Department Hours:

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday

Contact Information:

Community Development Dept.

Brendan Vieg - Deputy Director

411 Main Street, 2nd Floor

P.O. Box 3420

Chico, CA 95927

Phone: (530) 879-6800


Residential Development

For any residential construction, the first step is to find the zoning for your property.

Zoning determines what can be on your property and which uses are allowed. Within the Residential zoning districts, zoning generally determines whether you can build one house or several dwelling units on your property.

What Is Your Zoning?

To find out zoning information on your property, you may do one of the following:

Residential Zoning Districts

Once you have determined your zoning, click on the link to access the Municipal Code Title 19. Refer to Division IV Chapter 19.40 -19.42 for Allowed Use Tables and General Development Standards (e.g., setbacks, minimum lot size) for your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are summaries and other helpful information regarding frequently asked residential development questions.

What is an Assessor's Parcel Number (APN)?

An Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) is a 12-digit number that is found on your tax bill or tax receipt. Each parcel of land has its own unique number that identifies the property’s location within the County. If you have a physical address, we can obtain your parcel number for you or you can access it on-line using the Interactive City Map feature of the City’s website.


What land uses are allowed on my property?

Allowable land uses in the Residential zoning districts are based on the property’s zoning and can be found in the Chico Municipal Code. A matrix is provided that lists uses allowed by right, uses requiring a Use Permit, and those uses that are prohibited. Click on the link below and navigate to Division IV, Chapter 19.42 Table 4-2 to view the matrix for each zoning district. If you do not know your property’s zoning district, click here: What is your zoning?

What are my building setbacks?

Building setbacks vary depending on the zoning district of the property and can be found in the Development Standards section in the Chico Municipal Code-Division IV, Chapter 19.42 (click on the link below). If you do not know the property’s zoning district, click here: What is your zoning?

Development Standards

Can my property be rezoned?

The current zoning and General Plan designations of a property both play a role in determining possible development and rezoning options. Contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800 to obtain zoning and General Plan designations for the property in question and discuss possible rezoning options with Community Development staff.

Can I convert my garage into another bedroom or office?

All single-family residential units must provide two off-street parking spaces. In order to convert garage space into a bedroom or office, an applicant must demonstrate the ability to meet the requirement of two off-street parking spaces without the garage. Contact Community Development staff at (530) 879-6800 for more information.

Can I build a second dwelling unit on my property?

Property owners in the R1 (Low Density Residential) and R2 (Medium Density Residential) zoning districts may apply for a Second Dwelling Unit Permit. Second dwelling units, also referred to as "Granny" or "Accessory" Units, are limited in size based on the square footage of the existing structure. Second dwelling units must meet the requirements of Chico Municipal Code Section 19.76.130. In addition, the City’s Building Division should be contacted at (530) 879-6700 for information regarding building and impact fees associated with a second dwelling unit. For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800.

What is the difference between a second dwelling unit and a guest house?

There are quite a few differences between a second dwelling unit and a guest house. A second dwelling unit (see Chico Municipal Code Section 19.76.130), unlike a guest house, is rentable, has its own utility meters and contains full kitchen and bath facilities. Guest houses (see Chico Municipal Code Section 19.76.100) are limited to a maximum of 250 square feet of livable floor area, do not contain kitchen or cooking facilities, and may not be rented or leased separately from the main dwelling. For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800.

Can I subdivide my property?

Depending on the property’s General Plan designation (which determines allowable density or the number of units per acre) and zoning (which regulates minimum lot size), it may be possible to subdivide your property. If you do not know the property’s zoning district, click here: What is your zoning? For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800.

Do I need a permit for a home-based business?

The Chico Municipal Code, Title 19, Chapter 19.20, addresses the matter of permits for home occupations. The purpose is to allow limited business activities in a manner that is accessory to and compatible with the residential characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood. If required, a Home Occupation Permit application must be filed with Community Development. In addition, a Business License must be obtained from the City’s Finance Division. For more information regarding a Business License, contact the City’s Finance Division at (530) 879-7300. For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800.

May I put a fence in my front yard?

Fences are generally allowed in front yards, but there are height restrictions. A three-foot fence may generally be built at the front property line and along the side yard(s) until it is set back fifteen (15) feet, after which point it is permitted to go to a height of six feet. Corner lots need to have a sight distance clearance and other restrictions. Fences and walls in excess of six feet require a Use Permit as well as a building permit. Fencing and screening standards are addressed in Chico Municipal Code, Title 19, Section 19.60.06. For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800.

How do I determine the location of my property line?

The City’s subdivision maps show the approximate location of your property lines. However, for a precise location, you will need to check the legal description of the property (check the Preliminary Title Report, if one is available) or hire a professional surveyor to determine the precise location. Fence lines are not necessarily property lines. For further assistance, contact Community Development at (530) 879-6800 or Development Engineering staff at (530) 879-6900.