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Permit Requirements

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 Getting Started

How to Get a Permit

Permit Cost

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How Do You Get a Permit?


Before you start building, making improvements, or sign a lease, research your property first. The City's Zoning tells you the rules which land may be used. For example, what uses (businesses, housing, etc.) can be located on a property and the standards for building on the land (minimum lot size, maximum building height, and minimum front/side yards, parking etc. ). You are encouraged to contact our staff to verify if a permit is required or not before starting any construction activities or opening your business.  


Persons with Disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation to rules, policies, practices and procedures for the siting, development and use of housing, including housing related services or facilities.

What Permits Do You Need?

You may need one or more permits to open a business or for any construction activities.  

Change of the business use

If your new business is different than the former business that was in the space — for example, you want to open a retail store in a space that was previously an office, you will need to verify the new use with our Planning Division.  In some cases, a Conditional Use Permit might be needed to locate on the property.  To open a new business in Chula Vista, you will need to have a Chula Vista business license to operate.


Building permits are required when a project involves a new or changed use of the property or you are doing work that physically changes or adds structures to a property— even if you can’t see the alteration from the outside.  Chula Vista Municipal Code Chapter Chapter 15.06.080 ensures that minimum construction standards are in compliance to safeguard life and property. 

Work Exempt from building permits (see Form 4551).

Before a Building Permit Can Be Issued all other permits and approvals must be in place and before the project is ready to begin construction.

  • All new, altered or expanded structures must first be reviewed by the Planning Division to ensure the structure meets the requirements of the zone. Please check a property's zoning or talk with our Planning Division to ensure your proposed construction activities meet all development standards, such as setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures, allowable height, and lot coverage.
  • Projects requiring "discretionary" approvals (Design Review, Conditional Use Permit, etc. ) must be approved before applying for a building permit.  For some projects, builders and homeowners cannot just do “by right” and approval is required by the Zoning Administrator, the Planning Commission or the City Council, such as lot splits, major subdivisions and conditionally-permitted uses.
  • Most residential and commercial development (new, altered or expanded structures) in all R3, commercial and industrial zones requires design review and approval (approval of site plan, elevations, colors, landscaping, etc. ).
  • Projects that require grading will need a grading permit, grading complete and the building pad certified prior to the issuance of the building permit.
  • Construction within city rights-of-way, including infrastructure improvements, may also require review and an Engineering Permit.

Visit our Apply for a Permit page to determine the permit type required and guidance about the process for getting your permit.
Even if a permit is not required, your project must still meet all code requirements, zoning regulations and development standards. 


Other City/Agency Permits and Approvals

For some projects, you will need to coordinate with other DSD Divisions, City Departments and other agencies to obtain additional permits and approvals. Some agencies you may need to work with are:

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