Last week, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved the first major update to the County’s Development Code in 30 years. This vote was the final step in a multi-year process to update the Zoning Code and Design Guidelines, which make up the Development Code.

“We appreciate all of the feedback we received from our constituents during this process, including from multiple public meetings that occurred out in the community,” said Supervisor Phil Serna, Chairman of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. “The public’s input, along with County staff’s hard work and dedication, has resulted in a Development Code that will improve the quality of life in Sacramento County.”

The updated Development Code will streamline development. It simplifies land use entitlements and lowers the hearing authority for specific types of projects. For example, an indoor recreation facility for 200 people will now be a permitted use. Previously, these facilities had to apply for a $15,000 conditional use permit. The County has also added flexibility to development in industrial zones to encourage mixed-use development. Restaurants are now permitted by right in industrial business parks. The lowered hearing authority for these projects means that businesses will save 25 to 30 percent on their permit costs and processing times with the County.

For residential neighborhoods, the updated Design Guidelines emphasize Active Design to encourage walking and biking, and improve access to public transit. The Zoning Code adds new standards to increase the quality of residential neighborhoods and to protect residents from nuisances.

“The new development code balances the dual goals of improving the livability of our residential neighborhoods and increasing economic development in Sacramento County,” said County Executive Brad Hudson. “We are proud of the work we’ve done to reach this milestone.”

The Department of Community Development set three main goals for the update.

  1. Provide business and user friendly practices that promote economic development and streamline the entitlement process, offering flexibility while ensuring appropriate community review.
  2. Create Design Guidelines and Development Standards that achieve higher standards for the quality of both residential and commercial buildings.
  3. Promote low-impact development, active design, walkable communities, energy efficiency and water conservation.

During the past three years, the Department has presented the Development Code update to a variety of stakeholders, community groups, Community Planning Advisory Councils, business organizations and others at more than 80 public meetings. Based on feedback from the public and the direction of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, the Department of Community Development has made many updates to the Public Review Draft between February 2014 and July 2015. The final draft of the Zoning Code was posted on the County’s website and distributed to the public on June 11, 41 days in advance of the final hearing.

For more information and related documents, visit the Sacramento County Zoning Code Update web page.