Planning Division: 

The Planning Division of the Building & Planning Department is responsible for long-range & policy planning, current development review, and related environmental assessments as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Long Range & Policy Planning

Long range and policy Planning, also known as "advance" planning is related to the long-term vision of the community.  Maintenance of the Town's visioning and implementing documents are key parts of the Division's work in this area.  These include:

  • General Plan: The Town's primary visioning document, the General Plan (GP) is the blueprint for the Town's future.  It outlines the polies, goals and objectives of the Town.  It is developed in partnership with the community, and while not required, is typically updated approximately every 15 years.  
  • Housing Element: The Housing Element (HE) is a chapter of the General Plan; however in recent years the State has pushed to make it more of a stand-alone document.  The State mandates that it be updated every eight years.
  • Zoning Ordinance & Residential Design Guidelines:  The Zoning Ordinance and Residential Design Guidelines are both implementing tools of the General Plan.  Both documents set forth standards for development, including things such as setbacks, height limits, lot coverage, colors and materials, etc.
  • Legislative Review:  In partnership with the City Manager's Office, the Division monitors pending State-level land use legislation which might impact the Town and ensures compliance with new land use related statutes.

Current Development Review

Also known as "current" planning, development review involves the analysis of development applications to ensure compliance with the Town's visioning and implementing documents mentioned above.

The Town offers three types of development review:

  • Administrative Review:  This level of review is for minor projects which are expected to have little to no visual impact.  Typical projects include fences and railings and minor changes to architecture and landscaping.
  • Architecture and Design Review Board (ADRB) Review: This level of review is for larger projects such as new houses, replacement of houses, large additions and subdivisions.
  • Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Review: Due to changes in state law in 2019, ADUs are subject to different standards and review processes than those listed above.

Environmental Assessments

Environmental assessment involves the preparation of environmental documents as required for both private and town projects consistent with provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). While most single-family home development is exempt from the CEQA statute, other projects, such as updates to the General Plan and Housing Element, significant updates to the Zoning Ordinance, large subdivisions of land, etc., are subject to CEQA review.


Have a question about what level of review your project may require, or how to become more involved with the Town long-range and policy planning? Contact Us! Your time is valuable please schedule an appointment to meet with a Planner by emailing the Planner directly or complete our online form. Please allow 48 hours response time.

Planning Division

1600 Floribunda Ave.
Hillsborough, CA 94010

  • Phone: (650) 375-7422
  • Fax: (650) 375-7415

As part of the Town’s response to COVID-19, the Town has moved to modified operations.  Town Hall is open to the public however staff is available by phone and email.

Phone services hours are 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. 

  • For General Building Division inquiries please call (650) 375-7411 or email:
  • To schedule a Building Inspection, please call (650) 375.7411
  • For General Planning Division inquiries, please call  (650) 375-7422 or email:

For a summary of current Town services, please visit:

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