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The Department of Planning and Building Permit Center is open by appointment only for limited building permit intake, correction returns/pick-up and to schedule virtual meetings. To submit electronic Building Permit or Land Use Permit Applications please visit  our website.

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Interactive Maps (Land Use View)

Our interactive Land Use View mapping application can be used to look up property information by assessor parcel number (APN), plan or permit number, or address.

Launch Land Use View Application


Online Services (CSS)

The County of San Luis Obispo provides online services through our Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Permit Portal to submit building permit and planning applications, request a building inspection, research permits and property information, and to pay fees.

Launch CSS

Business License Review & Vacation Rentals

Who can use this service?

This service is available to anyone applying for a County business license that:

  • Proposes a new business;
  • Involves a change of use in an existing structure; or
  • Renews an existing business that utilizes leased off-site parking.

What is the process?

Step 1: Verify if Proposed Business is Allowed at a Location

Before applying for a business license with the County Tax Collector, please verify that the proposed business can be on a property for the following types of businesses:

  • Short-term Lodging Rentals
    • Examples: Vacation Rental, Homestay, Bed & Breakfast, Camping and Hotel
  • Commercial Retail, Service, or Industrial Businesses
    • Examples: General Retail, Restaurant, Tasting Room, Events, Auto Repair, Animal Facility, Warehousing, and Manufacturing

 

 

Verify if Proposed Business is Allowed at a Given Location
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Step 2: Initiate Application With County Tax Collector

The applicant initiates a business license application with the County Tax Collector.

Step 3: Apply for Zoning Clearance with Planning Staff

The applicant then applys for a zoning clearance with the Planning & Building Department.

  1. Register on Citizen Self-Service Permit Portal (CSS)
  2. Then click on Apply on the top tool bar and Planning Applications
  3. Scroll down the list of Planning Applications options, and click Apply for the correct zoning clearance depending on the type of business license:

Home Occupation Zoning Clearanceis to operate a business from your dwelling, with such employment activity being subordiante to the residential use of the property, and no persons employed other than residents of the dwelling.

  • Examples are: Home Office, Personal Service, Handcraft, Home Distributer, and Office for Off-Site Business.

 

Business License Zoning Clearance: is to operate a business other than a Vacation Rental or Home Occupation.

  • This includes: Homestay, Bed & Breakfast, Camping, Hotel, General Retail, Restaurant, Tasting Room, Events, Auto Repair, Animal Facility, Warehousing, and Manufacturing.

 

Vacation Rental Zoning Clearance: is for a single tenancy short-term lodging rental of an entire residence for periods of 29 consecutive days or less.

 

  • Inland Vacation Rental are typically allowed with a zoning clearance in a single-family dwelling.  In the Adelaida/Willow Creek area, they may be approved with a zoning clearance if the required minimum distance between an existing and proposed vacation rental is met.  The required minimum distance can be found in the Adelaida/Willow Creek Vacation Rental User Guide.​
    • ​​​After confiming with Planning Staff that the required minimum distance can be met, upload the following documents to CSS Portal for review:

 

  • Coastal Vacation Rental in the urban areas of Cambria, Cayucos and Avila Beach may be approved with a zoning clearance if the required minimum distance between a property with an existing visitor-serving accommodation and the proposed vacation rental can be met.  The required minimum distance for each community can be found in the Coastal Vacation Rental User Guide.​
    • After confiming with Planning Staff that the required minimum distance can be met, upload the following documents to CSS Portal for review:

Step 4: Continue Processing

Once staff approves the zoning clearance, the Tax Collector continues processing the application, which may require the approval of additional departments and/or agencies.

Is there a charge for this service?

Please refer to the Department of Planning & Building Fee Schedule for application fees.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Location, directions and hours of operation

Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information

Old County Courthouse Building

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

976 Osos Street Room 200 San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

Tel: (805) 781-5600

Permits/Inspections: (805) 788-6602

Fax: (805) 781-1242

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my proposed business is allowed at a given location?

Start by reading the allowable, permitted, conditional, and disallowed uses that are identified for each land use category in the County's Land Use Ordinance. For the inland area of the County, start with the Title 22 Inland Allowable Land Uses and Permit Requirements, and the coastal zone of the County, start witih the Title 23 Coastal Allowable Use Table

There may be specific community planning area standards that also apply to new land uses. Compliance with these planning area standards are required in addition to the standards of the allowable use.  Where the planning area standards conflict with the allowable use tables, the planning area standards will control.

If the proposed uses requires a Site Plan Review, Minor Use Permit, or Conditional Use Permit, that process must be completed before the business license may be approved.

Department of Planning & Building staff are available to assist with determining the level of review required for a proposed use at a given location.  Please complete the Verify the Proposed Business on a Property form above.

How long does it take to conduct a business license review?

Business license reviews can typically be completed over the counter.

Interactive Maps (Land Use View)

Our interactive Land Use View mapping application can be used to look up property information by assessor parcel number (APN), plan or permit number, or address.

Launch Land Use View Application


Online Services (CSS)

The County of San Luis Obispo provides online services through our Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Permit Portal to submit building permit and planning applications, request a building inspection, research permits and property information, and to pay fees.

Launch CSS