Planning Permits

The Planning Division is responsible for long- and short-range City planning and implementation, including annexations. Staff reviews private and public development and design projects to ensure they meet Arcata regulations (the Land Use Code). Staff is also involved with historic properties in Arcata, environmental review, code violations, grant applications related to land use, and many other issues related to land use.

Planning permits are required for many activities in the City of Arcata, from tree removal and replacing windows to building a new commercial building or developing a subdivision. Planning permit fees vary depending on the type of project.

The permit process can be simple, complex, and anywhere between.  It can involve just the Planning Division, or require information or approvals from other City departments or outside agencies.  To make the process as easy as possible, we provide information about the various types of applications, and checklists for the type of information that needs to be part of a complete application.  We always recommend speaking with a Planner, as they can provide valuable advice about what is specifically needed for a project.

Permit fees are cumulative, meaning that if the overall project requires more than one type of permit, all applicable permit fees are charged. A nonrefundable deposit (based on time studies of the cost) is taken with the permit application, and actual costs are charged against the deposit. The deposit must be paid before an application can be processed, and any accrued fees in excess of the deposit must be paid before the project can be signed off as complete.

There are five general categories of permits:

Find the type of permit you need by clicking on any of the links provided.  We always recommend speaking to a Planner if you have any questions.

Contact Us

  1. Planning Division
    Contact the Division

    Arcata City Hall
    736 F Street

    Arcata, CA 95521

    Phone: 707-822-5955
    Fax: 707-825-2029

    (Excluding Holidays)
    Monday - Friday
    9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    Staff Directory
Administrative and Legislative Permits
Design and Historic Property Permits
Development Permits
Miscellaneous Permits
Requests and Actions after a Permit is Approved
Application and Pre-Applications
GETTING FEEDBACK BEFORE SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION.  There are two good options to determine if your application will have a good chance of success:

  • Pre-Application Request.  This is an informal meeting where applicants can meet with people from relevant divisions within the City to discuss the feasibility of the project concept, and provide information about what they would want to included in the full application.  There is no cost for this meeting.  Meetings are held on Monday afternoon, and do require the request and certain basic information.
  • Preliminary Review.  This application is generally made for larger before all technical studies have been returned, and is designed to give an applicant a predetermination of whether the application may meet all code requirements.  There is a fee for this application, and the project is generally presented to the Zoning Administrator, Historic and Design Review, Planning Commission, or City Council.