California Liquor Licenses and Permits
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Land Use and Zoning Terms

Appeals
An zoning appeal is where an applicant for a zoning permit requests changes to zoning decision. The American Liquor License Exchange has over 34 years experience in representing clients’ zoning issues before various appellate bodies (such as Boards of Zoning Appeals, Planning Commissions and City Councils, Boards of Supervisors and County Commissions).
For most applicants wishing to undertake a development in the coastal zone, Coastal Development Permit is required. We assist clients in obtaining this permit in accordance with the cities’ (or counties’) adopted Local Coastal Program (LCP). In those few areas not yet covered by an LCP, we will assist clients in their applications (or appeals) to the California Coastal Commission.
Conditional Use Permit
A special type of variance wherein the local government has recognized that it is often necessary to permit certain uses in zones other than those in which they are classified, because of their unusual characteristics or the large area required for their operation. These uses require special consideration as to their proper location in relation to adjacent uses or to the development of the community and to the various elements of the General Plan. Because of the various types of uses and locations requiring this special consideration, the specific conditions under which each use may be permitted must also be considered. We have won nearly a thousand of these kinds of cases for our clients.
Environmental Assessment
We perform a project analysis and prepares an "environmental information form" (by whatever name) to enable the local government to conduct an Initial Study pursuant to Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (in conjunction with the filing of a discretionary request).
Environmental Impact Report
In an Initial Study identifies more than just a few significant environmental impacts, the local government may require that you submit a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). If, however, only a few significant impacts are identified, you might submit a "focused" DEIR considering only those impacts identified.

A DEIR will contain

  1. a detailed description of the subject property as it exists in terms of the physical, cultural and economic facets of the environment;
  2. a detailed description of the proposed project;
  3. a detailed analysis of the project’s probable impacts upon the various facets of the environment; and feasible alternatives.

We have produced many of these comprehensive documents involving a variety of residential, commercial and industrial projects.

General Plan Amendments
In a local government's General Plan, the Land Use element specifies the general categories of land use appropriate to the development (or redevelopment) of all properties in the city (or county). Sometimes our clients do not agree that the land use designation given to their property is the most appropriate. Many local governments provide a way to request a new land use designation by means of a General Plan Amendment. We have won more than a dozen of these intricate cases.
Initial Study
An Initial Study is a local government’s action to determine whether a proposed project would likely result in significant (i.e., adverse) environmental effects. When applying for a zoning or development permit, you are usually required to prepare and submit an "Environmental Assessment Form", or "Environmental Information Form", etc.

By whatever name, these documents generally follow the adopted Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (as amended).

Legislative Advocacy
Another Another term for lobbying is legislative advocacy. Originally referring only to lobbying of legislative bodies (City Councils, State Assemblies, Congress, etc.), the term now includes advocating for our clients with council members (and their councilmanic deputies), planning commissions, zoning administrators planning staffers, etc. We have more than 34 years of local government lobbying experience.
Lot Split Design
A lot split (more formally, a Parcel Map) is the division of an existing lot or parcel of land into one to four new parcels. Occasionally, however, the parcel dimensions or topography of the existing property prevents the simplest type of lot cut. Often, preparing a creative Lot Split Design in conjunction with a setback or area variance package can overcome these problems. We would be working with a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Civil Engineer.
Mitigated Negative Declaration
The statement of a local government that a limited number of significant environmental impacts have been identified and that these impacts can be readily mitigated if the prescribed measures are implemented. The "mitigated neg dec" has, to a significant degree, replaced the Focused Environmental Impact Report.
Negative Declaration
Although it sounds bad, it is really good for an applicant. A Negative Declaration is the statement of a local government’s recognition that the Initial Study has not identified any significant environmental impacts.
Ownership and/or Occupant List
Ownership lists, often printed on peel-off labels, accompany radius maps and list the owners of all of the properties within the designated radius of the radius map. Similarly, occupant lists list all residents (typically addressed as "resident") living within the designated radius. We have prepared well over a thousand of these lists for our clients.
Parcel Map
A Parcel Map, while commonly understood to be a map that identifies the boundaries of legal properties within a gien area, is more formally a "junior subdivision" zoning action involving the division (or redivision) of one or more parcels of land into one to four new parcels. The technical aspects of Parcel Maps are properly the domain of the registered Civil Engineer or Licensed Land Surveyor. We often works with these professionals in filing the Preliminary Parcel Map and "clearing" conditions of approval. Sometimes they are requested to participate in Advisory Agency public hearings.
Public Convenience or Necessity
A California state law now requires that the local governments’ legislative bodies, (generally the city council), certify that, under certain circumstances, the approval of an application by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for off-sale liquor licenses (type 20 and type 21 liquor licenses) will provide the surrounding community with a service that is currently not being adequately met by business in the area. Generally, obtaining a Letter of Public Convenience or Necessity (PCorN) requires that you make a formal application with the local government and then attend a hearing where you make a presentation before the local governing body. The American Liquor License Exchange has prepared and won numerous PCorN applications since this law came infto effect.
Radius Map
A radius map depicts the property that is the subject of the zoning application and all land within a designated radius of the subject property. Some local governments require only that the designated radius be inscribed on a County Assessor’s map. Others require the zoning and land use of each parcel, prior case numbers and street improvements – all on an original map drafted from the jurisdiction’s engineering base maps. We have prepared well over a thousand of these maps.
Site Plan Review
Site Plan Review Boards (by any other name) are generally tasked with the promotion of orderly development, evaluation and mitigation of significant environmental impacts and promotion of public safety and the general welfare.
Solar Access Reports
Some jurisdictions require that a "Solar Access Report" accompany the filing of a Tentative Tract. New buildings, especially those taller than existing surrounding buildings, may adversely impact the existing buildings by throwing shadows during part of the day which vary by season. These shadows block access to the sunlight. Working with architectural plans, we have prepared dozens of these reports.
Subdivisions (Tract Maps)
A subdivision involves the division (or redivision) of one or more parcels of land into one or more new record lots. The technical aspects of Subdivision work are properly the domain of the registerd Civil Engineer or Licensed Land Surveyor. However, we often work with these professionals in filing of the Tentative Tract Map and "clearing" conditions of approval. Sometimes they are requested to participate in Advisory Agency public hearings.
Transfers of Jurisdiction
If the City Planning Commission (or Zoning Administrator) fails to act upon an application within specified periods of time, an applicant may file a request to transfer jurisdiction to the City Council (Board of Zoning appeals). While we can assist a client in doing this, we generally do not recommended it. It removes one potential level of appeal and, if the higher body remands an appeal to the person/body that would originally have heard it, that person/body might then have a prejudicial attitude toward the case.
Variance
A Variance is an administrative relief from the strict application of zoning restrictions (land uses, lot areas or setbacks) where topography or surrounding uses differ substantially from the norm and the requested use will not be detrimental to the enjoyment of surrounding properties. We have won hundreds of these cases for our clients.
Zone Boundary Adjustment
It is the general intent that zoning district boundaries precisely coincide with street, alley or lot lines. Sometimes this intent does not occur. To overcome these situations, a zone boundary adjustment remedy has been established by many local governments. We have prepared and won many of these cases.
Zone Change
A legislative action that changes the zone that underlies the subject property. The primary reason would be to change the permitted use(s). We have won well over a hundred of such cases for our clients.
Zone, Zoning

A Zone is a property designation, established by legislative action, for every property in the city (or county). Over the years it has been found that the general public welfare, the stability of property values and the encouragement of land development are all fostered by the careful designation of zones which allocate various types of land use.

In addition to establishing zoning districts that prescribe (or prohibit) land uses, the zoning regulations govern the amount of lot area and yard spaces required for individual developments, the maximum height and floor area permitted in various buildings and the amount of automobile parking space required with the various kinds of improvements.ds of improvements.

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Planning and Zoning Assistance

We provide a comprehensive array of planning and zoning services. Contact us today for assistance with your licensing project.