Allowable Uses

Find out what uses are allowed on a given property

Accessory Dwelling Unit

The following information will be helpful when trying to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit for your home or multi-family building.

Accessory Structures

Structures that are accessory to dwellings

Agricultural Exempt Building Application

Regulations contained in Title 19 of the San Luis Obispo County Code exempt certain agricultural accessory buildings from the necessity of having a building permit. In order to qualify for the exemption, a proposed agricultural accessory building must meet the definition of such buildings contained in Section 202 of the 2016 California Building Code, as well as the specific criteria in Section 19.02.020(f)1.19:a-q of the County’s Building and Construction Ordinance. Approval of an exempt agricultural building only entitles the use itself; separate permits may also be required for any construction or grading activities.  Please following the steps to apply for an agricultural exempt building.

Animal Keeping

The raising or keeping of animals as either an incidental or principal use shall comply with the requirements of the Inland Ordinance or Coastal Zone Land Use Ordinance below.

Cannabis Permitting Guide

The County of San Luis Obispo, through adoption of various ordinances, has determined that certain commercial cannabis activities may have an impact on the area in which they are located. These types of uses require the approval of a land use permit, which sets conditions for the use's establishment and operation. Approval of a land use permit only entitles the use itself; separate permits or licenses may also be required including any proposed construction or grading activities.

It is recommended that applicants contact the following agencies during the application process:

Events and Camping

Events and Camping

Guide to Zoning and Property Information

This page is to guide you through the process of figuring out the Zoning (i.e. Land Use Category) of a parcel and the possible allowable land uses and permit requirements.

A parcel has an Assessor Parcel Number (APN), and this is how the County identifies the location of a property.  A property can have multiple parcels, and therefore, multiple parcel numbers.

The steps provide an overview on how to discover the Zoning of a parcel and possible allowable land uses and land use permit requirements.

SB-9 (ATKINS, 2021-2022)

On September 16, 2021, the Governor approved Senate Bill No. 9 (SB-9). The goal of this bill is to help combat the housing crisis by encouraging small-scale residential development on eligible lots (see “Eligible Lot Determination” below) through streamlining the process for construction of up to two primary dwellings and/or subdivision of an existing lot.

Camping

This service describes the different types of camping requiring a permit and the site requirements for each, the County's enforcement approach to unpermitted camping on private property, and frequently asked questions.

Events

One popular venture is to rent your scenic barns or fields out for rustic wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, doing so requires the property to meet certain standards, and obtain the correct permit. This service describes how event venues are reviewed.

Fencing and Screening

Standards for fencing and screening are established to protect certain uses from intrusion, to protect the public from uses that may be hazardous, and to increase compatibility between different land uses by visual screening. Fencing is the enclosure of an area by the materials identified in the following ordinances. Screening is the enclosure of an area by a visual barrier, which may include open or solid fencing, as specified in the following ordinances chapters.

Inland Accessory Dwelling Unit

This guide serves to help you determine whether an accessory dwelling unit (“ADU”) can be established on a parcel or lot (“site”) under the County ADU Ordinance (Inland Areas).

Garage That is Detached

A detached accessory garage shall not occupy more than 1,000 square feet in area per dwelling unit, unless authorized by a Minor Use Permit, and is subject to the following ordinances:

Movable Tiny Houses

Movable tiny houses are not allowed to be used outside of approved campgrounds or recreational vehicle parks in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County, as they do not comply with building codes. However, tiny houses built on permanent foundation are allowed, and are subject to obtaining County building permits.

Guesthouse

A guesthouse (sleeping/home office facilities without indoor connection to the living area of a principal residence) may be established as a use accessory to a residence as follows.

Shed

A one story detached residential accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11m ) shall not require a permit, except for the following.

Swimming Pool and Spa

Swimming pools, including hot tubs, spas, and related equipment.

Workshop that is Detached

Any accessory structure intended solely or primarily for engaging in artwork, crafts, light hand manufacturing, mechanical work, etc. is subject to the following ordinances: