Zoning is a State mandated requirement. All property within the unincorporated areas of the County is classified into 1 of 18 zoning districts. To determine the zoning district of your property, contact the Planning & Development Services Department, to expedite a response you must have your Assessor’s Parcel Number which can be found on your tax statment or by visiting the Imperial County Assessor’s Office. For more information on zoning, see the Imperial County Land Use Ordinance, Division 5: Zoning Areas Established.
Setbacks, building heights, minimum lot size, and other development standards depend on zoning. To determine these and other requirements, see the Imperial County Land Use Ordinance, Division 3: Site & Design Standards, and Division 5: Zoning Areas Established.
A second dwelling generally requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). A CUP is a discretionary permit that requires a decision-making body to approve a use subject to conditions approved in a public hearing. Zoning, parcel size, density, availability of services, and other factors must be taken into account before applying for a CUP. For more information about applying for a CUP, see Imperial County Land Use Ordinance, Division 2: General Provisions and Division 5: Zoning Areas Established.
To determine whether a property may be subdivided, it must be able to meet all of the “Design Standards” for subdivisions as well as meet the minimum parcel size of the Land Use Zone the parcel is located in. For more information, see the Imperial County Land Use Ordinance, Division 8, Subdivision Requirements.
The General Plan is an informational document, consisting of 10 elements, to guide the growth of the County through the establishment of goals, objectives, and policies. For more information on the Imperial County General Plan, see General Plan.
Specific Plan Areas are "planning tools" used to implement the General Plan for large development projects such as a planned community, or to designate an area of the County where further studies are needed prior to development. For more information on Specific Plans, and for the Specific Plan Areas (SPA) within Imperial County, see the Imperial County General Plan, Land Use Element.
Urban areas are the unincorporated areas of the County that are characterized by a full level of urban services, in particular public water and sewer systems, and contain or propose a broad range of residential, commercial, and industrial uses. It is anticipated that these areas will eventually be annexed or incorporated and should be provided with the full range of public infrastructure normally associated with cities. For more information about Urban Areas, and the Urban Areas within Imperial County, see the Imperial County General Plan, Land Use Element.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was enacted by state legislature in 1970. CEQA applies to state and local government-initiated plans, projects, and regulations, and to private projects requiring discretionary approval from a state or local agency. For more information, see CEQA and the Environmental Evaluation Committee (EEC) and Boards and Commissions.
Discretionary permits are permits that must be approved by a Governmental hearing body at a noticed public hearing. Discretionary permits include Conditional Use Permits, Subdivisions, Variances, Lot Mergers, and Lot Line Adjustments.
A Conditional Use Permit is a discretionary permit issued to a landowner allowing a particular use or activity not allowed as a matter of right within a particular Land Use Zone. Conditional Use Permits must be approved by a Governmental hearing body at a noticed public hearing, are subject to general and site-specific conditions, and run with the land for a specified period of time. For more information, see the Imperial County Land Use Ordinance, Division 5: Zoning Areas Established.
A Variance is a procedure whereby an applicant can request a deviation from the provisions of the minimum property development standards established by the Land Use Ordinance. Variances may only be used when circumstances exist, including size, shape, topography, or location, that the strict application of zoning laws is found to deprive the property of privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity under identical zone classifications. The procedure may not be used to allow a use on a property, which is not normally permitted.
"Lot Merger" is the joining of two (2) or more contiguous parcels of land under one ownership into one (1) parcel.
"Lot Line Adjustment" is a minor alteration to adjust a lot line or lot lines. It is not a subdivision or re-subdivision procedure and is intended to be used only in those situations where the provisions of the Subdivision Map Act and the Imperial County Land Use Ordinance applicable to subdivisions and re-subdivisions do not apply.
A "Zone Change" is a requested action to change the existing zone designation on a parcel, or parcels of land, from one zone designation to another.
Example: changing from residential such as R-1 (low density residential) to a commercial use C-1 (light commercial).
Note: All projects are reviewed for consistency with the Imperial County General Plan and Land Use Ordinance.