Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

What is a Zoning Certificate? 

A Zoning Certificate is a confirmation that a particular land use or structure is allowed under the Zoning Code. A Zoning Certificate is generally issued by the Land Use Planning (Zoning) staff through the Online Service Center or at the Permit Service Center.

Do I need a Zoning Certificate?

Zoning Certificates are typically required if you are starting a new use or changing an existing use, building a structure or starting a business. For example, you might need a Zoning Certificate when: 

  • Applying for a business license or building permit. 
  • Adding some types of accessory buildings, such as a garage or shed. 
  • Constructing a small, single-story residential addition. 
  • Proposing a minor, interior remodel. 
  • Starting a new business. 

More complex projects or projects which do not meet existing zoning standards may require an Administrative Use Permit or Use Permit. 

How does staff decide whether to approve a Zoning Certificate? 

To approve a Zoning Certificate, staff must find that the project is permitted in the Zoning Ordinance.

How do I apply for a Zoning Certificate? 

Applications may be filed online or in person at the Permit Service Center.  Building permit and business license applications will be sent to staff for initial review to determine whether a Zoning Certificate can be issued, or whether additional zoning review is required.

How long does it take? 

Depending on the project, Zoning Certificate approval may take a few short minutes or several business days.

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Department of Planning & Development, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: planning@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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