Development and Entitlement Process



The most common question for many people is, “Where do I begin?” 

The first step usually begins with consulting a Planner to learn about the City’s development regulations and the best way to move forward. Different types of Planning applications and permits will frequently need slightly different steps along the way, but a Planning Division staff member can explain the overall process and help you become more comfortable with moving forward with your project. By having a discussion with staff about your idea or project, we can ascertain the types of approvals or permits that may be needed from the City. Staff will be able to outline the general process (which can vary depending on the type of project), and if necessary explain the types of plans and studies that may be needed for the proposal to proceed.

Planning staff is committed to being accessible and responsive to all persons and applicants coming to Redlands. For new development or redevelopment projects, we invite developers to schedule a telephone call to discuss their potential project. Staff is accustomed to guiding applicants through the development review process and coordinating the various steps with several City departments. Click on the tabs above for an overview of the major steps involved in processing entitlement applications. 

Does the applicant need a “project manager”? 

Many types of applications do not need a person to act as a “project manager” to help facilitate your application. For all development applications, the City will need a primary point of contact to ensure that communications reach the applicant or developer in a timely manner.

Large or complicated development projects for which the applicant will be utilizing several consultants (such as architect, civil engineer, landscape architect, any engineering or environmental consultants, etc.), it is best if the applicant has one ”project manager” who will be the primary point of contact for the City. The project manager can be an architect, planner, engineer, or other qualified person. The City’s assigned staff planner can then communicate and coordinate effectively with that one primary point of contact. This arrangement often results in the most efficient, effective, and expedient method of processing of development applications.

The role of the applicant’s “project manager” is to:

  • Facilitate communication between City staff and the developer; 
  • Coordinate work among the developer’s various consultants and subconsultants; 
  • Oversee and coordinate the resubmittal of plans and documents among the various consultants (and that project plans are consistent);
  • Ensure that adequate responses are provided to the City’s comments or corrections on project plans and related documents; and, 
  • Work with the developer to meet their timelines and expectations.

Typical types of development projects for which a project manager can be utilized include: residential subdivisions (tract maps), multifamily developments, shopping centers, mixed-use projects, multi-tenant commercial or industrial centers, warehouses, or any other substantial development that must utilize multiple consultants to prepare project plans or related documents for the City’s review. 

Preliminary Review 

2024 Preliminary Review Committee Calendar

This step is not required for most projects. However, major development proposals may benefit from an early review of a preliminary Site Plan and other preliminary plans that may be available. It is the applicant’s option to request formal Preliminary Review prior to preparing a comprehensive set of plans and submittal of a Development Application. Applicants for Preliminary Review (and their consultants such as architect and engineer) will be invited to attend the Committee meeting in person.

The Preliminary Review Committee is composed of members from various departments including Development Services (Planning, Building & Safety, and Land Use Engineering), Municipal Utilities & Engineering, Fire, Police, and Facilities & Community Services. The Committee meets regularly on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, beginning at 9:00 AM. 

The only application requirement is a basic Site Plan, the Preliminary Review application form, and the filing fee, which are submitted to the Planning Division. The more details that are provided on the preliminary site plan will result in more thorough and precise comments from staff when they review your project. Staff will outline the development process, and if applicable, the types of plans and technical studies that may be necessary. 

This would also be a good opportunity to review the City’s Architectural Guidelines, if applicable to the project, and consult with staff about site design or architectural design at an early stage. 

Preliminary Review Application Form (click here)

Preliminary Review application filing fee:
Project site 1 acre or less:  $692.00
Project site over 1 acre:      $900.00

Development Review Process

Exhibit of flow chart for Development Review Process

Once you have confirmed the correct type of entitlement needed for your project (such as Commission Review & Approval, Conditional Use Permit, or subdivision map, etc.), you then prepare and submit the necessary application form and related submittal items. The application forms, instructions, and list of required submittal items are available on our Application Forms page (e.g., Development Application and/or Legislative Application). Most types of applications will then proceed through development review according to the following general steps. 

1. Application Submittal

In order to start the development review process, a complete Application Form with all required materials and application fees are submitted to Planning at the One Stop Permit Center. Please  refer to the Applications Forms Page or click on the links at the right-hand side of this page. Also, refer to the List of Submittal Requirements (provided in the Development Application) for your particular project application. Prior to printing the required 5 copies of plans, you may take ask staff to review the Site Plan (via email) to ensure that there are no significant omissions or corrections of necessary information on the plans. Once all the required elements of an application have been submitted and are satisfactory, the application can be deemed ‘Complete.’  Please note that additional sets of plans (beyond the initial submittal of 5 sets) will be required later for further processing and prior to any public hearings.

2. Development Review Committee

2024 Development Review Committee Calendar

The Development Review Committee (DRC) is composed of staff from Building & Safety, Planning, Land Use Engineering, Fire, Police, and Facilities & Community Services departments. The DRC reviews the proposed conceptual plans, generates corrections and/or conditions of approval for the project, and identifies any other issues prior to a decision or public hearing. This provides the applicant and the City the opportunity to comprehensively review the project, and clarify and resolve any potential design issues prior to a decision or public hearing. For commercial and industrial projects, Planning staff may also review the Architectural Guidelines if applicable. 

After the first review by the DRC, some necessary changes to the plans may require the applicant’s consultant to prepare revisions and re-submit plans to the project Planner. This may take a few weeks, or possibly longer, depending on how quickly the applicant’s consultant can perform the work. Some technical reports (if required), such as preparation of an on-site drainage study in accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations, may require several weeks for the applicant’s consultant to prepare and revise prior to approval but this is typically performed concurrently with other tasks.  For major revisions to the plans or significant changes to the project description, a second review by the DRC may be warranted, but this is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

For those projects subject to NPDES regulations, the Preliminary WQMP for the project must be reviewed and approved by Engineering staff before the project will proceed to a public hearing and possible decision. Staff from all departments are committed to providing efficient, thorough, and expedient service so that your project can proceed as predictably and quickly as possible. The Development Schedule & Calendar (see link above) provides a general overview of the processing schedule.

If applicable, staff will also prepare a Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study when necessary, and the need for this study (if applicable) can be discussed further with your assigned Planner. For further information about the requirements for a  Socio-Economic Cost/Benefit Study, please see the Measure U webpage (click here), Section 2(A), Principle One.

3. Environmental Review 

Environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a part of the development review process. Some projects may be specifically “exempt” from environmental review. If you are unsure of your project’s exemption status, please contact your assigned Planning staff member and he or she will gladly assist you. Staff will determine what environmental document is necessary, if any, and then advise the applicant. For projects that will require the preparation of an “Initial Study,” it will be necessary for the City to retain an environmental consulting firm for preparation of the required documentation (generally this can be determined within 30 days of application submittal). For those projects requiring an Initial Study, this will culminate in one of three types of recommendations: a Negative Declaration, a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), or an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). 

Some applicants may wish to prepare and submit up to three (3) of their own environmental technical reports (such as a traffic impact assessment, air quality/GHG analysis, biological habitat assessment, cultural resources survey, etc.). If this might apply to you, please see Council Resolution No. 7744 for further information about applicant-prepared environmental technical reports, as there is a limit of three (3) prepared by the Applicant. The list of authorized consultants is available from the Planning Division’s Environmental Documents webpage. If you have any questions about which types of technical reports may be needed for your project, please call or email us and discuss your project with a Planner prior to commencing or contracting for any work. 

4. Prepare Conditions of Approval

Most types of projects will require the preparation of a written staff report and a staff recommendation for a decision, which includes preparation of Conditions of Approval specific to the project under review. Several City Departments (such as Municipal Utilities & Engineering,  Fire, and Police) typically provide their conditions to the Planning staff member assigned to your project, who will then assemble the conditions and provide an opportunity for the applicant to review them prior to a public hearing. Applicants may coordinate with the assigned Planner to contact other City staff to discuss any specific conditions, if necessary. This allows the content of the conditions to be agreed upon prior to a public hearing, and then the Planning Commission or City Council can focus on the land use decision.

The decision or public hearing for a project will be scheduled as soon as possible, but the specific timeline for your project will vary depending on various factors (e.g., the need for any additional information or plan corrections, the environmental review process, the speed with which your consultants can prepare and re-submit any corrections, status of a WQMP report, etc.). 

Please note that staff does not ‘pre-approve’ or otherwise issue entitlements verbally, over the phone, or via email. Staff does not recommend that applicants prepare any construction documents prior to entitlement approval. The entitlement approval will include the approved project plans and related Conditions of Approval that are the firm requirements for a project. Building permits, engineering permits, grading permits, or other types of construction permits will not be approved or issued prior to entitlement approval. 

5. Planning Commission and/or City Council

The Planning Commission typically has regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (except for August, November, and December). The City Council has regular meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month. It is not possible to be on successive meetings of the Planning Commission and City Council because of specific public noticing requirements that must be fulfilled in advance.

For each item on an agenda for Planning Commission and City Council, the Planning Division staff will prepare and present a report. The Chairperson or Mayor will then ask the applicant if they have a presentation or comments for their project, followed by public comments from any other interested persons. After testimony is completed, the applicant will have an opportunity to make rebuttal comments if they wish to do so.

If the Planning Commission is the final approval body for an application, any person may appeal the Commission’s decision to the City Council if they file an Appeal form (and pay any applicable filing fee) within 10 days from the Commission’s decision date. If no Appeal is filed within 10 days, then the Planning Commission’s decision will become final after the tenth day.

If the City Council is the decision-making body, then there will be no appeal period after the decision date, and their decision is final.