Community Development

Department Overview

The Community Development Department is responsible for land development programs and services to help create a safe, healthy, and economically viable community. These programs provide guidance for new development and property maintenance as well as a long-term vision for the City contained in the General Plan.


View of city at sunset




Downtown street at night

Services Provided:

  • Building Permits                                  
  • Environmental Review
  • Housing Programs
  • Redevelopment Activities
  • Plan Review
  • Code Inspection
  • Planning and Zoning Review

Community Redevelopment

Development Services Council Liaison Subcommittee

The Development Services Council Liaison Subcommittee meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm and serves as an opportunity for project applicants to meet with City staff and the Council Liaisons.  To request to be added to an upcoming meeting, please complete an Application Form.  Applications for the next meeting are accepted from the third Monday of each month until 4:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the following month, one week prior to the next meeting. Meetings are limited to three applicants. Once a meeting date is filled, the application form will be unavailable until the application period for the next meeting.

NEW!  City of La Mesa Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Guidebook

The City has released a new guide on development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) focused on single-family homeowners interested in adding an ADU to their property. The City of La Mesa Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Guidebook has been completed! The Guidebook provides information on what an ADU is and why they are an important element to providing much-needed housing. Rules and regulations are covered, and readers are guided through the decision, design, and development processes to construct an ADU, including basic information on financing and how to select and work with building professionals. Design ideas are provided, with sample layouts based on actual lots located in La Mesa and sample floor plans. The Guidebook provides an easy-to-use resource, with links to other resources, for homeowners to understand ADUs and their development with important information that may be unknown or unfamiliar to them.

Housing Element Update

The City is currently in the process of updating the City’s primary housing policy document, the Housing Element of the General Plan. Please see the Housing Element Update webpage for more information.

La Mesa Transit Oriented Development Feasibility Study

The City is undertaking a study to evaluate the potential for creating transit oriented developments at two transit stations: the Amaya Drive Station and the Spring Street Station. Please see the La Mesa Transit Oriented Development Feasibility  Study webpage for more information.

Temporary Outdoor Dining, Display, or Service Authorization

The City of La Mesa issued Executive Order 3-2020 on July 9, 2020, and Executive Order 4-2020 on July 16, 2020, which temporarily allow the use of public and private outdoor areas by business for dining, display of products, or provision of services, provided those businesses obtain written authorization from the Director of Community Development and comply with all social distancing and other COVID-19 related health orders and all other City, County (e.g., emergency orders, Department of Environmental Health), State (e.g., Alcoholic Beverage Control) and Federal laws (e.g., Americans with Disabilities Act).

The Executive Orders were issued to provide opportunities for dining, retail, service, and other commercial businesses in light of the restrictions placed upon them by the State and San Diego County Public Health Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications to receive authorization for outdoor dining, or display or service, can be accessed at the links below, and temporary outdoor regulations established pursuant to the Orders are linked below and included with the appropriate applications. Businesses that propose temporary outdoor use areas within the public right-of-way must provide insurance in accordance with the Sidewalk Café Insurance Requirements, also attached to the applications and linked below. There is no fee charged to receive authorization to use public and private outdoor areas for dining.

Temporary Outdoor Dining Authorization Application
Temporary Outdoor Dining Regulations
Temporary Outdoor Display or Service Authorization Application
Temporary Outdoor Display or Service Regulations
Sidewalk Café Insurance Requirements

Alvarado Specific Plan

The City Council denied the Alvarado Specific Plan on May 9, 2023.

May 9, 2023 City Council meeting
City Council Resolution of Denial

The Alvarado Specific Plan is a privately proposed plan to redevelop the San Diego RV Park property on Alvarado Road between 70th Street and Comanche Drive. The Plan would allow for a housing project that could include as many as 950 apartment units, and may include a student housing component. The draft Plan and other project information are available on the Alvarado Specific Plan webpage.

Interactive Zoning Map

New! Interactive Planning Applications Map

The Planning Applications Map is a useful research tool that provides an archive of planning applications submitted since the 1980s. Search by address to find past history of development applications, use permits, mapping actions, and more.

Planning & Development Maps

The following maps are available for viewing: