Community Development

Planning Permit Information

The City of Long Beach provides an array of permitting services for residents and business owners. This page provides an overview of several of the permits administered by the Planning Team.

To start, talk with Planning staff about your project to find out what planning and environmental permits may be required. Call 562.570.6194 or visit the Development Permit Center located at City Hall, 411 W. Ocean Blvd., 2nd floor. Next, complete the Planning Permit Application (note this application is for discretionary permits and is not the building permit or sign application) and review any applicable fee Long Beach Municipal Code.

A Conditional Use Permit allows the recipient to engage in specified activities or conduct a business under special conditions designed to protect the neighborhood and the community.

Each zone in the City has permitted and prohibited uses. A conditional use is a use that is permitted if the Planning Commission makes certain findings, including a finding that the use will not have an adverse effect on the community. Each CUP application must be reviewed individually to determine if the proposed use can operate at a given location without harming its neighbors or the surrounding community.

In residential zones, daycare centers, parking lots, and churches are examples of conditional uses. In commercial zones, auto repair uses and any business which requires a liquor license requires a CUP.

A project planner is assigned to each request for a condominium conversion. The project planner is responsible for coordinating requirements of the various City departments to simplify and expedite each request.

The Long Beach Municipal Code, Title 20, permits for the conversion of an apartment building into condominiums to allow for the individual ownership of residential units. This process provides for the increased home ownership opportunities and thus can contribute to greater stability in residential neighborhood.

The following brief overview of the condominium conversion process is designed to provide general guidance to property owners interested in the process:

  • Have a tentative map prepared by a California Registered Civil Engineer or a California Licensed Surveyor.
  • Request a special inspection by the Building & Safety Bureau.
  • Submit a complete application, including proof of tenant notification, building inspection reports, unit plans, photographs, radius map and mailing labels to the Planning Bureau.
  • Provide on-site parking for future owners.
  • Provide necessary street or alley dedications and/or improvements, if applicable. 
  • Receive Planning Commission approval at a public hearing. 
  • Notify tenants before, during, and after Planning Commission approval. 
  • Obtain a building permit and make necessary improvements to the building(s) to comply with higher standards of construction for owner-occupied units in such areas as sound attenuation, mechanical and plumbing systems, roof and termites.
  • Submit Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) to the Planning Bureau (property owners interested in converting an apartment building to condominiums are encouraged to hire a lawyer or consultant familiar with the creation CC&Rs for compliance with State requirements for common ownership projects.)
  • Provide relocation assistance to lower-income tenant households displaced as a result of the condo conversion process and/or comply with provisions for maintenance of lower-income households in the coastal zone.
  • Record the final map.

The City's process is intended to balance the concerns of tenants and property owners by requiring notification to current tenants of the public hearing and establishing tenant's rights. Building improvements required during this process ensure that a converted apartment building will provide a stable investment for new homeowners by providing a high-quality living environment. 

The site plan review process is established to ensure that the highest quality of land planning and design are incorporated into development projects, to guide the design of new project which is compatible with existing neighborhoods in terms of scale, style and construction materials, and to enhance and protect the environment.

The following projects require Site Plan Review:

  • Residential
    • Five or more units as one project.
  • Commercial
    • New construction or addition of one thousand square feet or more of floor area, attached/roof mounted cellular and personal communication services, exterior remodeling of spaces with 50 or more feet of street frontage in neighborhood commercial zones, construction of new news or flower stands, and outdoor commercial storage.
  • Industrial or Public Assembly Use
    • New construction or addition with five thousand square feet or more of floor area of new construction.
  • Projects on City Land
    • All projects 500 square feet in size or greater.
  • Projects located in Planned Development Areas
    • Most new construction or building additions.

Each building in the City must comply with certain height limits, setback requirements, parking ratios, and other development standards established in the zoning ordinance. On some properties, it is difficult, if not impossible, to comply with these standards. In such cases, equity demands that a variance from these standards be allowed.

A standards variance is normally requested for lots with unique physical conditions-unusual shape, difficult topography, poorly places existing structures, or unbuildable areas due to wetlands, public easements, etc. A variance cannot be granted to permit a use that is not legally permitted in the zoning district (e.g., a store in a residential zone.)