Approx. Time: 6-8 Months*                                                                                           Approx. Fee: Waived

County ordinance allows for the provision of farm labor housing (FLH) units for farms when there is a demonstrable need for such housing. Farm labor housing can only be occupied by farm laborers and their immediate family members. What may be used as farm labor housing? Mobile homes, other approved temporary buildings, and certain permanent structures. A PAD permit is required in the PAD District, and an RMD permit and a use permit are required in the Resource Management (RM) District or RM-CZ District. In the Coastal Zone, a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) is required.

Information provided on this page outlines the Planning permit process for farm labor housing and does not include information regarding the building permit process. For more detailed information on the full application process for a Farm Labor Housing Unit, refer to the Farm Labor Housing Guidebook.

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Steps in the Planning Permit Process

If a planning or zoning permit is required, it generally needs to be processed prior to the application of a building or construction permit. The Planning Section of the Planning and Building Department processes these permits. When multiple permits are required (e.g., Coastal Development Permit and Design Review Permit), the longer permit processing time and higher level decision-making body would apply to the concurrent processing of associated permits. In reviewing and processing your permit application, the assigned planner will generally complete the following steps:

1. Initial Application Review

The planner reviews your project to determine whether your application is complete. During this stage, the planner:

  1. Determines whether your project conforms with the County's General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and other regulations.
  2. Solicits comments and recommendations from review agencies (relative to their regulations) and applicable homeowners associations or community groups.
  3. Discusses your project with a development review committee of senior staff members.

The County has 30 days after receiving your application to notify you if you must provide any additional materials or information before your application can be processed.

2. Advisory Body Review

A permit recommendation is made by the Agricultural Advisory Committee at their regularly scheduled meeting.

3. Environmental Review

This review ensures that your project complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and evaluates its potential impact on the environment; additional reports/information may be required to complete this review. If the project does not qualify for an exemption, an Initial Study/Negative Declaration must be prepared, additional fees are required, and an additional 2-3 months should be added to estimated permit processing times. For projects with complex or unmitigated environmental impacts, an Environmental Impact Report may be required, additional fees are required, and an additional 6 -12 months should be added to estimated permit processing times.

4. Public Notification

A public notice is mailed to owners of property within a 300-ft. radius of the subject property.

5. Permit Decision

A permit decision is made at a public hearing by the County Zoning Hearing Officer or Planning Commission. A public hearing allows the public to provide information, comments, and suggestions on your project before the County makes a decision.

6. Appeal Period

Once a decision is made, both you and the public can appeal most permit decisions to a higher authority within 10 business days of the decision date. Zoning Hearing Officer decisions generally can be appealed to the Planning Commission. Planning Commission decisions can be appealed to the County Board of Supervisors. A decision by the Board of Supervisors is not appealable. However, if the project requires a Coastal Development Permit (CDP), the CDP is appealable to the California Coastal Commission.


Approximated Time provides an estimated duration for processing of the specified permit only and does not include processing of any appeals. It is not intended to represent an exact timeframe for a specific project, which may be more or less than the time provided. Required permits and processing times vary depending on project complexity and location. For projects requiring multiple permits (e.g., Design Review Permit and Coastal Development Permit), please use the highest of the estimated times for each required permit. These times do not include processing times for non-Planning permits which may be required for the project, such as permits from the Building Inspection Section, Department of Public Works, Environmental Health Division, sewer or water districts, or state or federal agency. To obtain an estimated processing timeframe for a specific project, please call or visit the Current Planning Section and speak with a Planner to identify the required permits and reviews for your project.