Updates on City of San José Services and/or Operations . (English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文)

Planning Consultations

If you have a question or issue that can be briefly addressed (within about 15 minutes), our Planning staff provide no-cost guidance by phone or at the Planning Counter in the Development Services Permit Center. When you need a deeper level of guidance, consider a Planning Consultation or a Preliminary Review. If you need planning guidance for a small business, our Small Business Ally team provides no-cost assistance in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

  • Brief Consultation
  • Preliminary Review
  • Small Business Consultation

Brief Consultation

No fee. No appointment required. We speak your language.

This is the best place to start for questions on any type of project. If you have questions about a planning process or about zoning, development standards, tree removals, or single-family/duplex projects, such as constructing a new home, addition, or ADU (secondary unit), we’re here to help. Due to a high volume of customers, Brief Consultations are limited to about 15 minutes. For a Brief Consultation with a City Planner:

Preliminary Review Consultation

Fee based. Requires submitting the Preliminary Review Request form (which outlines fees) in person at the Development Services Permit Center.

Preliminary Review is an optional consultation for complex or large-scale projects that have evolved to having a general site layout and design concept, but the applicant has not yet formalized plans and submitted them to the City. Signature Projects are required to undergo Preliminary Review prior to submittal of a formal application.

For a Preliminary Review consultation, you will select the participation of staff from various departments through the Preliminary Review Request form. These staff will provide you with detailed feedback on the proposed site layout and architecture concept, and will identify issues that might arise during the plan review process. This helps applicants make final design decisions that enable the project to go through the plan review and public hearing processes more smoothly. The need for plan iterations are reduced, thus saving time and costs for the applicant. The analyses generated for a Preliminary Review are generally valid for six months.

To initiate a Preliminary Review:

Small Business Consultation

Consultations and guidance for small businesses. No fee. We speak English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Our Small Business Allies will advise you on how to start a business, find a location, and obtain building permits to improve your business location.