The Development Services Department is primarily responsible for all Planning Services, Economic Development, Housing, Code Enforcement, Building and Safety, Engineering, and Public Works.
The Department’s mission is to protect and enhance the community’s quality of life by ensuring implementation of the City Council’s adopted goals, policies and strategies for sustainable economic development and enhancement.
The Building & Safety Division is an essential component of the planning process to ensure safe, accessible, and sustainable structures in the City of Yucaipa. Prior to the issuance of building permits, the Building & Safety Division performs plan check and inspection services to advance public safety in the built environment and to ensure compliance with all California Building Codes. The responsibilities of the Division also include providing the general public with basic construction information, calculating fees, and issuing building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and demolition permits.
City codes and ordinances have been created to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for residents of Yucaipa. The Code Enforcement Division provides education of applicable codes, works with residents and business owners to achieve code compliance, and seeks to correct violations of the Municipal Code as it applies to the public’s health, safety and general welfare. City Code Enforcement Officers investigate reports of most code violations and ensure that the required standards are met.
The Engineering Department is responsible for all aspects of the City’s engineering, design, and construction operations and provides a wide range of services for nearly any aspect of private land development activities. The Engineering Department is responsible for the construction of all improvements occurring in public rights-of-way or easements and develops and administers the Capital Improvement Program and the Annual Pavement Rehabilitation and Maintenance Projects. Staff reviews and provides input for all private development projects and checks all maps and improvement plans for conformance with the Development Code and applicable regulations. Staff also issues all encroachment permits and inspects all construction within the public rights-of-way.
Planning staff assist the City Council, Planning Commission, other staff members and the general public with all aspects of land use entitlements. Major programs include the General Plan, Development Code, Development Impact Fees, contract administration, records maintenance and inter-governmental coordination.
The Planning Division staff consists of City employees that are committed to providing the highest degree of professionalism in the performance of their duties, and is available to help those with questions on existing projects or those that would like to build or start a project in the City.
A General Plan is a key planning document that shapes the future of the community by providing the direction for growth and changes that will occur, and includes goals, policies and implementation actions that address important community needs ranging from land use and mobility, housing, to public safety.
In accordance with California Government Code Section 65103(a), each city in California “must periodically review and revise, as necessary, their General Plan.” Although it is not embodied in State law, most General Plans, including Yucaipa’s, are designed to remain in place for twenty years. The City of Yucaipa’s first General Plan was adopted in 1992. Subsequent to adoption in 1992, the first comprehensive ten-year update of the original General Plan was adopted in 2004. With the City’s General Plan at the end of its expected twenty-year planning horizon, City Council initiated the process of an update of the General Plan in 2012. In July 2012, the City entered into a Professional Services Agreement with Placeworks to complete the comprehensive General Plan Update and related Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The City’s current General Plan was adopted by the City Council on April 11, 2016.
Pursuant to state law, the Housing Element of the General Plan is required to be updated more frequently than the rest of the General Plan. The City is currently undergoing an update to correspond with the 6th housing cycle, which covers the period of 2021-2029.
All new construction in the City of Yucaipa may be subject to Development Impact Fees. For further information or assistance in completing the electronic forms, please contact the Development Services Department at 909-797-2489, ext. 224. Please note that these fees do not include building permit fees, or any Development Impact Fees from other agencies including the water/sewer purveyor or the Yucaipa Calimesa Joint Unified School District
Current Planning involves the review of various types of land use applications to ensure that future development will provide safe and high-quality built environment for the City’s residents, visitors, and employees of the many businesses in town. This includes ensuring compliance with the City’s Development Code and Citywide Design Guidelines. Most planning applications are processed on an actual cost basis, with staff time billed against an initial deposit. Some applications are reviewed administratively and approved by the City Planner, and some are required to be approved by the City’s Planning Commission or the City Council.
Advance Planning is associated with the long-term vision of the City and involves the creation or updating of policies and plans that guide the City’s growth and development in the future. These policies and plans are then utilized by Planning staff to evaluate development applications (Current Planning Projects) for consistency with the community’s vision for future growth.
American Viticultural Area (AVA) Implementation Project
What is the Housing Element?
The General Plan serves as a blueprint for the future of the city, and includes goals and policies intended to shape and guide its development. State law requires that each and every city adopt a General Plan containing at least seven elements, including the Housing Element. Unlike other general plan elements, the Housing Element is required by law to be updated every 8 years and is subject to detailed statutory requirements and also a mandatory review by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
The General Plan’s Housing Element is the City of Yucaipa’s official housing plan and serves as the chief policy document on housing-related issues. A Housing Element provides the plan and programs that focus on conserving and improving existing affordable housing; providing adequate housing sites for all income levels; assisting in the development of affordable housing; removing constraints to housing development; and promoting equal housing opportunities.
Each year, the City must also prepare an annual progress report showing its efforts towards meeting the goals of the Housing Element, including a counting of all of the housing projects that were proposed and/or approved, and the number of housing units that were built.
What does the Housing Element contain?
The Housing Element contains information on the housing needs of the community, including the needs of lower-income households, the homeless, people with disabilities, and seniors. The majority of these needs are determined through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (or RHNA, pronounced RHEE-NAH, see below). The Housing Element also establishes the goals, objectives, and policies that are the foundation of the City’s housing strategy. Lastly, it contains an inventory of potential development sites within the city that could accommodate the RHNA allocation of affordable housing which the City has been assigned.
What is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)?
The RHNA is an allocation of the State’s projected housing needs split among the various regions and cities of California. Pursuant to Section 65588 of the California Government Code, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is given a number of housing units that it must accommodate by HCD. For the upcoming 8-year RHNA cycle, the state has given SCAG an allocation of 1,341,827 new housing units. To ensure that cities do not “overlook” their local responsibilities to provide housing opportunities for all income levels, each city is assigned from SCAG a “fair share” number of housing units that it needs to be accommodated in the next housing cycle. Throughout the RHNA process, the City has voiced its concerns on the overall regional allocation and has also voiced its concerns to SCAG to ensure that its methodology does not disproportionally allocate housing units to the Inland Empire region.
Yucaipa has been allocated 2,866 new housing units through this process. The number of units is divided among the following income categories.
|Very-low income||Low Income||Moderate income||Above-moderate income|
Is Yucaipa required to make sure that all of these units are built?
The RHNA allocation is not a mandate that the City ensure a certain number of units are built. In addition, the City cannot force developers to build units nor is the City required to build the units themselves. However, the City must demonstrate that there is enough land zoned at the appropriate densities that would support the residential development needed meet the RHNA allocation. A variety of recent state laws have resulted in significantly more stringent requirements for the efforts to ensure that land is zoned to facilitate the required housing sites identified in the Housing Element. This includes limitations on what can be considered a feasible site and new more rigorous requirements for the analysis of identify potential housing sites. These changes have been required by the state as an effort to avoid creating ‘paper’ designated affordable housing sites that feature size and development limitations which may make them infeasible to complete, but these requirements also constrains the number of sites that would have otherwise been considered in prior Housing Elements. The City must also show that its Development Code and requirements, or other policies do not unduly constrain the development of housing.
What is the Housing Inventory?
As part of the Housing Element process, the City generates a list of properties within the City that have the ability to be developed with the number of units that have been allocated to the City. This list becomes a part of the Housing Element. Sites which are listed in the Housing Inventory do not have to be used solely for housing. The City is required only to show that sites could be used for housing, but the actual use of the sites is always a decision made by the owners and developers. However, if a site in the Housing Inventory is developed with less units or at a higher income range than anticipated in the Housing Element, “No Net Loss” provisions under state law dictate that the City is required to replace that site with another to ensure that the inventory’s capacity is maintained.
What happens if the City does not complete the Housing Element update, or if the State fails to Certify the Housing Element?
If HCD determines that a jurisdiction’s Housing Element fails to substantially comply with the State’s Housing Element Law, there are serious consequences that extend beyond the realm of residential land use planning. Non-compliance can result in the following consequences:
- RHNA assignment that is not accommodated in one housing cycle will be rolled over to the next housing cycle, increasing the number of units and the potential land a city is required to designate for multi-family housing during the next Housing Element Update cycle.
- A city would become vulnerable to lawsuits for noncompliance, including from the State of California.
- A city would risk the loss of transportation funding and become ineligible for a number of state and federal grants.
- A city will be required to update the housing element every 4 years instead of every 8 years.
If the Attorney General files a lawsuit for a violation related to housing element compliance and the jurisdiction does not bring its housing element into compliance after seeking remedies, the jurisdiction can be fined up to $100,000 per month until the violation is corrected.
What role does the community play in the Housing Element update?
Local government must make a concerted effort to achieve public participation in the Housing Element process, gaining input from people of all socioeconomic groups within the community. Public participation in the process is key to the implementation of the Housing Element and will:
- Assist in the development of the Housing Element;
- Identify key community concerns; and
- Ensure that community voices are heard.
Public participation will be obtained through surveys and through study sessions with the City Council. At the end of the day, the Housing Element is a tool to help encourage the housing needed for the current and future residents of the City.
For more information, please visit the following sites:
California Department of Housing and Community Development, Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements –
Southern California Association of Governments –
The Freeway Corridor Specific Plan (FCSP) area provides the largest undeveloped area in Yucaipa, comprised of 1,242 acres of land, and is poised to capture the regional demand for commercial and residential uses. Pursuant to the General Plan, the FCSP’s objective is to provide for a complete community and is situated in an ideal location to integrate with local and regional transportation systems. The existing FCSP was originally developed in 2007/8, right before the great recession that resulted in dramatic changes to the retail and commercial industry. Since the adoption of the FCSP, the City has also completed a comprehensive General Plan update, which was adopted in 2016, which among other things, resulted in the modification to the City’s Hillside Overlay District requirements.
To address these changes The City of Yucaipa was awarded a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to prepare an update to the FCSP that will reflect and support the policies provided within the 2016 General Plan update, provide consistency with SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, and to reflect the current and projected needs of the commercial and residential market in order to best support the future development of the area.
Please check back periodically for updates.
Draft Vision and Guiding Principles
“Yucaipa Valley AVA is recognized as a thriving, award-winning viticulture region based on sustainable growing and harvesting practices. Successful commercial vineyards have been firmly established within Yucaipa, and consequently wine making, tasting rooms and small inns have emerged in locations that protect and enhance the rural atmosphere. Sensitive habitat areas have been preserved, further enhancing the beauty of the area, and an expansive trail system is enjoyed by residents and visitors. Development options for property owners have incentivized the dedication and conservation of agricultural land for viticulture.”
- Support viticulture and the wine making industry in a way that protects the rural atmosphere of Yucaipa.
- Honor the rights of existing property owners.
- Follow a planned approach to the development of the wine industry to encourage appropriate wine-related economic growth and agritourism.
- Encourage sustainable viticulture and wine making practices.
- Support appropriate small-scale winery- related accessory uses including tasting rooms and bed and breakfast inns where infrastructure permits.
Current Activity/Phase II
The City is currently developing a master plan that will support future viticulture within the City. If you have additional questions, thoughts or comments, feel free to contact Benjamin Matlock, City Planner, at 909-797-2489 x261. If you would like to be part of a contact list for future updates and/or meetings, please email Chris Mee at email@example.com.
To support the AVA implementation, the City has pursued grant funding and was awarded a $250,000 Sustainable Lands Conservation Program (SALC) grant from the State Department of Conservation to support the Phase II project.
Interest has grown within the Community to allow for crop cultivation of wine grapes throughout the City, with some small-scale vineyards that have been recently planted. In addition, the City is home to two-locally based wineries, which currently import grapes from other wine regions, and features another winery directly outside of the City limits. On July 9, 2018, the City Council awarded a $5,000 Community Activity Grant to support the efforts of the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance (YVWA) for their petition to the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to establish the City of Yucaipa and surrounding areas as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). This forward momentum suggests that other opportunities for additional wine making efforts will occur in the future, especially once the AVA designation is finally approved by the TTB.
Winemaking presents several different elements from a land use perspective that are not currently addressed by the City’s Development Code; including the establishment of a winery and associated accessory uses, including but not limited to licensed and bonded manufacturing facilities, public tasting rooms, and the land use compatibility of a vineyard adjacent to existing uses. This industry is currently impeded by the lack of agriculturally zoned land; most wine regions in California were created within lands that are zoned for agriculture and that have been historically developed for vineyards. The majority of the undeveloped land within the City, such as the North Bench, is currently zoned for residential uses, and not only are they zoned as residential, much of the area has approved residential projects and the land use rights that are granted as a result. As such, the potential for the loss of available housing sites, coupled with the City’s need to continue to have sites available for development that can meet the state-requirement for housing production and the ‘no net loss’ provisions, must be a factor in the land use review.
An undertaking as substantial as the implementation of an AVA should include input from a broad coalition of community members and stakeholders. To support this input, the City Council established the AVA Planning Committee (AVAPC) to help work through the various issues and different ideas from these stakeholders. The AVAPC is comprised of the following:
- Two (2) City Council members
- Two (2) representatives from the Planning Commission
- One (1) representative from the Trails and Open Space Committee
- One (1) representative from the Economic Development Advisory Committee
- One (1) representative from the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance
- One (1) North bench property owner (15 acres minimum land area)
- Three (3) members of the public at large
To help better understand the best approach to use for the City, a two-phased approach was implemented with Phase I being the research and initial outreach phase, and where Phase II would be development of the actual tool.
On September 12, 2019, the City Council approved a Professional Services Agreement with PlaceWorks, a planning consultant firm, to provide professional services for the Phase I part of the process. Over the past year, the AVAPC has been exploring both planning and incentive-based options to help support the potential of an emerging wine industry within the community. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, public engagement was conducted to solicit feedback on developing the appropriate “Yucaipa Style” and ultimately, the outreach completed during Phase I included one field workshop in Temecula, over 8 public meetings and 14 stakeholder interviews. Phase I also included the preparation of various case studies that were considered by the AVAPC and public as Yucaipa developed its own AVA identity.
Through the research efforts as well as community and stakeholder input, the Phase I report was prepared and presented to City Council. Based on the existing conditions in the City, three alternatives to support a new wine industry were identified and evaluated: Alternative One is a Transfer of Development Rights program, Alternative Two is a master plan approach with a clustered approach to create land specific for vineyards and wineries, and Alternative Three is permitting commercial uses in the residential district. At the regular City Council Meeting of January 25, 2021, the City Council directed staff to proceed with Alternative Two as the approach to be used for Phase II, and to have staff prepare a scope of work and contract to begin the development of a Master Plan that would encourage the development of a wine industry.
How can I find the zoning of my property?
What does the number mean for the zoning district?
The numbers at the of the residential Land Use District names generally refers to the minimum lot sizes. For example, -72C refers to 7,200 square feet, -10M refers to 10,000 square feet, -1 refers to 1 acre, etc. Please note that for RM-72C and RM-10M, this lot size does not refer to the permitted density for multiple-family projects, which is instead 8.7 du/ac. The exception to this rule is the City’s RM-24, which instead refers to the permitted density of 24 du/ac.
Can the City recommend anyone to help with my project?
The City cannot recommend anyone for your project. However, we have compiled a list of local firms that provide planning and engineering services. You may reach out to them or use someone you have prior experience with to assist.
Can I build an Accessory Dwelling Unit or “Granny Flat” on my property?
ADUs are permitted on residentially-zoned properties that have a house on them, and provide an incremental way of adding affordable housing to the community and rental income opportunities for property owners. General information on ADUs are available from the City’s ADU flyer.
What size fence can I build on my residential property?
Section 87.0510 of the Yucaipa Development Code provides the fence height requirements for the City. In residential districts, the maximum height permitted in the front yard setback area is 4 feet tall, and outside of that setback, fences are permitted to go up to 6 feet tall. However, in the RL Land Use District, a 5-foot open fence may also be permitted in the front yard setback. Fences that are taller may only be granted subject to approval of a Variance. Please note that fences are not permitted in the public right-of-way.
Can I build a workshop or metal garage on my residential property?
Detached accessory structures may be permitted on your property. However, structures over 1,200 square feet in size, 20 feet tall, or of an unconventional design, including metal workshops, are subject to approval of a Special Use Permit for Architecture Review by the Planning Commission. As part of the approval, the Planning Commission must make certain findings, including that the appearance is compatible and subordinate to the residence. The application is available here: Special Use Permit Application.
Can I run a business out of my home?
This will depend on the type of business activity that is conducted. If a room of the residence is used strictly as an office, where no products are stored onsite and there are no customers that visit, the home-based office can be permitted with just a business license. Activities that involve the storing or creation of products, or where customers will visit may be approved through a Home Occupation Permit. More intensive uses that are out of the character for a neighborhood, including automotive repair, is prohibited
How can I find my property lines?
The City’s zoning map can show the general area of the property lines, and through that map, you can also access the County’s parcel map page for the area, but these are not to be relied on for a precise location. To help confirm the exact locations of a property line would require hiring a surveyor to officially delineate the boundary.
Does the City allow the growing or selling of marijuana?
Commercial marijuana activity is currently prohibited in the City of Yucaipa. However, pursuant with state law, the cultivation of no more than six marijuana plants is allowed inside a private residence, or inside a “fully enclosed and secure accessory structure” located upon the grounds of a private residence.
How long will it take to process my planning entitlement application?
The Planning Division is committed to providing an expeditious and timely review of all projects that are received. The review process is typically dependent on a few different factors: the complexity of the project, whether the project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, if a public hearing is required for approval, and as always, when the application is deemed complete. The more complete and thorough the initial submittal usually will result in a faster process.
The Public Works Department is responsible for all aspects of the City’s public works operations and provides a wide range of services. The Public Works Department consists of two divisions: Parks and Facilities Maintenance and Street Maintenance.
The Parks and Facilities Maintenance Division is responsible for maintaining 160 acres of developed park land and daily maintenance of all City facilities. This division is also responsible for the City’s motor pool operations, maintenance and upkeep of the municipal swimming pool, and ball field preparation. Yucaipa Parks and Facilities Tour
The Street Maintenance Division is responsible for the maintenance of all street and drainage facilities located within public rights-of-way. The Division is funded by gas tax receipts, solid waste franchise fees, and a portion of Measure I revenues.