For Homeowners and Residents

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We consider our residential neighborhoods one of Palm Springs’ greatest assets, and have organized our planning department to support and protect the single family character of Palm Springs.  The information below addresses five of the most common concerns people have about their homes and City Planning.  We invite your questions, clarifications and suggestions.  Topics covered:

  • New Homes and Additions
  • Home Occupations
  • Hillside Homes
  • Historic Preservation
  • Vacation Rentals & Event Houses
  • Code Enforcement

New Homes and Additions – If you are building a new home or adding to an existing home, the review can be very simple. If your project conforms to the maximum height and lot coverage, the minimum parking and all the required yard depths (or “setbacks” from property line) you may be able to skip the planning review and go directly to the Building Department.

  Regulations for Single Family Residences
  92.01.00 “R-1” single-family residential zones.
  92.01.01 Uses permitted.
  92.01.02 Uses prohibited.
  92.01.03 Property development standards.
  92.01.04 Property maintenance standards.


If your home or homesite is on a hillside lot, or if it is located along a Major Thoroughfare (for example, Sunrise Way or Palm Canyon Drive) your project will be reviewed for exterior design and landscaping through Architecture Review.

Application for Minor Architectural Review

Some projects have difficulty meeting the required zoning standards (height, setbacks, etc.), and you may apply for relief through an Administrative Minor Modification or a Variance. These two applications require that you show why your project cannot meet the zoning standards. Justification for these requests can include an undersized or awkwardly shaped lot or existing conditions of development which preclude reasonable additions. Administrative Minor Modifications are granted for small deviations from the City’s standards, while Variances are for larger requests. In order to preserve the integrity of the City’s zoning ordinance, the test for a Variance is difficult to meet for most properties. 

Application for an Administrative Minor Modification
                                                                                                    Application for a Variance

Home Occupations – Many people like to run businesses from their homes, and the City allows home-based businesses which do not compromise the quiet nature of single family neighborhoods. You may apply for a home occupation at the Business License department. 

Regulations for Home Occupations

Hillside Homes – Homes or homesites located on lots with slopes over 10% are considered “hillside homes”. Hillside homes are subject to Architecture Review, as noted above. There are special rules for development on the City’s hillside areas, which you should review with your designer and the Planning Department before embarking on your project. 

Regulations for Hillside Homes

Historic Preservation – The City of Palm Springs values its past, which includes important examples of architecture from the last one hundred years.  When a building is classified for protection, any exterior change is reviewed by the Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB). Check with the Planning Department for information about the status of your building, or you can find additional information about historic preservation at the website, Historic Resources.

Regulations for Historic Resources

Vacation Rentals and Event Houses – As a vacation and tourist destination, Palm Springs has a tradition of welcoming visitors seeking a special experience. Accommodations vary widely, from first-class hotels, to intimate boutique pensiones, to rental single family homes. Rental homes require registration to assure that guests respect the neighbors: 

Regulations for Vacation Rentals

Homes may also be used for special events, including weddings, historic tours and the like. Registration and public notice of special events is also required so that the peace and comfort of adjacent neighborhoods are preserved: 

 Regulations for Event Houses
 Event House Application
 Event House Fees


Code Enforcement – Maintaining the quality of our residential neighborhoods is a high priority in the City. If you believe a neighbor has neglected their property such that it is a nuisance to the public, the City’s Property Maintenance Ordinance provides a means for bringing properties into a reasonable and safe condition. 

Regulations for Property Maintenance

The City has an active, on-going code enforcement department which is dedicated to the fair enforcement of the City’s rules. You can find additional information – including an anonymous investigation request form – at the website, Code Enforcement.

Any questions? Please feel free to visit us at the office, call 760-323-8245 or email any of our staff members for further assistance.

Back to Planning Department Home Page 


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