Architecture and Site Approval

The architecture and site approval (ASA) procedure is a review and hearing process intended to promote quality development through consideration of site configuration and design. ASA is typically required for commercial, institutional, office, industrial and multiple-family residential uses. The procedure commonly augments the use permit process to establish detailed conditions on approved developments.

Forms, Checklists, and Guidelines

Application of permit

Master Application Form



Circled check mark

(as of 2021 January 8)


ASA Small Project Exemption(ASX) Checklist (as of 2021 September  8)

ASA Guidelines

Helpful Links for some checklist items


Additional Information and Materials that May be Required (consult staff for accurate determination)

General Plan Conformance / Contiguity Form

Applicants proposing Architectural and Site Approval within a City’s urban service area and under County jurisdiction must first file this form initiating annexation if the property is directly adjacent to city boundary, across the street from city boundary, or within 300 feet from the city boundary along a public road. Note: This form must be completed by the applicant, the County Planning Office, and the involved city before the application can be accepted.


Petition for Exemption from Environmental Assessment Form

Your project may qualify for a Categorical Exemption from the required environmental review process. See list of Categorical Exemptions. If your petition for a categorical exemption is not approved, you will be required to apply for an environmental assessment and pay the applicable fee.


Geologic Report  (2 copies, plus pdf)

Consult with County Geologist prior to filing application to determine whether a geologic report will be required.  Submittal must include one wet-signed paper document and one electronic document in Adobe pdf format (on CD or DVD).  An additional fee is required for geologic report review.  See also geologic hazards page.


Septic System Plan

If a septic system is proposed, the site must be field-evaluated by a Department of Environmental Health (DEH) representative.  One copy of the site plan should be stamped and signed by the DEH representative.  See also DEH site.


Early Notification and Outreach Policy

Certain types of projects as referenced under Section 5.20 of the Zoning Ordinance are subject to the Department of Planning Early Notification and Outreach Policy based on project scope. If your project is subject to the Early Notification and Outreach Policy, notification tools such as signs, mailing notices and community meetings may be required.


Preliminary Landscape Plan  (1 copy)

Shall include existing and proposed on-site landscaping, hardscape and fencing.  Any trees greater than 12 inches diameter at 4.5 feet above grade proposed for removal shall be noted.  Required at time of application only if specifically requested by Planning Office.


Williamson Act Compatible Use Determination

Required if subject parcel is under a Williamson Act contract.  It is strongly suggested that this determination be applied for and resolved prior to ASA application submittal.  An additional fee is required. 


Identification of Potential Historic Resources (Part I and Part II forms)

If the project includes demolition of structures 50 years or older, submit a completed and signed Identification of Properties for Potential Historic Significance forms, a copy of the Santa Clara County Residential Unit Property Record (available from the County Assessor’s Office, 5th Floor) for the subject property and photographs of each elevation of the subject structure and any related structures or associated features. Please note that the 50-year age reference is a discretionary guideline; there are circumstances where a property less than 50 years old may be potentially significant.


Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan-Coverage Screening Form

If the subject property is located within the Habitat Plan Permit Area​, submit a completed Coverage Screening Form. The Coverage Screening Form will assist in determining if the proposed project is classified as a “covered project” under the Plan. If the project is identified as a “covered project” per the Screening Form, submit the Fees and Conditions Worksheet with the application.

Fire Protection Information

Include the following information (if applicable) on the site plan.  Indicate existing or proposed.

  • Total square footage of proposed structure(s).
  • Type of construction per California Building Code of all existing and proposed structures.
  • Water source (name of water provider or on-site well).
  • If the source of water is on-site well, show the location and capacity of existing or proposed aboveground water tank(s), and means of delivering water at required pressure (e.g., fire pump or gravity).
  • Hydrants: Show type (wharf or standard) and location of closest available or proposed hydrant(s).
  • Private Access Road/Driveways: Show drivable width, vertical clearance, surface, load-bearing capacity, turning radii, percent grade, turnarounds, turnouts and bridges.


Clean Water Program Questionnaire​​

Pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act, the NPDES Municipal Storm Water Discharge Permit issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and County Nonpoint Source Pollution Ordinance, the County requires storm water treatment measures and pesticide use reduction measures for certain types of projects. A CWP questionnaire is required if your project is both: (1) located within the San Francisco Bay Watershed, and (2) not an individual single family home. The questionnaire assists the Land Development Engineering Section in determining whether the project will require storm water treatment measures.

Stanford University

Submit one copy of the Stanford University General Use Permit Project Checklist (8½ x 11) signed by a Stanford University LUEP Planner. Incorporate the completed checklist into the project plan set submittal.


Wireless Facility Co-location

Acknowledgements and Agreements Form, signed by the property owner. The signature of the facility lessee(s) is not sufficient to satisfy this requirement.


Other Reports and Studies

Depending on location, development intensity and site characteristics, additional reports (e.g. arborist, biology, archaeology, noise) may be required.

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Ordinance Provisions


"Fees" in a lime green rectangle





Fee Schedule



ASA Guidelines

Notice of Permit and Conditions of Approval

Sign Ordinance

Parking Ordinance

Wireless Telecommunication Facilities Design Guidelines

Architecture and Site Approval Blueprint Map

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