Salt Lake City


Planning Division | (801) 535-7700 |

Starting a Project

Starting a Project

1. Planning Counter / One-Stop Shop

The Planning Counter is your first contact with the Planning Division, here you can meet with a planner or call to get information and guidance on your project. The Planning Counter is part of the One-Stop Shop, where all development related questions can be answered. Salt Lake City established the One-Stop Shop staffed by city planners and building code examiners to provide a single point of contact for information on new development within the city.

The Planning Counter is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Located at the City & County Building in Room 215.

2. Understanding What is Allowed on Your Property

Zoning Resources

Each Zoning District outlines the base requirements such as height, setbacks, uses, façade articulations, required glazing, etc. The zoning map shows what Zoning District each property is located. Also, some districts have additional requirements; please refer to the Zoning Ordinance for specific requirements.

Overlay Districts

The Overlay District provides supplemental regulations or standards pertaining to specific geographic features or land uses. Overlay Districts are in addition to the “base” or underlying Zoning District.

Subdivision Ordinance

The Subdivision Ordinance ensures that any division of land provides adequate sized lots for development and access to the property.

General Plans

The General Plans provide vision and goals for future development in the City. Please review the applicable general plan document for your project and consider the Urban Design section when designing your project.

Historic Preservation Program

The Historic Preservation Program protects historically important neighborhoods and sites in the City. Please refer to the Salt Lake City Historic Districts to see if your property is located on a Historic District.

3. Pre-Application Meetings

Certain projects will benefit from, or require, one or both of the following pre-application meetings.

Development Review Team (DRT)

Together the Planning and Zoning, Building Services, Public Utilities, Transportation and Engineering divisions conduct these meetings to ensure project stakeholders and the City are thoroughly informed of how City requirements and considerations will impact a project, saving everyone time and money during project development. View application & submittal requirements

Planning Pre-Submittal Review Meeting

During the concept stage of project development, project owners can schedule meetings with City representatives to discuss city codes and policies, and conditions that may be placed on the project to achieve compliance with them. These meetings can be especially helpful in when submitting applications to work in Historic Districts or on Landmark Sites.  In some circumstances these meetings are required.

Pre-submittal meetings are held on Thursdays in 30 minute slots between 1:30 and 3:30 pm. To schedule a meeting, please contact the Planning Counter at

4. Submit an Application

In order to formally initiate a Planning process, an application will need to be submitted. Applications are submitted online through the Citizen Access Portal. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to submit your application.

Site Plan Requirements

A Site Plan is a requirement on most of our applications. View Site Plan Requirements.

Typical Processing Timeframes

Typical Processing Timeframes vary depending on the type of application and complexity of the project. Incomplete or missing information on drawings and application forms will delay processing of the application.

Project Planner Assigned to Application

The application will be assigned to a Project Planner. The Project Planner will review the application and be responsible for processing the application through the planning stages. Applicants may always call their assigned planner with questions.

Status of an Application

Application details can be accessed at the Citizen Access Portal, by selecting the planning tab, and entering the petition number.

5. Citizen Participation / Public Hearing

Citizen Participation

Salt Lake City encourages citizen participation and is actively seeking input from the public. Citizen Participation plays a major role in the planning process. Citizens can participate in a number of different ways from the complex process of creating a General Plan to the simple review of a Conditional Use.

Community Council

Depending on the type of project, the Project Planner will contact the respective Community Council so the applicant may present the project to the Community Council.

Online Open Houses

If more than one neighborhood is affected, the Project Planner will host an Online Open House as an opportunity for the public to review the project and provide comments and questions.

Public Notice

A public notice will be published in accordance with the notification requirements of the project type. This typically includes posting on the city web site, mailings to neighboring property owners and residents and for amendments to zoning or general plans publishing in the local newspaper.

Public Hearing

The respective decision-making body will hold a Public Hearing on the project and render a decision. For some projects, an additional City Council Public Hearing before the City Council will also be required for a final decision.

6. Approval Process

Review & Staff Report

The Project Planner will review the project, and in most cases other City departments will review the project simultaneously while the Project Planner will coordinate all reviews. Subsequently, the Project Planner will prepare a Staff Report with a recommendation to the decision-making commission or a Hearing Officer.

Zoning Administrator/Administrative Decision (No Public Hearing Required)

These applications can be approved administratively and no public hearing, but confirmation of compliance is required. However, if confirmation of compliance is not clear or there is neighborhood opposition, the project will be forward to the Planning Commission or Historic Landmark Commission’s approval and a public hearing.

Decision-making Bodies (Public Hearing Required)

The decision-making bodies have the responsibility of implementing and administering the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. Decision-making bodies include:

Planning Commission Historic Landmark Commission – The zoning ordinance grants each commission rights to approve or deny certain projects. These decisions are made at public hearings, wherein the body reviews the project, takes public input, and makes a decision to approve, deny or table for further review.

Administrative Hearing Officer – An Administrative Hearing Officer (either the Planning Director or his appointee) is granted review authority of applications that are categorized by the Zoning Ordinance as low impact.

Appeals Hearing Officer – The Appeals Hearing Officer has been established to hear and decide appeals from decisions made by the Planning Commission, the Historic Landmark Commission, the Administrative Hearing Officer and the Zoning Administrator. In addition the Appeals Hearing Officer is who may grant variances to the Zoning Ordinance.

Final Approval

After the respective decision-making body has made a decision, the Project Planner will send the applicant a copy of its findings.

City Council

The City Council has the final decision on legislative items. A legislative item creates some type of new regulation or law. The Council takes public input, additional public hearing and then votes on the item. Elected official review is necessary as the items affect policy direction in the City.

7. Appeal of a Decision

An individual or entity that has been adversely affected by the action of a decision making body may appeal the item pursuant to one of the procedures below.

Administrative Decision

An administrative decision is appealed to the Appeals Hearing Officer. Appeals must be filed within 10 days of the decision.

Appeals Hearing Office Decision

An appeal of an Appeals Hearing Officer decision is appealed to the district court. Appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision.

Planning Commission Decision

Planning Commission decision is appealed to Appeals Hearing Officer. The appeal must be filed within 10 calendar days of the record of decision.

Historic Landmarks Commission Decision

Historic Landmark Commission decision is appealed to the Appeals Hearing Officer. The appeal must be filed within 10 calendar days of the record of decision. Applicant of an HLC decision being appealed can submit within thirty (30) days of a decision.

Appeal Process

The appellant must submit the appeal in writing to the Planning Director, who then schedules it for a public hearing and review by the Appeals Hearing Officer. The Appeals Hearing Officer must weigh the evidence presented by the appellant and staff, and determine whether or not the previous decision was made in error. The Appeals Hearing Officer may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the decision. 

8. Building Permits / Building Code

After the decision-making body’s findings are issued, plans may be submitted for building permits review. Building permits will not be issued until after any appeal period has expired. Visit the Building Services website for building code, building permit, and zoning enforcement questions. You can also contact them at 801-535-7968.

Building Services is open for walk-ins Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, except Wednesdays when the doors open at 9:00 am.

If you require additional information, please contact us at or 801.535.7700.