Planning Division

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Paul Lam, Principal Planner
Counter Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 12:00 am & 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Planning Division reviews all construction, from small home additions to large commercial and industrial projects, to ensure that the work to be performed conforms with the City's zoning laws. 

The Planning Division maintains the City's land development and land use standards. City staff work with contractors and homeowners to help streamline the permit process using an easy step-by-step guide. On large-scale projects, pre-construction coordination meetings are held with project managers and City staff who play a role in the construction process to help ensure a smooth running project.


  • The Planning Commission, comprised of ten Alhambra residents appointed by the City Council, guides the City's planning process by identifying planning-related problems and opportunities, reviewing proposed project plans that require zoning changes, variances, subdivisions, and planned development permits.
  • Meets the first and third Monday of the month at 7:00 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers. 


  • The Design Review Board, comprised of five Alhambra residents, appointed by the City Council, maintains design control over all single-family residential structures, commercial, industrial and residential planned development permits reviewed by the Planning Commission. In addition, the Design Review Board reviews uniform sign plans for all multi- tenant buildings, all signage for single-tenant buildings, exterior alterations visible from a public street and requiring a building permit to
    commercial, office or industrial buildings and exterior color changes to commercial, office or industrial buildings.
  • The Design Review Board also acts as a consulting and advisory board to the City Council with respect to design control and signage matters and any other matters which may be assigned to it from time to time by the City Council.
  • Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers. 


  • Size of new construction - A new or expanded single-family home is typically considered compatible if the size of the home does not exceed the mean and median size home by more than 75%.  
  • Lot areas and floor area ratios - In addition to total floor area, the Planning Commission reviews lot areas and floor area ratios for the affected properties to give a more complete picture of the neighborhood. Projects that comply with the policy are not guaranteed to be approved, and projects that exceed the 75% threshold above the mean and median house size are not automatically rejected. The policy is one of several tools used by the Planning Commission in reviewing projects, including architectural design, bulk, scale, materials of construction, building height, setbacks, parking and landscaping to determine compatibility with the existing neighborhood.
  • Other Common Planning Considerations include downzoning areas to preserve the single-family character and integrity of neighborhoods; reducing the number of units that can be built on any given parcel to create more open space; and reducing parking problems by researching ways to modify the City's zoning ordinance.


 Permits, Licenses, & Applications

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More Resources

SB35- Affordable Housing Streamlining Act InformationSB35- Affordable Housing Streamlining Act Information

Information on Senate Bill 35 (SB35) regarding streamlined review and approval process for affordable housing


Dropbox is for the purpose of submitting digital plans, mailing spreadsheets, and other related project requirements

Accessory Dwelling UnitAccessory Dwelling Unit

Information regarding Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Tree Preservation OrdinanceTree Preservation Ordinance

Summary of Tree Preservation Ordinance

Development ProjectsDevelopment Projects

For a list of development projects, click here

Community Development Department Complaint HotlineCommunity Development Department Complaint Hotline

File a Building, Planning or Code Enforcement Complaint by phone or on-line.

General Plan UpdateGeneral Plan Update

General Plan Update Process

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