Administrative Use Permit
Apply for an Administrative Use Permit. Learn what type of projects and property uses require one.
Applications for Administrative Use Permits (AUP) may be submitted electronically or filed in person at the Permit Service Center and must include all of the applicable requirements listed in the Zoning Project Submittal Requirements. Read the "Apply for a Zoning Permit" section on the Zoning Permits page or download the Guide to Submitting a Zoning Project Application for instructions when you are ready to apply.
Projects that require an AUP
An Administrative Use Permit is required for certain construction projects and uses of property to ensure that a project will not have negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood and general public. The process allows the public to review and comment on these projects and allows the Zoning Officer to approve them if they are not detrimental to the neighborhood or inconsistent with the City’s goals and policies for development. A decision on an AUP may be appealed to the Zoning Adjustments Board and ultimately the City Council.
The Zoning Ordinance specifies which projects require an AUP, including, but not limited to:
- Residential additions that exceed the average or maximum district height limit for additions (14, 16, 18, or 20 feet, depending on Zoning District)
- Residential additions that exceed 600 square feet or 15% of the lot area
- Habitable residential accessory buildings
- Hot tubs
- Residential fences over 6 feet tall
- Alterations to portions of a building within a required setback
- New commercial uses that occupy floor area above certain thresholds depending on Zoning District
- Sidewalk café seating
Inform neighbors early
Before applying for an Administrative Use Permit in, or adjacent to, a residential zoning district, applicants must give surrounding neighbors an opportunity to review the project plans and indicate any concerns they may have (see Community Outreach Instructions).
The purpose of this requirement is to help identify and resolve major concerns early in the process, and alert staff to any unresolved issues. Neighbors are welcome to submit written comments to staff at any point during the process.
Work with neighbors to resolve differences
Whenever possible, staff encourages applicants and neighbors to work together to resolve outstanding concerns. SEEDS Community Resolution Center provides mediation services on behalf of the city, and in many cases can help achieve compromise.
Basis for AUP decisions
To approve an Administrative Use Permit, the Zoning Officer must find that the project would not be "detrimental" to neighboring properties or to the City’s general welfare, and make any other findings required by the Zoning Ordinance for that project. They may place conditions on a project if necessary to make the required findings or promote the public welfare.
"Detriment" is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the project type and setting. Staff can provide further guidance during preliminary review as to whether or not a particular project may cause detriment.
Apply for an AUP
Please see "Apply for a Zoning Permit" on the Zoning Permits page or download the Guide to Submitting a Zoning Project Application. Applications may be submitted electronically or filed in person during a scheduled intake appointment at the Permit Service Center. To initiate an electronic submittal, please email Planning@cityofberkeley.info. To submit in person, please schedule a zoning permit intake appointment online through the Permit Service Center Appointments. Applications must include all of the applicable requirements listed in the Zoning Project Submittal Requirements. Minimum requirements include (but are not limited to):
- Application fees
- Application form with owner's signature
- Community Outreach Instructions (for projects in and adjacent to residential zoning district)
- Photo of posted project notice
- Written description of project and how it satisfies the findings required by the Zoning Ordinance
- Site plan, floor plans, and elevations
- Additional information that may be required to demonstrate the project will not have a negative impact on the environment or neighborhood
Ensure applications are complete
Administrative Use Permit applications that are complete when submitted and do not require environmental review, major revisions, or mediation are typically processed in 5-8 months for intermediately complex and complex projects, and 2-4 months for the least complex projects. Once an application is filed, applicants can check with the assigned planner to get a more precise time estimate. Applicants can help reduce the time required to process an AUP by:
- Seeking input from affected neighbors before finalizing plans
- Bringing plans to staff for preliminary review before filing application
- Submitting professionally prepared drawings and materials that are internally consistent
- Carefully reviewing the Zoning Project Submittal Requirements and ensuring that all application and zoning requirements are met.
|AUP Tier||Description||Processing Time|
2 & 4
Complete submissions make application faster
You’ll receive an email or mailed letter acknowledging the receipt of your application and assignment of a project planner within one week. Once your application is accepted for review, staff will determine if the application is complete or additional information is required within 30 days of submittal.
If incomplete, the project planner will provide a letter outlining the required materials that are missing. After resubmission, the project planner will again review the application for completeness within 30 days of resubmittal.
After an application is deemed complete, the staff planner will complete the project analysis. Next, a Notice of Decision will be posted in two places in the project vicinity and one on the project site.
The Notice of Decision will also be mailed to abutting and confronting neighbors, and in some instances mailed to property owners and residents in a 300-foot radius. The Notice of Decision starts a 20-day appeal period.
AUP could be appealed
If an Administrative Use Permit is appealed, the project will be placed on a Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) agenda for a public hearing. The ZAB decision (either to uphold the Zoning Officer’s decision or the ZAB approval or denial following a public hearing) can be appealed to the City Council within 14 days of action.
The City Council has the following options:
- Continue the public hearing,
- Modify, reverse, or affirm ZAB action, or
- Remand to ZAB for reconsideration.
The City Council will receive the entire record for the project. Additional written information may be submitted to the City Clerk and will be provided to the Council.