Retooling the Zoning Code

  Adopted from Stop Me Before I Plan Again by Richard Hedman, copyright 1981 by the American Planning Association.


The City of Sunnyvale’s Community Development Department is working on reformatting the entire Zoning Code (Title 19 of the Sunnyvale Municipal Code) to be more clear and user-friendly for members of the public, as well as staff and decision-makers. 

The Zoning Code is commonly used by members of the public to find information about modifications to their property, including new construction, business signage, parking requirements and fencing modifications. In the current format, it can be difficult to find the right information and understand the requirements.

The new format will use clear, everyday language, illustrations and examples to clarify requirements. This project will also explore ways to improve administrative procedures and streamline permitting requirements for residents and businesses. No changes are planned to be made to land use regulations or development standards. The last time the Zoning Code was reviewed in its entirety was in 2001, and before that, in 1963. The Zoning Code was originally adopted in 1951.

It is important for the Zoning Code to be clear and accessible to everyone, not just attorneys and professional staff.

Project Completion Date: To Be Determined

Visit to stay updated on the progress of the project and for any upcoming public meetings and hearings.

No hearings scheduled at this time.





City Council: February 26, 2013

 RTC 13-047: Organizational Structure and Article 1


Planning Commission: February 11, 2013

 Draft RTC: Organizational Structure and Article 1


City Council: November 29, 2011

 RTC 11-260: Retooling the Zoning Code - Title 19 (Information Only)





Current Zoning Code

Title 19 of the Sunnyvale Municipal Code

1951 Zoning Code

1951 Zoning Code


The Planning Commission will act as the advisory committee to select a new desirable structure and format, and to ensure that any proposal to streamline permitting or administrative procedures will not compromise community standards. Staff will hold several study sessions with the Planning Commission at various stages of the project to receive feedback on options and preliminary proposals. The public is invited to attend these meetings.

 A general community meeting will be held to outline the potential changes at a later stage of the project.  



Planning Commission Study Session: December 12, 2011

Introduction to "Retooling the Zoning Code," the what, why, and when. Provided examples of zoning code illustrations and other cities' zoning codes.

Planning Commission Study Session: January 9, 2012

Memo to Planning Commission and Attachments 1-9-12

Planning Commission Study Session:  March 12, 2012

Memo to Planning Commission and Attachment 3-12-12
Planning Commission Study Session May 14, 2012 Memo to Planning Commission and Attachment 5-14-12
Planning Commission Study Session October 8, 2012 Memo to the Planning Commission and Attachments 10-8-12
City Council Study Session November 20, 2012 Presentation to City Council
Planning Commission Study Session January 14, 2013 Memo to the Planning Commission and Attachments 1-14-13
Planning Commission Study Session April 22, 2013 Memo to the Planning Commission 4-22-13


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