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Zoning & Development Review
Zoning and Development - FAQs

Q. What is the zoning designation of my property and what does it mean?

A. Your zoning designation can be found using the GIS Mapping Application. You will need to have your parcel number which you can find here. Once you have determined your zoning, you may refer to the Zone District Summary brochure or the County Code by entering your zoning into the search utility. For example, the search RA Use will result in section 13.10.322 Residential Uses which will display the uses for Residential Agriculture zoned property.

Q. What is the status of my Discretionary Permit Application?

A. Using your parcel number (which can be found here), you can access the status of your application via the Application Status and Permit History lookup located at the bottom of the Planning Homepage.

Comments from reviewing agencies are not available for discretionary applications because they are advisory to a decision on the project which will be made later. For specific questions contact the project planner assigned to your project.

Q. What are the setbacks, height limits, zoning characteristics, planning requirements, lot coverage, floor area ratio, etc. of my property?

A. These questions can be answered by our Zoning Counter staff and in particular, the County Code, Chapter 13 at:
If you cannot find the information you want there, please email the Zoning email box at

Q. How do I get a business license?

A. The County of Santa Cruz does not issue business licenses, but some businesses will need a business license to operate in other jurisdictions which do require business licenses. If you live with the County of Santa Cruz and will be operating out of your home please review our brochure on Home Occupations. If the business will be based or operating within city limits, please contact the respective city planning department. Be sure to check with the tax and license division in each city you intend to operate.

  • City of Capitola Planning: 475-7300 | City of Capitola business license office: 475-7300 
  • City of Scotts Valley Planning: 440-5630 | City of Scotts Valley business license office: 440-5610 
  • City of Watsonville Planning : 728-3050 | City of Watsonville business license office: 728-6031 
  • City of Santa Cruz Planning: 420-5100 | City of Santa Cruz business license office: 420-5070 

Q. Is my lot buildable?

A. Please refer to our brochure concerning parcel buildability: although it is recommended that you speak directly with staff at our Zoning Counter or email our Zoning email at

Q. Where can I find the Santa Cruz County Code?

A. You will find the County Code here:

Q. How do I get a septic or well permit?

A. Please contact the Environmental Health Department. Their phone number is 831.454.2022, and their web site can be found at:

Q. What is the general application process?

A. Please visit our Discretionary Permit webpage for an overview of Discretionary Permits. For an overview of the Building Permit process, please refer to our "How to get a Building Permit" flowchart.

Q. How much will it cost to submit my Discretionary Permit Application?

 A. Please refer to the attached Discretionary Application Fee Estimates -2021 Guidance Document for a list of the Fee Estimates for the most common application types.