Interim Demolition Review Process for Buildings Over 40 Years

On November 13, 2018, City Council adopted an interim urgency ordinance revising the demolition review process for buildings over 40 years of age.  This revised process will apply to demolition permit applications submitted after November 13, 2018.  Click here for key changes and 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

R1 Interim Zoning Ordinance

On February 13, 2018, the Santa Monica City Council adopted an interim ordinance that temporarily reduces the size of new construction in R1 single-unit residential zoning districts pending the completion of a comprehensive review of R1 zoning standards.  The interim ordinance comes on the heels of Council’s January 9, 2018 direction to prioritize a comprehensive review of R1 development standards.  Although the ordinance does not take effect until March 16, 2018, the changes are retroactive and will apply to any project in the R1 zone submitted after February 23, 2018.  You can look up the zoning for your home on the interactive zoning map to determine whether this ordinance applies to you. 


The following is a summary of changes:

Building Height: Max 28 feet

Parcel Coverage: Max 50% total on a sliding scale, Max 20% on second story

Second Floor Decks and Balconies: Max aggregate of 400 square feet 

Accessory Dwelling Units: Excluded from parcel coverage calculations 


The interim ordinance may be extended for a period up to five years pending adoption of permanent revised standards. The comprehensive review process is anticipated to begin in the first part of 2019 and will involve a significant public engagement process to identify the appropriate scale of new construction and additions in R1 neighborhoods.  


Click here to sign up for R1 Zoning Ordinance updates


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

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.  

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