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Zoning Information

If you are in the beginning stages of a home improvement project and you want to find out whether or not your City/County building department will allow you to do “whatever it is you intend to do”, then finding the zoning information for your property is one of the first things you need to do. Of course, you could just install that 6 foot solid fence out at the sidewalk and hope that you’re not getting City letters telling you to take it down shortly after completion, but that’s your choice. For everyone else though who wants to avoid wasting their money, then finding your zoning information will help you answer a lot of questions on how/where to install that fence (or anything else) the right way. However, finding the zoning information for your property can be difficult sometimes, especially when you’ve never tried to navigate a municipal code before. For those who want to avoid the headache of trying to figure it out on your own, please stop reading, call your City or County Building Department for answer…or call us! We’d be happy to help. For those who enjoy headaches and want to continue onward, you were warned.
R, RR, R1, R1-7, RS, RM, etc. Every city has their own designators that all mean different things. “R” generally refers to “Residential” and it’s pretty popular in one form or another across pretty much all of the Cities and the County building department. The first thing you must do is find out what your property’s zoning designator is. Otherwise you will have no way of knowing which part of your City’s/County’s municipal code pertains to your property. Most City websites have a way of locating zoning designators if you know where and how to navigate their sites. Often some City Building Departments have added an e-zoning tool to their websites. All you have to do is type in your address or parcel number and it returns your property’s information. Your setbacks, your height requirements, how much floor area you can have, your coverage, and your zoning designator. Chula Vista is one of the City websites that has the e-zoning tool on their Zoning Information Page. San Diego has a similar Zoning Page, however instead of actually spitting out the information you need, it just tells you the zoning designator for your address and then links you to the part of their municipal code that applies, so you can go research it for yourself. For example: In much of the City of San Diego, when you type in your address you get either RS-1-7 or RS-1-14, two very popular residential zones. Following that is a link to the residential section of municipal code. You’d have to scroll down about 30 plus pages before you found the section of code that refers to these zones. If your City doesn’t have one of these tools or links that tell you your zoning designator, then sometimes the only way to find it is by locating an actual zoning map. Often Cities have these full size zoning maps that show the entire City broken down into zones. You’d just have to zoom in, find your street and then you should see your zoning designator called out.
Most Incorporated cities in San Diego County have some page or tool or some way of getting you to your zoning. However, if your property is not in an incorporated city or doesn’t have a City building department, then the County of San Diego’s municipal code is where you’ll likely find the code that pertains to your property. The County has a unique tool on their Planning & Development Services Page called the, GIS Zoning & Information Tool. It’s similar in a way that the City of San Diego’s zoning tool works in that, it will immediately return you the zoning designator. It will also return you the information on setbacks, coverage, height restrictions, etc., but these are also in the form of designators as well.
Once you have your zoning designator, it’s time to go find the section of municipal code that pertains to your zoning. The municipal code (sometimes referred to as “Zoning Ordinance”) can often be hidden in your City/County website. But again, if you know where to look, you can find it. On the main page of the municipal code/zoning ordinance will be several chapter/section links. Generally you’re looking for one that has to do with “Zoning.” This part may take a little clicking in and clicking out to find what you’re looking for. The County website actually breaks their zoning links down by popular subjects of what someone might be looking for. There’s “Use Regulations” which tells you what you can and can’t use your property for, “Development Regulations” which will give you setbacks, coverage, height regulations, etc., and “General Regulations” which is where you can find information about parking and accessory uses (like can you build a huge workshop in your backyard?). Not all municipal codes/zoning ordinances will be this helpful in labeling their section/chapter links with handy descriptions. But in most cases, you can weed out the sections by the link title. Like in Chula Vista: you click on the main municipal code link and a little ways down the page you’ll see a link called, “PLANNING AND ZONING.” In most cases, this is how it’s going to be.
Finding your zoning information can be a pain. Even for experienced professionals whose job it is, it can be difficult. But if you’re the type of person who likes to know everything about your property (even just for the sake of knowing) then finding and understanding your zoning information can always come in handy. You never know, someday you might actually be glad you took the time to learn it. Most, if not all, of the municipal codes can even be downloaded and saved. So when it comes time to finally build that addition in the back yard, you’ll know just how far back you can go. Well, technically you’ll need your County parcel map for that, but that’s another subject.

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ER Home Designs, Inc.
24101 Del Amo Road
Ramona, CA 92065
Phone: (858) 964-8026


By way of definition, the renderings that we produce at ER Home Designs, Inc. are actually called, raytrace images. These are images that are generated from 3D models that are created in our software. These raytrace renderings are intended for visualization purposes and are only intended to assist homeowners in their home design decisions. Unless otherwise specified, renderings are not to scale. Please visit our Gallery Pages for examples of raytrace renderings.