FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When is a Permit Required?
Property owners (or their agents) are required to obtain permits whenever specified in the Citys Municipal or Zoning Codes or other applicable codes. When in doubt, please contact the City to confirm whether or not a permit is required. Some of the more frequent questions regarding permits:
Oak Tree Removal requires a permit if a tree is six (6) inches or greater diameter. Contact the Planning Division at (805) 237-3970 for details and/or see our oak tree regulations page for more information.
Business Signs located anywhere other than in a business window require a Sign Permit.
When do I have to apply for a sign permit?
All signs in the City of Paso Robles must receive approval from the Development Review Committee (exception: signs in windows). Design requirements can be researched in the Municipal Code library "Title 19: Signs", and application information may be found by visiting the Planning Divisions Page on Signs Permits. If you have additional questions, need help filling out the application form or determining exactly what information needs to be submitted, please call the Planning Division at 237-3970.
Grading of property involving more than 50 cubic yards of material requires a Grading Permit.
Stockpiling of materials such as sand, gravel, or other similar items: according to Municipal Code Section 20.12.070, stockpiling of over 50 cubic yards of earth (sand and gravel would qualify) is subject to a Grading Permit.
Encroachment into a public street or other right-of-way requires an Encroachment Permit, available through the Engineering Division at 237-3860.
When do I need to apply for a building permit?
All structures constructed within the City limits over 120 square feet in size and more than 1 story (or approximately 8 feet) in height require a building permit per the Uniform Building Code. For more information on obtaining buildings permits, visit the Building Division Permits page.
Can I build a shed in my back yard or add on to my house?
The Citys zoning code regulates the height, size, location, and use of accessory buildings and main buildings. These requirements vary between different zoning districts. Any structure that requires a building permit must meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. These requirements include setbacks, required building separation and design guidelines. To determine the requirements for a specific property, please call the Planning Division at 237-3970. A simple plot plan or site plan may also be faxed or delivered to the Planning Division with a letter explaining the property location and the proposed project. Our fax number is 237-3904 and our address is 1000 Spring Street, Paso Robles, California 93446.
How big can a detached accessory building be?
A detached accessory building (DAB), such as a detached garage, workshop, etc., in the R-1 residential zoning district can be no more than 50% of the gross floor area of the main building (including any attached garage) unless a conditional use permit is approved. To download the necessary applications & forms to obtain a permit for an accessory building, visit the Building Division Permits page.
Where can I find off-street parking requirements?
The number of required off-street parking spaces is dependent on the type of use being proposed. Specific information regarding parking requirements can be viewed in Chapter 21.22 Off Street Parking and Loading Regulations of the Municipal Code, or you may contact the Planning Division at 237-3970.
Where can I find traffic counts for the
City of Paso Robles?
Traffic counts can be downloaded here, or contact the Engineering Division at 237-3860 for further information.
What does PD mean?
PD means Planned Development. The Zoning Ordinance requires a Planned Development application be processed when a particular property is in a PD overlay zone*, when a project proposes more than 10,000 square feet of building area, when a project proposes five or more units on a multi-family zoned lot or when circumstances warrant a Planning Commission hearing. A general description of the type of planning application needed for various projects can be found in Section 21.23B.030 of the Zoning Ordinance which can be viewed in the online Municipal Code library. Applications and related checklists can be obtained from at the Planning Division, 1000 Spring Street. Additional questions about the development review process should be directed to the Planning Division at 237-3970.
* The PD overlay zone is defined in Chapter 21.16A of the Citys Municipal Code. That chapter says, The purpose and intent of the planned development (PD) district overlay is to provide for innovation and flexibility in the design of residential, commercial, and industrial developments. Approval of a planned development can allow modification of certain development standards when it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission and the City Council that it would result in better design or greater public benefit.
Im interested in information about recently approved commercial and residential
projects in the City of Paso Robles. What type of information do you have?
The City publishes a Residential Activity Report which lists of all residential tracts or multifamily residential development that have been approved or are in the development review process. We also have information on recently approved commercial developments available in the Commercial Activity Report. Please note that these reports are updated yearly. For projects not listed on these reports, contact the Planning Division at 237-3970.
Where can I find water and sewer information for a specific piece of property?
Water and Sewer Atlas Maps can be viewed at City Hall, or contact the Engineering Division at 237-3860 for further information.
How do I find out what can be built or what types of uses would be permitted on
a certain piece of property?
If you are interested in finding out the allowed uses for an area in the City of Paso Robles you should: 1) look up the zoning on the Citys Zoning Maps, and then 2) check the Citys list of permitted uses for all zoning districts on the Zoning Matrix (pdf). To verify zoning information or obtain more specific zoning information, please contact the Planning Division at 237-3970.
How do I find out the zoning on a parcel?
You may look up the zoning yourself by going to the Citys Zoning page and looking up the area on the zoning maps. If you need more information or cannot locate your parcel on the map, you may call the Planning Division staff at 237-3970 for assistance.
What are the height requirements for fencing?
Fences located in a front yard shall not exceed three feet. The height may be increased to four feet for residential and office uses, and 6 feet for commercial uses when approved by the Development Review Committee. Fences located within a side or rear yard may not exceed six feet. This height may be increased to eight feet for residential and office uses if the side or rear yard abuts an industrial or commercial use, or an arterial or collector street as designated by the Circulation Element of the Citys General Plan. Fences on street side yards or atop retaining walls may have additional regulations, in which case the Planning Division should be contacted for further information. Code information for fencing may also be viewed in 21.20.140 Fences and Hedges in the Municipal code library. For any other questions regarding fencing, contact the Planning Division at 237-3970.
How do I determine where my property line is?
The City of Paso Robles has maps of subdivisions done within the City limits, which will show the location of any property corners that were set at the time of the subdivision. Assessor parcel maps provide general information regarding property lines. Assessor Parcel books can be viewed at City Hall at 1000 Spring Street. Property corners are often lost or buried and can be difficult to locate. When an accurate location of a property line is necessary, the City recommends that the property owner hire a professional licensed to perform land survey work.
How do I determine what my setbacks are?
Setbacks are determined by the underlying zoning of a particular parcel. If you know your zoning, you can look up your setbacks on our website by going to Title 21 Zoning and clicking on the appropriate zoning chapter (single-family, multiple-family, etc.). If you do not know your zoning, you can look it up on the Citys Zoning Maps on the website. Prior to any site design or building permit application, setbacks should be confirmed with Planning Division staff at 237-3970.
When is the installation of offsite (curb, gutter, sidewalk) improvements required? Specific information regarding offsite improvement requirements can be viewed in Chapter 11.12 Required-Curb, gutter, sidewalk, driveway aprons, street and alley paving located in the Municipal code library, or you may contact the Engineering Division at 237-3860.
Do I need a permit to build a patio cover or to enclose my patio?
Patio covers are considered structures and do require a building permit. In a single-family zone, if the patio is open on at least two sides the cover may encroach into the required setbacks as specified by Chapter 21.16I.220 of the Zoning Ordinance. An existing patio that is enclosed with any type of screen, shadecloth, lattice, or any other material is considered a part of the building and is subject to the same setback restrictions as the main building. Download the application & information from the Building Division Patio Permits page or contact the Planning Division at 237-3970 for more information.
How do I determine what my setbacks are for a swimming pool?
A swimming pool in a single-family residential zone must be located ten feet from any main building and three feet from any side or rear property line, as measured from the edge of the water. Please note that the pool equipment must be located at least twenty feet from the nearest neighboring residence, and it must be screened by a fence. It is necessary to apply for a building permit prior to installing a swimming pool; for more information and to download the application packet, visit the Building Division Pool Permits page.
Where can I park a motor home on my single-family residential property?
A motor home or boat or other recreational vehicle must be parked on private property, and both parking and access must be paved. If your driveway is deep enough for the vehicle to fit without hanging over into the sidewalk, you may park it in the driveway. If you have adequate access on either side of your lot, you may pave a parking space on the side or rear of the residence and driveway access to it, with certain limitations as to the amount of front yard that may be paved. Contact Planning Division staff at 237-3970 or check the ordinance Section 21.16E.320 for more information.
How can I find out about a pending project I have heard about?
You can contact Planning Division staff at 237-3970.
May a nonconforming use be re-established in the event of fire or other natural
If a nonconforming use is damaged to an extent of more than fifty percent of the fair market value, it shall not be reestablished. The only exception to this regulation is in the event that the nonconforming use is a residential dwelling in a commercial or industrial district. If this is the case, the property owner may apply for a conditional use permit to reestablish the dwelling unit. Additional information can be found in Section 21.20.340 of the Zoning Ordinance.
When do I need a business license/home occupation permit?
A business license, issued by the City of Paso Robles is needed for all individuals/companies doing business within the City limits, regardless of where the individual/company office is located. You may download an application for a business license from the Administrative Services/Business License Page. A Home Occupation Permit is needed when an individual uses his/her home as an office.