The PPA Process

A Memo submitted to the Planning Commission on October 2, 2014 outlines temporary and permanent changes to the Preliminary Project Assessment process. Click here to read the full Memo.

What is the Revised Development Review Process?

As part of the overall Action Plan, the Planning Department worked in coordination with the Action Plan Advisory Group to revise the development review process for moderate to large sized projects. The result is a 3 Phase Development Review Process that took effect on February 1, 2011 and were revised on October 2, 2014.

The Department’s new Permit and Project Tracking System will institute a new naming convention, therefore, new PPA case records will now be referenced as "201X-XXXXXXPPA". 

The review process consists of the following phases:

1. Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA)

A new type of preliminary review has been developed, called Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA). As of 02/01/11, and revised on 10/02/14, a PPA is required for any project proposing to add 7 (seven) or more dwelling units; construction of new non-residential buildings or additions of 10,001 square feet or more; changes of use of 25,000 square feet or more; or construction of a new school, addition to an existing school by more than 25% or 10 classrooms (whichever is less), or change of use to a school.

As of 10/02/14: Environmental Evaluation (“EE”) applications will be accepted for filing concurrently with PPA applications, rather than only after PPA letter issuance. EE applications submitted prior to PPA letter issuance should be amended, to the extent appropriate, to address input from the PPA letter.

As of 02/22/17: the PPA Application has been updated to reflect the recently adopted Transportation Demand Management Program, pursuant to Planning Code Section 169.

The PPA allows the Department to coordinate internal review and provide preliminary feedback to project sponsors early in the development process for moderate and large projects. This will help ensure that applicants understand the approval process and are aware of any potential issues that may need to be addressed before their development applications are filed.

The result of the preliminary review is a PPA letter that is issued within 90 days of receipt of a complete PPA Application. The PPA application is not a development application, and issuance of a PPA letter is not a development approval or denial. The PPA is also designed to be fee neutral by deducting the PPA fee from the Environmental Evaluation fee for the project.

The PPA Application contains additional information and is located on the Permit Applications/Forms page of the Planning Department's website.

2. Project Description

As part of the Revised Development Review Process, the Project Description will be required to be finalized during the environmental review of a project. This will ensure a clear understanding of what the project is proposing as the environmental review moves forward. Once the project description is finalized, the applicant must file an entitlement application (Building Permit Application, Conditional Use Application, etc.) so that the entitlement review can be coordinated with the environmental review.

3. Entitlement

In the Revised Development Review Process the review of entitlements for consistency with the Planning Code, adopted policies, and relevant design guidelines will not significantly change. However, because an entitlement application will be required prior to completion of the environmental review process, it will be better coordinated with the environmental review. This coordinated review will be more consistent and efficient, resulting in better information and service to both project sponsors and the public.