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Planning Commission Previews Zoning Code Update

Santa Clara's Planning Commission examined the proposed zoning code update. The City must update the zoning code to be consistent with the General Plan.

Santa Clara’s Planning Commission received details on the City’s zoning code update during its Oct. 27 meeting. Under state law, Santa Clara must update its zoning code to be consistent with the City’s General Plan. The City developed the General Plan in 2010. However, the zoning code has not had a significant revision since its creation in the 1960s.

City staff is proposing several significant changes to the current zoning code, including new zoning districts such as high-density residential, mixed-use for commercial corridors and more.

The Planning Department also suggests streamlining some of the permitting processes surrounding single-family residential homes. City staff wants to make it easier for homeowners to remodel or build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Updated codes will offer homeowners more options regarding the size, design and building materials used for ADUs.


Other changes include a way for the Director of Planning to approve smaller, less controversial use permits that, until now, have had to go before the Planning Commission. These permits include some live entertainment permits, plans for outdoor seating up to 24 seats, and reworking the special permitting process for events like church carnivals.

The new zoning codes will also address overcrowding issues in homes, most specifically those near Santa Clara University. The City will design the rules so that they do not discriminate against large families.

City codes will be updated to deal with short-term rentals, such as homes rented through AirBNB, VRBO or similar companies. Short-term rentals would require a registration process and would have to pay a transient occupancy tax. Rentals could only be rented for 90 calendar days a year and have occupancy limits.

Santa Clara’s Planning Department expects to post the zoning code update publicly sometime in the next month. It will be available for 45 days.

After that, the Planning Commission will examine the changes. Given the sizeable length of the document, the commission will take several meetings to review the changes.

Amendment to NVIDIA’s ABC License Approved

Commissioners quickly approved NVIDIA’s request to amend its ABC License. The current Use Permit allows for the sale of beer and wine at the company’s restaurant located at 2888 San Tomas Expressway.

NVIDIA asked the Planning Commission to also allow for the sale and consumption of beer and wine in the entirety of the building at 2888 San Tomas Expressway. It also asked the commission to extend the permit to 2788 San Tomas Expressway and the courtyard between the two buildings.

The commission approved the changes without amendment.

The next Planning Commission meeting is Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.



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