The Planning Division is responsible for the City's current and future planning needs. Planning staff manage development in the best interest of the City by applying regulations and standards that make our City a better place to live, work, and play, through which the quality of life in Concord takes shape. The division maintains, updates, and implements the General Plan (the "constitution" for the City) through a continuing review of all development. Planning staff are also responsible for evaluating the impact of development on our City's environment. The planning related laws, Development Code, and policies are communicated to developers and the general public to ensure an accurate and accessible flow of information.
The Planning Division is the central point for the review and processing of all development applications. In coordination with the other divisions within the Permit Center, the Planning Division processes ministerial permits (over-the-counter) and discretionary permits. The Planning Division is also responsible for long-range planning and environmental review for the City of Concord.
Land Use and Zoning Information
The Planning Division can assist you with information regarding zoning, permitted land uses, and development standards in the City of Concord. Self-service property and zoning information can also be found online with a street address or an Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) at www.concord.zoomprospector.com as well as in the Permit Center where the current General Plan and Zoning maps are posted. Setbacks and development standards for each zone can also be found online in Concord's Development Code.
The Planning Division reviews and issues permits at the Permit Center in cooperation with the Engineering and Building Divisions. Certain types of permits, such as sign permits or accessory building approvals, can be reviewed and approved over the counter if the required documentation and information is submitted and all of the approval requirements can be met. The Planning Division can also provide you with the current zoning, land use allowances, and required setbacks for your property to assist you in drawing up your plans at (925) 671-3152. Staff has prepared a listing of Frequently Asked Questions to provide answers to those questions heard most often. Please note that staff are unable to accept and process new applications after 4:30 PM.
Proposed Development Projects
Project applicants are encouraged to meet with staff and submit plans for pre-application review prior to filing a formal application for a discretionary permit. A meeting with staff from the various divisions before any formal application is made can provide valuable direction and guidance to project proponents that can streamline their future application submittals.
Once project applicants are ready to move forward with their application, an appointment must be made with a staff planner prior to submittal. The planner and applicant will review the application materials together to ensure that adequate documentation has been provided so that the materials can be routed to the different departments and agencies for review. Applicants should review the pertinent checklists associated with their application before preparing their documentation.
Discretionary permits require longer timelines with approval required either by the Zoning Administrator, Planning Commission and/or City Council. Such permits include Minor Use Permits, Use Permits, Variances, Minor and Major Subdivisions, Rezonings, and General Plan Amendments. Application forms, Submittal Checklists, and the current Fees and Charges Schedule for such discretionary permits are all available on-line. Applications which require environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act are required to post a deposit. To determine which application is required for your proposal, please contact the Planning Division. The Planning Division is always working on a wide range of development projects and maintains a Current Projects Report. Planning also maintains a listing of CEQA documents under environmental review.
Trees offer significant social, economic, and environmental benefits to the quality of life in our community by enhancing the aesthetic beauty of our neighborhoods, moderating climate, reducing energy costs and increasing property values. Certain types of trees in the City of Concord have a protected status, depending on their size, species or historical significance. Residents are not allowed to cut down, top off, uproot, or willfully damage or destroy a protected tree without first obtaining approval from the City.
General Plan Housing Element Update - The Planning Division is responsible for regularly updating the City's General Plan Housing Element. The purpose of the Housing Element is to make adequate provisions for the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community and to determine how the City will meet its fair share of regional housing needs. The most recent Update adopted by the City Council in 2015 incorporates housing development that has occurred since adoption of the previous 2010 Housing Element, as well as provisions from recent development projects. The California Department of Housing and Community Development has found the City's current Housing Element is in full compliance with State housing element law (GC, Article 10.6).
Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to Transit Plan - The City of Concord's Planning Division is currently undertaking a city-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian plan. The plan will be used as a blueprint to develop a network that promotes safe alternative modes of transportation and helps position the City for future funding for bicycle projects and roadway improvements benefiting the entire community. The project began in 2014 and is anticipated for completion sometime in mid-2016.
Downtown Specific Plan - The Downtown Specific Plan, adopted on June 24, 2014, establishes a land use plan, infrastructure plan, development regulations and design guidelines which govern development in Concord's downtown area. The relevant goals for the Downtown Plan envision it as a bustling, transit-oriented, urban space serving as both a magnet of activity for the City, as well as a more regional commuter hub for central Contra Costa County.
Salvio, Grant, and Oak Street Corridor Plan - The Planning Division is currently working on a Corridor Plan for the Salvio, Grant, and Oak Streets in Concord's Downtown area. These three street segments are among the City's most heavily used pedestrian thoroughfares and serve as a vital connection between Concord's Downtown Bart Station, Todos Santos Plaza, the Park and Shop retail center, and nearby multi-family residential areas in the Monument neighborhood. The plan includes design-level work and will position the City for future grants to fund further improvements to the existing streetscape.
Concord Naval Weapons Station Community Reuse Project - The reuse of the 5,028 acre Inland Area of the Concord Naval Weapons Station represents a significant opportunity for Concord and for the region. Through an open and transparent planning process with the local and regional community, the City created the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan which will result in a world class transit oriented project. The Local Reuse Authority (LRA) is responsible for overseeing the transfer of the Naval Weapons Station property to the City of Concord.
Ayers Ranch Annexation - The Ayers Ranch area is an "island" of unincorporated Contra Costa County completely surrounded by the City of Concord. Over the years, the City has received a number of requests from property owners to annex portions of the area to the City. The requests have been primarily driven by a desire for City sewer service which by state law cannot be extended outside the City's jurisdiction except in cases of imminent health and safety issues. The City has also received input from property owners opposed to annexing into the City.