City Hall, including the Permit Services Center, is currently closed to the public until September 30, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. City Hall services continue to be provided via e-mail, online submittals, and telephone. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Please use the following links to obtain contact information for where to best direct your questions and submittals related to the various divisions within the Community Development Department.  As a courtesy to our customers and City staff, please keep your correspondence focused to only the group or person that your inquiry applies to.  Doing so helps facilitate more efficient response times and allows us to serve a greater number of customers by avoiding redundant efforts by City staff. 

New Leasing Requirements for Rental Units

On September 8, 2020 City Council enacted new leasing requirements that apply to all rental units in Santa Monica.  The ordinance is available here.  The new rules go into effect on October 9, 2020 and require that all rental units adhere to the following rules:


  • Units must be rented only to natural persons
  • Units must be rented only to tenants intending the unit to be their primary residence
  • Units must be rented for an initial term of not less than 1 year
  • Units must be rented unfurnished


These new regulations are intended to preserve Santa Monica’s rental housing stock for permanent residents in response to concern regarding loss of rental housing stock to corporations and persons who do not wish to make Santa Monica their primary residence.  Council provided additional direction to review public input on the potential pitfalls of the ordinance but to continue to move towards prohibiting corporate rentals in multi-unit housing.  Please submit any comments you have regarding these new regulations to  We anticipate bringing back proposed revisions to the ordinance for Council consideration on October 13 in light of public input received on issues that have been raised. 


As part of the comprehensive Housing Element Update, staff will be making further recommendations for avenues that may allow for limited medium-term housing (rentals of more than 30 days and less than one year), including co-living.  If you would like more information or to sign up for notifications on the Housing Element Update, please start at the project website:

R1 Development Standards Update

On October 22, 2019, the Santa Monica City Council approved changes to the development standards for the R1 zone district and associated sections of the Zoning Ordinance. The intent of the revisions was to address the size of new home construction, incentivize the retention of existing homes, and to make the standards more user-friendly. These new standards will become effective on January 1, 2020, subject to a second reading on November 12, 2019 by the City Council. More information regarding the update process and the adopted revisions can be found at the R1 Update webpage .

2019 Building Code Adoption

As part of the three-year Code update cycle, the Building and Fire Life Safety Commission will convene on August 14, 2019, to consider and recommend to City Council the local adoption of the 2019 California Building Standards Codes to become effective on January 1, 2020. The codes under consideration are the 2019 California Building, Residential, Electrical, Energy, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire, Green Building, Historical, and Existing Building Standards Codes. Local amendments are also included as part of the Commission's consideration with the applicable findings and justifications, as required by State law.

Local amendments are required to be specific to each edition of State Building Codes. Therefore, as part of the adoption process for new building code editions every three years, the City must restate the existing local amendments to be retained and identify any new local amendments proposed, along with the applicable findings and justifications for each proposed amendment.

The local amendments and justifications proposed as part of this Code adoption cycle are available prior to the Commission meeting at the public counter in the Permit Services Center of City Hall (Room 111), or can be viewed electronically here

If you have any questions you can reach Building and Safety at 310.458.8355, or by email at

New Tool to look up Zoning Now Available!

If you need help looking up where you can locate your business in Santa Monica, a new user-friendly tool is now available! Visit and find out your zoning today.

Interim Demolition Review Process for Buildings Over 40 Years

On July 14, 2020, City Council authorized updates to the demolition permit review process for structures over 40 years old consistent with restructuring of the City’s historic preservation program included in Council’s adoption of the FY2020-21 budget. The Landmarks Commission will not be conducting preliminary review of demolition permits, but any person may still file an application to designate a building or structure as a City Landmark or Structure of Merit. Council’s action also restarts the demolition application waiting period as of July 14, 2020.  A full posting of pending demolition review permits is available online here.  Going forward, in order to facilitate public access to demolition permit information, public notification of pending demolition permit applications will occur in the following ways:


  1. Enhancements to the Landmarks Commission website to include the following:
    1. Real time data on demolition applications over 40 years old:
    2. Monthly posting of demolition permit applications on Landmarks Commission website (this posting will occur even if there is not a Landmarks Commission meeting)
    3. E-mail notification of posting of demolition permit application list


You may sign up to receive notification of posting of Landmarks Commission agendas by e-mailing a request to planning@smgov.netClick here for key changes for an explanation of the revised process.

Demolition Application Process Goes Digital

Beginning December 3, 2018, the City’s demolition application review process is moving online to improve services and reduce delays. As of this date, the City will only accept demolition applications electronically submitted through the City’s Electronic Plan Review (EPR) system, where an applicant can track an application’s progress online, and City reviewers will receive timely notifications on projects awaiting their approval. The streamlined process will automate many steps in the process, resulting in quicker turnarounds for review and permit issuance. The updated Demolition Application Packetincludes instructions on the new online process. Please send any questions via email to or by phone at 310.458.8355.

Information and video tutorials on how to use EPR are located on the Electronic Plan Reviewwebpage. If further assistance is required, a Permit Specialist is available by appointment only, to provide one-on-one assistance at the Permit Services Center in City Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Email to check availability and schedule an appointment.

Permitting Temporary Uses and/or Structures

A new informational handout is available for permitting temporary uses and/or structures on private property. The City has experienced an increased volume of these types of activities and the new handout is intended to inform and guide applicants of the City approvals that may be required prior to establishing a temporary use on private property, or commencing any construction activity associated with a temporary use. Examples of temporary uses are commonly referred to as ‘pop-ups’ in the commercial industry; however, the temporary nature of these uses does not preclude or exempt them from compliance with state and local codes such as the Building Code and Zoning Ordinance. The City will continue to assess the permitting process for these types of activities to identify areas where opportunities for improved efficiency may exist. Visit the Applications and Forms page to download the Temporary Uses and Structures handout .

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standards

On June 12, 2018 the Santa Monica City Council adopted modifications to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) standards. These revised standards become effective on July 12, 2018. The following are the key changes:

  • Maximum Size:
    • 650 SF for parcels 6,000 SF and smaller
    • 800 SF for parcels greater than 6,000 SF
  • Second Story Size:
    • No limit; however, the second story cannot exceed the area of the first story
  • ADUs must still be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling unit on the parcel in terms of size (i.e. floor area), location, and appearance.

ADUs continue to be excluded from R1 parcel coverage calculations per the R1 Interim Zoning Ordinance currently in effect. The ADU development standards will be revisited as part of the forthcoming effort to review and update the R1 Single-Unit Residential development standards over the next 12-18 months.

Click here for more information regarding ADUs.

If you have any questions, please contact the City Planning Division at (310) 458-8341 or at

Commercial Cannabis Licensing Update

The City of Santa Monica is currently accepting applications to select two (2) Medicinal Cannabis Retailers.  For more information on how to apply or for information on the permitting process for Medicinal Cannabis Light Manufacturing please visit the Commercial Cannabis Business Licensing page.  Please note the City has a prohibition on adult use non-medicinal commercial cannabis activities.  

Upcoming Events & Meetings

Oct 05

Architectural Review Board: Cancelled