General Plan Zoning Text Revisions

The Phase 3 Code revisions areavailable for review. The following is a summary of these revisions.

Parkland Requirements

Consistent with State law, the City has adopted EGMC 22.40, which provides for the dedication of land for park facilities as part of new development. The chapter also allows for the payment of an in-lieu fee where the project is too small to require a dedication, or the location of facility is not called for as part of an area master plan or as specified in the Parks Design Principles. Staff is proposing revisions to EGMC 22.40 to clarify part of the calculation process for the parkland required by each type of residential development, and to provide a clearer process for deferring the payment of the parkland in-lieu fee for multifamily development when it is part of the subdivision with other residential uses.

Staff is also proposing a new chapter in Title 16 that provides for the payment of an in-lieu fee for parkland by multifamily development when it is not part of a subdivision. There are a variety of multifamily development sites around the City that do not require a subdivision before moving to construction. This chapter would ensure the City collects a parkland fee from these developments, that is then used to pay for acquisition of park land elsewhere in the City, in coordination with Cosumnes Community Services District as provided in the Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies.

Responsibilities of the City Council and Planning Commission

EGMC 23.10 describes the responsibilities of the City's Planning Agency, which includes the City Council, Planning Commission, and Development Services Director. Staff proposes an amendment in sections 23.10.030 and 23.10.040 to provide a process, as required in State Government Code Section 65402, for determining that real property dedications, dispositions, vacations, and abandonments are consistent with the General Plan. In short, when proposed with a development application the designated approval authority (be it Planning Commission or City Council) would approve the conformity determination. If the action is not known at the time of application, it could be acted by the City Council with approval of the Final Map or Parcel Map, or by whichever body approved the original development application.

Official Interpretations and Similar Use Determinations

EGMC 23.12.040 provides a process for making official interpretations of the Zoning regulations. The general process is that the Development Services Director prepares an interpretation and then forwards it to the Planning Commission at its next available meeting for review and ratification. Staff proposes updating this text to clarify the process and more closely align with existing practice.

Various sections of the Zoning Code refer to a similar use determination, which is a process where a proposed use of land is not specifically listed in the Zoning Code but which can be determined similar to a use that is listed. Historically, the process of making a similar use determination has followed the official interpretation process. However, the relevant code sections refer to findings which are not listed in the official interpretation process. To correct this, staff recommends a new section EGMC 23.12.045 that provides for a similar use determination process with the necessary findings. The Development Services Director would be the approving authority and the determination is appealable to the Planning Commission.

Minor Deviations

Staff recommends clarifications to the Minor Deviation permit (EGMC 23.16.030) that more clearly describes the process for consideration and action. As a permit considered and approved by the Development Services Director, a minor deviation does not require a public hearing notice, provided approval does not require the imposition of conditions of approval or would be denied, or should, based upon the nature, location, size, or design of the project, be elevated to the Zoning Administrator.

Temporary Uses and Temporary Use Permit

The City established provisions for considering and permitting temporary uses as part of its 2006 Zoning Code. Temporary uses are those that occur for a limited duration and, because of this characteristic, do not impose the same long-term impacts as permanent uses. Examples of temporary uses include, but are not limited to, fireworks sales, Christmas tree lots, construction yards, garage sales, and temporary sales offices for new home sales. Temporary uses can also include an array of assembly uses, such as car shows, circuses, festivals, and outdoor entertainment and sporting events when not otherwise part of or consistent with a permitted use (e.g., competition at a swim complex or concert at a church would not be temporary uses because they occur at permitted facilities that support that kind of use).

Since 2007, staff has maintained a list of issues with the current regulations. These include the general structure (based upon time, rather than use), the timeframes provided for different uses, and some of the operational standards. To address these concerns, staff is recommending a comprehensive overhaul of both the temporary use permit and the development standards (EGMC 23.16.050 and 23.92). The revisions maintain many of the characteristics and functions found in the current process, but the overall repackaging will make the standards clearer to the reader.

Major components of the Temporary Use Permit and regulations for Temporary Uses include the following:

  • Temporary Use Permits
    • Approved by the Development Services Director.
    • Conditions may be imposed on the use.
    • A permit that would normally be valid for less than 30 days may be extended for no more than five days by the Director.
    • An applicant may request a permit to be valid for more than the maximum time permitted under the Code, subject to the approval of a Minor Use Permit by the Zoning Administrator. This would trigger a public hearing and public notice.
    • Permits expire at the end of the stated duration.
  • Development standards
    • An array of uses is exempt from the requirement for a permit, including on-site construction yards, emergency health facilities, entertainment and assembly uses consistent with the intended use of the facility, events at City, CCSD, and EGUSD property, garage sales, outdoor promotions of an on-site business (e.g., parking lot sale), private parties where there is no sale of food or beverage and the property is not being provided on the basis of compensation, fireworks booths, and temporary sales offices and model home complexes.
    • Uses requiring a permit include off-site construction yards, seasonal sales, and entertainment and assembly uses not otherwise exempt.
    • General development standards for all uses have been established, covering topics including access and circulation, animal care, emergency communication systems, fire protection, food and alcohol, medical services, site maintenance, site security, and storm water discharge.
    • Standards for specific uses are also listed. These include time limitations for certain uses (e.g., seven days for entertainment and assembly uses, four per year for garage sales), setback requirements for storage/cargo shipping containers.

    Accessory Structures and Landscaping for Residential Uses

    InJanuary 2021, staff presented an item to the City Council on design and permitting requirements for residential accessory structures. From this, the Council directed certain changes to the Code, which have been captured in EGMC 23.16.080.B (Design Review Permits) and 23.46 (Accessory Structures). In preparing these revisions, staff has identified additional revisions to lot coverage and landscaping that address ambiguity in the Code. The revisions include the following:

  • In the Residential zones (RD-1 through RD-40) any accessory building that is 800 square feet or larger is required to obtain a minor design review approval prior to issuance of a building permit. This permit requires a noticed public hearing before the Zoning Administrator.
  • Architectural design requirements for buildings over 120 square feet have been added. These include requirements for materials and colors that complement the primary structure, as well as requirements for windows, doors, and other architectural features to break up the massing of walls longer than 15 feet.
  • Clarifying that accessory buildings do not include kitchens but may include kitchenettes. If the building has a kitchen it is classified as an accessory dwelling unit and subject to the provisions of EGMC 23.90 (Accessory Dwelling Units).
  • Updating the setback and height standards in Table 23.46-1 to divide them into standards for RD zones and all other zones based upon the 800 square foot threshold.
  • Updating the allowed lot coverage to defer to a standard by zoning district and relocating the standard to Table 23.29-1. See additional discussion below in the Development Standards section.
  • In EGMC 23.54.050.B, the minimum standards for pervious surface for single family and two-family development are proposed for revision. These changes were considered in concert with the changes to the accessory structures changes and the addition of the maximum lot coverage.

    Allowed Uses

    Staff proposed several revisions to the allowed uses in the various zoning districts. These are located in EGMC 23.26.050 (Description of Land Use Classifications), Table 23.27-1 (Allowed Uses and Required Entitlements), EGMC 23.40.030 (Mobile Home Subdivision District RM-1), EGMC 23.42 (Mobile Home Park Combining District), and EGMC 23.42.060 (Rural Commercial Combining Zone) and are summarized as follows:

  • Revision to the description of the "agricultural tourism" use to limit the winery-related aspects to tasting and sales only. Production uses, including crushing, fermentation, and bottling would be off-site activities and are listed under "Winery" use. This eliminates an overlap between these two uses. Additionally, staff is recommending that the agricultural tourism use be allowed in the Rural Commercial Combining Zone by right. This area covers the retail zones in the Sheldon Town Center area at Grant Line Road and Wilton Road and is consistent with the character of the area.
  • Creation of a new "crop production, urban" use. This is discussed later in this report.
  • Creation of a new "distribution, logistics, and delivery center" use and concurrent revisions to the "wholesaling" use. This revision creates a clearer description of these uses and allows this use to be separated from the wholesaling function. The use would be allowed by right in the Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zones and allowed with a conditional use permit (CUP) in the MP and Light Industrial/Flex zones. Note, parking provisions for the new use have been added to Table 23.58-2 (Parking Requirements by Land Use) and are the same as the existing Wholesaling listing.
  • Revision to the allowed use listings for Caretaker Housing, Mobile Home Park, Navigation Housing, Supportive Housing, and Transitional Housing for consistency with State law and in implementation of the 2021 Housing Element.
  • Revisions to the Manufacturing Minor and Small Scale listings to allow by right in the Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zones. Minor manufacturing would be allowed with a minor use permit in the Light Industrial/Flex zone. These changes are supported by Economic Development staff and are in keeping with General Plan policies promoting employment-related uses.
  • Revision to the Personal Storage Facility listing to require a conditional use permit in the LI, LI/FX, and HI zones. With the recent push for these types of uses around the City, staff recommends this change to provide more scrutiny in consistency with General Plan policy and ensuring the development of jobs-producing uses in employment areas such as the industrial zones. Staff considered additional changes to prohibit the use in the GC and MP zones; however, these revisions are being held to a later date after projects that were recently approved have been constructed to avoid any concerns with impacts to existing approvals.

    Development Standards

    Staff is proposing the following revisions to the development standards for the base zoning districts as provided in Table 23.29-1, Parts A and B.

  • Reductions in the minimum setbacks in the RD-20 through RD-40 zones from 25 to 15 feet. This reduction provides greater design flexibility in achieving the density objectives of these zones.
  • Incorporation of a new maximum lot coverage from structures standards in the AG, AR, and RD zones. This change takes the place of the existing maximum coverage language in the Accessory Structures chapter. The provisions have been scaled on a progressive basis in keeping with the intended density and intensity of the zone. For example, lower density residential zones allow for up to 75 percent of the site to be covered, while high density multifamily zones allow up to 90-95 percent of the lot to be covered. These changes align with the landscaping standards discussed previously. Note, the change from 85 percent in the RD-18 zone to a lower 75 percent in the RD-20 and RD-25 zones is intentional because the RD-18 zone could be developed with a townhome product that would have a more reduced open space area on the individual lot, compared to the RD-20 zone that would more likely be an apartment complex with more common area. Additionally, this standard does not apply in the commercial, mixed use, office, and industrial zones as these zones already employ a floor area ratio standard.
  • Revision in Footnote 3 of Table Part A relative to setbacks for single family residential in the RD-1 through RD-7 zone. The note addresses the setback requirements when the sidewalk is separated from the curb by a landscape strip and how the living area of the home may have a reduced setback.
  • Revision to the height limits in the commercial, mixed use, office, and industrial zones. First, the existing standard for height limits when within 100 feet of residential is clarified to apply to the portions of buildings that are within the 100-foot distance and not to the entirety of the building when only a portion is within the 100-foot distance. Second, a new standard for buildings, or portions thereof, that are more than 500 feet from residential is provided. This new standard allows the by-right building height to be as high as 90 feet in the office zones and 120 feet in the industrial. These standards are the same as provided in the Zoning Code in 2006 when the document was comprehensively rewritten. The standards were revised in 2010 to simply the Code, but this allowance was removed. The existing provision to allow for taller buildings through design review approval is maintained.

Density Bonus

State law requires the local agencies provide a process for allowing increases in density for residential projects that provide affordable housing. As part of the process the local agency must provide a range of concessions or incentives. The requirements for density bonus are strictly regulated in State law. A series of revisions were adopted by the State in 2020; the proposed revisions bring the City's local provisions into consistency with these changes.


Staff recommends making clarifications on the fence standards relative to street side yards. As currently written the standards require fences over three feet high to be setback a minimum of five feet from the back of sidewalk within the required street side yard. However, graphics and descriptions in EGMC 23.100 show that the street side yard ends at the beginning of the rear yard, which is not the intent. The updated text in Table 23.52-1 corrects for this and is accompanied by changes in the description and illustrations of yards (discussed later in this report).

RV Parking

EGMC 23.58.040.C addresses parking requirements for recreational vehicles, trailers, and vessels. Two revisions are proposed in this section. First, clarification regarding setbacks from street side yards, similar to the fence issue described above. Second, the reference to compliance with applicable Homeowners Association regulations (covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs) is revised to make it clearer that the property owner is responsible for ensuring compliance, not the City.

Religious Institution Housing Development Parking

In 2020 the State adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 1851, which provides for special parking reductions for housing developments that are part of an affiliated religious institution. The law is very prescriptive in its requirements and staff has incorporated these into the Special Parking Permit process in EGMC 23.58.060.


Table 23.62-1 provides standards for flags and flag poles. Staff recommends updating the standards for flags in commercial, office, and industrial zones to allow up to three flag poles (from two) and increase the allowed area for flags to 72 square feet (from 24 square feet). This change would allow for independent poles for the Federal and State flags, plus one additional flag of a commercial nature, such as a corporate flag. If the flag size is distributed evenly across each pole, it would allow for each flag to be four-feet by six-feet, which is a standard flag size. Staff is also proposing a maximum size for each flag of 40 square feet, which allows for a five-foot by eight-foot flag.

Outdoor Seating

EGMC 23.86.020.D provides that when an establishment, such as a restaurant, has outdoor seating with more than 12 chairs, such seating is subject to design review approval. Staff recommends increasing this threshold from 12 to 20; in other words, it would allow up to 20 seats by right without triggering a permit.

Accessory Dwelling Units

In 2019, the State comprehensively updated regulations for accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The City has adopted these requirements in full. In 2020, additional legislation was adopted that clarifies the number of ADUs that are allowed on a property. The proposed revisions in EGMC 23.90.040.D clarify that a property may have one primary dwelling, one detached ADU, and one attached junior ADU.

Urban Crop Production

General Plan implementation program Actions 1.1 and 6.5 provides for the City to develop regulations for allowing urban farms. These actions support General Plan Policy AG-2-2, which provides that the City "Support urban agriculture opportunities such as backyard, rooftop, indoor, and other gardens that produce ecologically sound food for personal consumption."

Several communities in the region have implemented urban agriculture programs, with West Sacramento's being one of the most comprehensive. These programs allow for undeveloped, urban properties to be developed with commercial farming operations that can provide local residents with direct access to local produce.

Based upon research staff has conducted into the West Sacramento regulations, as well as other programs and research available from the American Planning Association, staff is proposing a new use listing for Urban Crop Production. The use would be divided into two sub-categories based upon size - those less than one-acre and those one-acre or more. Uses under one acre would be allowed by right and those above would require a minor use permit. Development standards addressing equipment use, maintenance, composting, sales operations, hours of operations, and utility connection are covered. The use would be limited to the RD, commercial, mixed use, office, and industrial zones only. The use would not be allowed in agricultural and rural residential zones, as crop production in those areas is provided in a separate use listing. The size break in the permitting is intended to address the distinction between a private garden in a backyard and a larger commercial-style operation.

Parking standards for the use have also been added to Table 23.58-2 (Parking Requirements by Land Use). No specific parking is required for crop production of less than one acre; a minimum of one space is required for a use of one acre or more.

Wireless Communication Facilities

In 2020, the State adopted AB 2421, which provides regulations for permitting of emergency standby generators for wireless communication facilities. Staff has prepared revisions to EGMC 23.94.040 to incorporate the State requirements. These changes only apply to macro (large) wireless facilities and do not apply to small cell facilities.

Staff is also recommending changes to the definition of co-location such that it applies to two or more wireless communication facilities in a single tower or base station, regardless of the carrier arrangement (EGMC 23.100.020.C)


As previously mentioned, staff has identified a need for clarification in the definitions and descriptions for the various yard and lot types. Various graphics in EGMC 23.100 (General Definitions) are proposed for revision and new definitions for "yard" are provided.

Southeast Policy Area

In the Southeast Policy Area (SEPA) Special Planning Area, staff recommends adding a footnote to the maximum height limit for office park buildings allowing them to go higher than 90 feet upon approval of a major design review. Similar language exists in the Citywide development standards in the BP and MP zones, so this change provides the same flexibility in SEPA.