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2.Check your zoning
The City of San José Zoning Ordinance describes the legal uses of property in San José. Compliance with this ordinance is mandatory. Types of uses are defined by zoning districts. 

Before selecting a business location, ask:
  • Is the location zoned for the type of business you wish to open?
  • Is it zoned for the changes you wish to make? 
  • Does the location have any zoning, building code or fire code violations? 
Never lease, buy or expand a business location before knowing how that property is zoned. You will avoid costly mistakes by confirming that the location is zoned for your type of business use and any operational or structural changes you are planning. Violations can include misuse of building structure, location, configuration or size, or other zoning, building code or fire code violations. 

How to investigate how a location is zoned?
 
Check your zoning by entering the business location below or searching the map.

Enter an address into the fields below. Once you click "Search on Address" a new window will pop-up. If a search result finds a matched address you will see the following. Screen Shot of Zoning Results

Once you determine your zoning from the pop up window, follow the steps listed below to determine if your proposed use is eligible for the current zoning designation.

Street number:
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Street name:

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How to use the City’s zoning maps:
  • View a map of the City showing properties within the City’s incorporated area (city limits). Enter in an address into the search bar.  Once your address is found, click on the shaded area near the location icon to display information about the property.  You will see zoning as a two letter designation (for instance HI, DC, IP).  Using the Information Key on the right of the map determine your zoning.  Once you determine your zoning, follow the steps below to determine if your use is eligible or not.

What are the City’s commercial/industrial zoning districts?
For a full list of zoning districts, visit Title 20  of the City of San Jose Municipal Code. Some locations, although zoned correctly, may have significant parking requirements that restrict business use. 

For example, zoning districts that allow for restaurants include Commercial Pedestrian (CP), Commercial Neighborhood (CN), Commercial General (CG), and Combined Industrial/ Commercial (CIC). Restaurants can also locate in Downtown Core (DC) and Downtown Core Neighborhood Transition 1 (DC-NT1) districts and conditionally in some industrial districts. 

The City’s commercial and industrial zoning districts include the following:
  • Commercial Office (CO) is a low-density office zone in or near residential and commercial areas. 
  • Commercial Pedestrian (CP) is a zone for pedestrian-oriented retail activity and mixed residential/commercial development.
  • Commercial Neighborhood (CN) is a commercial use zone that includes neighborhood centers, multi-tenant commercial along connectors and main streets, and small corner commercial.
  • Commercial General (CG) allows for larger-scale retail and commercial uses, including regional malls.
  • Combined Industrial/Commercial (CIC) includes commercial and/or low-density light industrial uses, including big box retail, assembly uses and daycare centers.
  • Industrial Park (IP) zoning is an exclusive designation that includes industrial uses such as research and development.
  • Light Industrial (LI) includes a wide variety of industrial uses excluding those with unmitigated hazardous or nuisance effects.
  • Heavy Industrial (HI) allows for those industrial uses having hazardous or nuisance characteristics, including extractive and primary processing industries.

What are the City’s special zoning districts?
The City also has a number of special zoning districts, including downtown districts limited to specific geographic areas of the city. Note that some of the City’s historic zones or addresses may be more restrictive.

  • Downtown Core (DC) restricts certain uses and building improvements within specified downtown zones.
  • Downtown Core Neighborhood Transition 1 (DC-NT1) restricts certain uses and building improvements within specified areas of the City.
  • Main Street Ground-Floor Commercial (MS-G) integrates mixed commercial and residential uses into a pedestrian-oriented zone. 
  • Main Street Commercial District (MS-C) includes primarily commercial uses within a pedestrian-oriented area.
  • Planned Development (PD) provisions include those set forth in Chapter 20.60.010 of Title 20. 

Where to find out more? 
Review the City’s Envision San José 2040 General Plan: 





 



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spacer.png To avoid costly mistakes, never lease, buy or expand a location before knowing how that property is zoned. Also, look for any zoning violations.