurant was in operation within the last 24 months with no changes in use since.

Checking with the Planning and Economic Development Department on these issues is always a good first start.

Building Permit: When You Need One/Where to Go

Building permits are required to modify the space your business will occupy, including improvements or changes to the building's structure, electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems. You can contact the Building Division at 707-543-3200 for information on applying for a permit.