Airport Land Use Commission

an airplane lifting off

The Airport Land-Use Commission (ALUC) was established to provide for appropriate development of areas surrounding public airports in Santa Clara County. It is intended to minim​ize the public's exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards, and to ensure that the approaches to airports are kept clear of structures that could pose an aviation safety hazard.

FAA Advisory Circular​


      Heliport Land Use Comp​​atibility Plan

      In February of 2017, the Santa Clara County ALUC considered and adopted a County-wide Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) policy to calculate density within safety zones for Core and Shell development when a specific floor plan or tenant is unknown.

      The basis for the methodology is the LEED default occupancy Index gross square feet per occupant for General Office. The methodology is not intended to be used for independent residential shell development. The methodology replaces recommendations in the CalTrans Division of Aeronautics Airport Land Use Planning Handbook, for development around airports and heliports in Santa Clara County.

      San Jose International Airport

      If the occupancy count for full-time equivalents (FTEs) is not known, calculate the default occupancy using the following methodology using 250 gross square feet per occupant.


      Building Gross Square Feet
      –––————–––––––––––––    /  Site Area in Gross Acres  =      People per acre allowance per site.

      Example of a 100,000 square foot shell on a 2.5- acres site within the Outer Safety Zone (OSZ) where 300 people per acre is allowed per CLUP policy:

      1. 100,000 sq. ft. bldg. / 250 sq. ft. per occupant = 400 people max. bldg. occupancy
      2. 400 people / 2.5 acres gross site size = 160 people per acre average for the site.

      Therefore, 160 people per acre is within the 300 people per acre allowance per CLUP policy.

      LEED Default Occupancy Index

      ALUC Purview

      Each local agency whose general plan includes areas covered by an Airport Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) must refer to the ALUC for a CLUP consistency determination any proposed adoption or amendments to the following plans, ordinances, or regulations:

      • General Plan
      • Specific Plan
      • Zoning Ordinance
      • Building Codes

      Submitting a Referral to the Santa Clara County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) requires an appointment to be scheduled with County ALUC Staff. The submission appointment is flexible, in that it can be scheduled for either in person or virtually (via Microsoft Teams).

      To make an appointment call 1(408)299-5700 - Check Phone Hours and select option #2 for “Appointment” to request an “ALUC Referral Appointment”.  When scheduling your appointment please indicate if you would like the appointment to be in person or online.

      Submitted Referrals will not be scheduled for a hearing before the ALUC until the referral application is deemed complete. The ALUC has 60 days after submittal of a complete application to act on a referral per Public Utilities Code section 21676(d). A complete application status is determined by ALUC staff and applicants will be notified of the status (completeness) of a referral request within two weeks of submission.

      Applications that are deemed incomplete will be provided with incomplete items via an incomplete letter. Resubmissions are to be scheduled directly with the ALUC coordinator. Submittal Requirements are as follows:

      Submittal Requirements

      1. Referral Application form with all information filled out and completed.
      2. Referral Description Letter – Clearly explain all proposed legislative actions, the location(s) and total acreage of the affected areas, the type(s) of uses that would be allowed, the maximum height allowed, and the maximum allowed occupancy (persons per acre).
        • Provide maps clearly identifying the areas that would be affected by the proposed legislative actions and the relevant General Plan, Specific Plan, Zoning, or Building Code designations that are proposed to apply to each area.
        • Provide a draft of each proposed legislative action identifying all proposed changes to the text and figures using “track changes” or other underline/strikeout format.
        • If any changes are made to the proposed legislative action after submission of the referral, immediately contact County Planning Staff and submit a new referral.
      3. Fee – A check payable to County of Santa Clara. Consult County Planning Staff for initial review and determination of type and applicable fees. The current ALUC referral fee is $1829.
      4. Maps – All maps are required to be in a format set for 11x17, in color, and in pdf format. The Maps are to provide the project area (boundaries) within the applicable Airport Influence Area (AIA), Part 77 contours (height), CNEL contours (noise), safety zones, and flight paths. (GIS layers for those available here).
        • Additional Maps (“inset maps”) are required to provide a detailed view of a section of the main maps when project scopes involve large areas of land within the applicable AIA, Part 77 contours (height), CNEL contours (noise), and safety zone data overlayed, and flight paths relative to the “Project” scope.
        • Maps are also required to label location information for the “Project” area, major roads, expressways, freeways, and other identifying information.



      February 07, 2024

      FUTURE PROCESS FOR SUBMISSION: The Department of Planning and Development is currently working to improve the submission process for ALUC referrals by creating a online portal for submission. Once the portal is ready for release, this page will be updated with instructions to submit for online submission.

      Please ensure you submit a complete ALUC referral application along with the required documentation mentioned in the application.

      ALUC referral application

      Carl Hilbrants, Senior Planner
      County Government Center
      70 West Hedding Street; East Wing, 7th Floor
      San Jose, CA 95110

      (408) 299-5781

      ©2024 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.