City of El Centro

Community Development Department

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine the zoning of a property and whether the property is within the City limits?

Review the City’s Zoning Map on our website or call the Community Development Department’s at 760-337-4545 for assistance.

Can I build a second dwelling unit on my lot?

Pursuant to Government Code 65852.2, in order to provide more afforable housing choices, second dwellings are permitted. Second dwellings must comply with setback requirements and all structures may not exced 50% of the total lot coverage. To ensure that all development standards are met a Administrative Review must be submitted before issuance of a building permit.

What type of businessess can I open at my home?

The City permits certain types of home occupations which are listed under Section 29-162(3) ome Occupations section of the Zoning Ordinance. Reguations for home occupations are set forth to protect neighborhood charecter and prevent the “commercialization” of residential areas. Therefore, businesses that involve the exchange of goods and products, additional employees outside of family members or relegate the residential use of a home as secondary are prohibited. Home occupations shall comply with other City building and safety, fire regulations, and business licensing requirements.

How high can I build my front yard fence?

Fencing is allowed on front yards, but because they or other barriers can restrict visibility of street traffic from intersections, driveways or alleys the height is restricted to 3 feet for solid fences or 4 feet for open fences. Review Section 29-144 of the Property Development Standards for more detail and contact the Building Department for information on the need for a building permit.

When do I need to arrange a pre-application meeting?

A pre-application meeting should be requested to gain a better understanding of city development standards and land use regulations. Developers of planned unit developments are required to meet with the Planning and Zoning Department.

Do I have to landscape my property?

Yes, front yards, exterior side yards, and large parking lots on all properties require proper landscaping. Please review Section 29-142 Required Landscaping of the Property Development Standards for specific requirements.

How do I prepare a site plan?

Site plans are accurate and to scale graphical representations of a propsed structure with dimensions. At minimum the site plan indicates building setbacks, building footprint, property line, and north arrow and city right-of-ways with distances indentified. A sample site plan is provided by the Building and Safety Division.

What can I build on my property?

Review Article II Zones of the City Zoning Ordinance to see development standards, permitted uses, and what permits or approvals are needed.

When do I need a Conditional Use Permit?

Conditional Use Permits are to alleviate the potential impacts brought by certain land uses on neighboring properties. Please review Division 6 Conditional Use Permits of Article II Procedues of the Zoning Ordinance for more information.

How much parking do I need?

Parking requirements are based on type and intensity of land use. Please review Section 29-128 Required Parking Spaces of the Property Development Standards for requirements.
What projects is the Planning and Zoning Division currently processing for entitlement?
For a list of current projects and applicant information check the Planning & Zoning Monthly Project Report.

Can I open a daycare at my home?

Day care facilities located in homes are permitted in all residential areas as long as they do not exceed the care of more than 14 children. Large family dar care homes that care for 8 to 14 children require a site plan review and need to abide to additional requirements such as additional parking, notification of neighboring residents, and must be located at least 600 feet away from another dar care facility. Please review Section 29-161 (5) of the Property Development Standards. All day care homes need to follow additional state regulations.

What is the Planning Commission?

The Planning Commission meets to review and take action on certain planning applications and also makes recommendation to the City Council on matter pertaining to the City’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Commission consists of seven members serving a four year term, which are appointed by the Mayor in November.

What are the requirements to build a carport?

Homeowners who desire to build a carport within the front or side yard setbacks will need to apply for an administrative review with the Planning & Zoning Department. In addition, the carport must be built within the required setbacks of 10 feet for front yards, 3 feet for side yards, and must not exceed 50% of the required area for the yard. Review Section 29-114 Exceptions to Setback Regulations of the Zoning Ordinance.

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