Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Planning Division

What is zoning?

The City of Stockton's Zoning Map divides all the land within the City into different areas or zones. Zoning regulates what land can be used for in that area and regulates standards for new developments. The purpose of establishing zoning designations within a community ensures that neighboring land uses are compatible with one another. For more information, see SMC 16.16.020 Zoning Districts Established.


What is the zoning for this property?

The Landmaster GIS map is used to determine zoning. Please consult this brochure for instructions.


What can I do with this property? (What can I build, what type of business, etc?)

For Allowable Land Use types, refer to Table 2-2 of SMC 16.20.020. Please consult this brochure for instructions.


What are the standards for building a new fence or changing the fence on my property?

Residential fence standards are outlined in this brochure. There are standards for fence height, location, and allowed materials. Please review the entire document before making plans for what kind of fence to build. For Fence regulations, see SMC 16.48 Fences, Hedges, and Walls.


What are the standards for adding a new detached structure (shed/garage/pool, etc.) to my property?

Standards for accessory structures are located in SMC 16.80.020. Detached accessory structures must be separated by at least 5’ from other structures on the property and be separated from the property lines indicated in Table 3-13. Accessory structures are included in the maximum lot coverage indicated in the development standards and must not cross over or have any overhangs into any easements on the property. With certain exceptions, detached accessory structures require a Building Permit.


How do I find easements on my property?

Easements are found in the title report for your property. The easements recorded on subdivision maps may be found on the Surveyor Land Records page provided by the San Joaquin Department of Public Works. Please note that the easements shown on these maps may not be all-inclusive.


What are the standards for adding an attached addition to my home (adding a new room/extending an existing space/adding a patio, etc.)?

The attached additions to a home are subject to the zoning district development standards. First, determine your zone, then refer to SMC 16.24.200 Table 2-3.A. Standards for setbacks, site coverage, and height limit are located in the column for the corresponding zone.


Can I add an Accessory Dwelling Unit (AKA in-law quarter, granny flat, etc.) to my property?

With few exceptions, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can be added to any residential property. An ADU is defined as an attached or detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities, including bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen areas. The development standards for ADUs are located in SMC 16.80.310.


There is also the option to utilize the City’s Pre-approved ADUs. These permit-ready plans are complete sets of construction drawings designed to the latest codes, pre-approved by the Building Department, and available “off-the-shelf” at no cost. The plans have simple floor plan layouts, simple roof designs, and utilize conventional construction techniques to reduce the cost and length of construction. The selection of plans includes a studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom option.


Can I trim or cut down the street tree that is in front of my property?

Residents may trim, prune, and maintain trees adjacent to their property in the City right-of-way with no permit required. If the condition of the tree poses a threat to health or safety, the tree may be placed on a list to be removed by the City without a permit or the requester may have the tree removed themselves with prior approval of a permit. (SMC 16.162.070). The Tree Division makes the determination of whether a tree qualifies for emergency removal. Please contact the Tree Division at (209) 937-8317 on weekdays, or (209) 937-8341 after hours.


If it is not an emergency situation and you wish to remove a street tree for other valid reasons, you must apply for a Tree Removal Permit (SMC 16.162.040). Instructions and submittal requirements are found on the Tree Removal Permit application. For more information please visit the Trees page.


Can I trim or cut down the oak tree that is on my property?

Certain types of oak trees are considered Heritage Trees and are protected within the City of Stockton. A Heritage Tree is defined as “any Quercus lobata (commonly known as “Valley Oak”), Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak), and Quercus wislizenii (Interior Live Oak) tree which is located on public or private property within the limits of the City, and which has a trunk diameter of 16 inches or more, measured at 24 inches above actual grade.” Residents may trim, prune, and maintain trees on their property with no permit required. 


To remove a heritage tree, you must apply for a Tree Removal Permit (SMC 16.130). Instructions and submittal requirements are found on the Planning Applications page under “Street Tree or Heritage Oak Tree Removal Permit.”


Can I add a second driveway to my home or widen my existing driveway?

Single-family homes are allowed one driveway; it must be located a minimum of 5’ from property lines and 6’ from other driveways, and the maximum width is 26’ or 50% of the width of the property, whichever is less (SMC 16.36.030). There are also landscaping standards for front yards that limit how much of the yard can be paved.  Widening a driveway will require an encroachment permit from the Engineering Division; they can be reached at (209) 937-8411.


Can I pave my front yard completely or replace my lawn with gravel?

No. Front yard areas are required to be landscaped with a minimum of 50% live plants or grass (SMC 16.56.040). This area can be a combination of grass, shrubs, or groundcover with plants that will grow to fill in the area.


Can I park my RV or boat at my home?

Parking of Recreational Vehicles or Boats is subject to the standards for parking in residential zoning districts. RVs and Boats must not park in the front or street side yards, must be partially screened by a fence that is a minimum of six (6) feet in height and be parked on an improved surface such as concrete, asphalt or other similar material.


Where can I find a list or map of market-rate housing projects and affordable housing projects within the City of Stockton?

Please refer to the Housing Development Snapshot map specifying project names, number of units, and status.

What is an Assessor Parcel Number and how do I determine mine?

Use this interactive map tool or contact the Planning and Engineering Division. An Assessor Parcel Number is a unique parcel identification number assigned by San Joaquin County.  

  • First three numbers: Assessor map book number
  • Middle three numbers: Page and block number, where appropriate
  • Last two numbers: Parcel number within the page (or block)


Assessor Book Page Parcel


Where can I find Planning requirements regarding structure setback, maximum structure height/lot coverage, and density?

Development Code Section 16.24.200, Table 2-3 summarizes development standards by zoning district.


What are the requirements for accessory uses and structures?

 Development standards for accessory uses and structures, including:

  • Residential, for example, detached sheds, garages, or other accessory building/structures
  • Commercial, for example, containerized storage units, mobile vendors, motorized food wagons

These may be reviewed in Development Code Section 16.80.020

How can I determine the total cost of my permit fees?

Please review the Planning Fee Worksheet to determine fees due.


What are the Planning application submittal requirements?

Please review the submittal matrix.


Where can I file a complaint about suspected code violations?

Neighborhood Services Division of the Police Department investigates all complaints related to Code Enforcement. Contact the Police Department Neighborhood Services Division for additional information. To submit a question or comment directly, select the appropriate topic at Ask Stockton.


Do I need a business license?

Generally, anyone conducting business in the City is required to obtain a business license. Please contact the Business License Division for more information.


I intend to conduct business from my home.  What is a Home Occupation Permit?

Allowable home-based businesses are required to file a Home Occupation Permit Application and a Business License application. A home occupation permit allows for business-related activities deemed to cause minimal impact(s) on neighboring parcels. Review the development and operational standards for home occupation permits and Development Code Section 16.132 for more information.


What are the City's standards for Signs?

Standards for temporary and permanent signs are located in SMC Section 16.76


Is a permit required for my party?

Non-commercial events at which people celebrate personal occasions (such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and similar events) are allowed on private property, provided:

  • no charge for admission or use of facility,
  • no donations, 
  • no public advertisements, announcement, or flyers,
  • not open to the public, and
  • meets the noise standards Development Code Section 16.60.


Please contact the Community Services Department Special Events information that includes street closures, use of parks, and/or public property.


Planning Commission Meeting Schedule

When operating in normal conditions, the Planning Commission meets the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The meeting schedule is subject to change. See Online Meetings for the most current information, including upcoming agendas and meeting archives. Please contact Planning staff for more information.


Where can I find property ownership information?

Contact the San Joaquin County Assessor's Office for property ownership and tax information. Please see External Links below for a link to the Assessor's Office web page.


What is Design Review? How do I determine if a property is in a Design Review District?

Design Review procedures and Citywide Design Guidelines encourage development throughout the City that is compatible and harmonious with the design and use of surrounding properties and the City in general. Design Review Districts secures and maintains orderly and harmonious construction of buildings, signs, and other structures in designated areas of the City.


Residential Design Districts

Section 3.02 of the Citywide Design Guidelines Manual (Single-Family Residential Design Guidelines for Special Districts) for a list and a map illustrating the special districts.


Special Commercial Districts

Special Commercial Districts include areas such as Downtown, Miracle Mile or Channel Area.  See Sections 4.02-4.05 of the Citywide Design Guidelines Manual (Commercial Design Guidelines). 


Carwashes as Fundraisers

Car washes are limited to 10 days per year for an individual location and 10 days per year for each sponsoring organization. Sponsorship is limited to educational, fraternal, religious, or service organizations directly engaged in civic or charitable efforts.  

The car wash must be located on nonresidential property approved by the Municipal Utilities Department. Please contact the Municipal Utilities Department about the City's Green Car Wash Program and a list of approved car wash locations.



External Links

San Joaquin County Assessor's Office


This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 4/1/2021