Development Process

We know we’re the only game in town – there is no other place to acquire City building permits or land use/zoning approvals. Follow our step-by-step process for property development. Together, we'll build an attractive place to live work and visit.
Development Process

Define Your Project

What type of permits does your project need?
Permits are required whether you are remodeling your bathroom or building a new high rise, our Permit Center is a "one-stop" location to answer questions about what type of permits your specific project requires.

You can estimate your permit fees using our calculator. 



Cabinets and Countertops in Commercial Buildings: Only cabinets and countertops in private units or individual offices are exempt from permits. Cabinets in public use areas or common use areas will require a permit (reception lobbies, staff break rooms, service counters and similar spaces) since these are subject to accessibility requirements.
*Building Division review is required to confirm exemption.


Fences 7’tall or less: *Planning Division and Fire Prevention review is required.


Concrete Driveways and walkways on private property: Concrete driveways and walkways may require a permit if they are part of a wheelchair accessible route.
*Planning Division approval is required and Building Division review to confirm exemption.


Finishes: Carpet, paint, tile and wood flooring. Tile in wet interior locations will require a permit.


Retaining walls that are not over 4’ tall: (measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall) In order to be exempt from a permit, the retaining wall must not be supporting a steeply sloped surface called a surcharge.
*Planning Division approval is required. Building Division review is required to confirm exemption.  


Nonfixed Moveable Fixtures: Moveable cases, racks, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches tall do not require a permit. 


Shade Cloth Structures: Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes do not require a permit.
*Planning Division approval is required. Building Division review is required to confirm exemption.


Water Tanks < 5,000 gallons: Water tanks supported directly on grade do not need a permit if the height to width ratio does not exceed 2:1.
*Planning Division approval is required. Building Division review is required to confirm exemption.


Fixing plumbing leaks, repairing equipment, removing and replacing small portions of non-structural dryrot and the installation of data or low voltage wiring does not require a permit. If you are not sure if the work requires a permit or not, feel free to call the Permit Center at 510.583.4140.


When equipment replacement, gas leaks or other similar work must happen on an emergency basis, a building permit shall be obtained from the City by the next working day.

Site Information

What type of properties are allowed within the City of Hayward?
The City of Hayward has four different types of zoning:

  1. Commercial
  2. Downtown Commercial
  3. Industrial, Open Space & Public Facilities
  4. Residential

Explore our zoning charts below and see what type of use is permitted in a particular zone.

Beyond site zoning, other site criteria may determine which approval or permit is required.

Visit our Permit Center for more information.

Discretionary Review

Does your project require special approvals?
Discretionary Review is a higher level review of the proposed property use and architectural and design plans.

This special permit or approval may be needed for a number of reasons.

Plan Review

Do I need a Site Plan Review?
A site plan review is required along with land use permits for all new commercial and residential development (and industrial development that abuts residentially-zoned land) when the design of a project is:

  • not consistent in its entirety with the City of Hayward Design Guidelines and Development Policies; or
  • materially alters the appearance and character of the property or area
  1. Speak with a Planner at the Permit Center to review applicable regulations and submittal material.
  2. Submit completed application, filing fee and required materials to the Planning Division.
  3. After staff review, the applicant will be notified of additional information needed.
  4. Once the project review is complete, the Planning Director will make a decision to either approve or deny the project or refer it to the Planning Commission for a decision.
  5. Planning Director decisions may be appealed to the Planning Commission within 15 days of the decision.
  6. Planning Commission decisions may be appealed to the City Council within 10 days of the decision

Learn more about Site Plan Review
For more information, please call Planning at 510.583.4200.

Time Lines

(Site Plan Review, Variance and Administrative Use Permits Processing & Conditional Use Permit and Variance Processing)