The Novato Police Department Lobby is open. All other City facilities are currently closed for walk-in service following the Shelter in Place Order for the County of Marin. Please call for details about the services you are interested in. 

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) information and resources


April 30, 2020 UPDATE – All Construction Projects May Resume Under New Shelter In Place Order

Prior Cease and Desist Orders are now lifted, please review details for active permit holders HERE.   

On April 29, 2020, the Marin County Health Officer issued a revised and extended Order to Shelter In Place. Under the Order, all construction activities may resume, however, new site safety protocols are required. The site safety protocols differ, depending upon the size of construction project, and include such things as mandatory personal protection equipment, daily screening of workers for COVID symptoms, limitations on number of workers, alternative scheduling of trades and travel to/from job site. Full details of the protocols can be found in Appendix B-1 and Appendix B-2 at the end of the Order found HERE.  

All permittees will be required to sign an acknowledgement of the protocols and their responsibility for ensuring the protocols are in place at all times. The acknowledgement form can be found HERE

The Building Division will now also resume taking applications for new permits, however, our public counter will remain closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. Applications for new permits will continue to be accepted online, via email to and by appointment. 

If you need information about submitting a new building permit application or scheduling an inspection, please also send those inquiries to  

When you visit our lobby or when an inspector arrives at your property, you may be asked questions about symptoms of illness that you or other involved persons may be exhibiting.  You will also be asked to maintain social distancing and wear a facial covering. We are asking ALL customers to provide this information and maintain these practices in an effort to minimize exposure to both our customers and our employees. We want to reduce possibilities of infection so that we are able to maintain highest possible staffing levels and continue to provide building services to our community.

Please note that we are continuing these services with a staggered staffing schedule so please be patient as you may experience delays in your application and inspection appointments. 

Please contact if you have additional questions.

Code Enforcement complaints involving life safety issues will also continue as normal; all others will be deferred until further notice.

Resale Inspections At this time, we are not doing physical inspections but are continuing to provide permit histories. Please click here for updated information regarding this modified Resale Program. You may also contact Alison Fletcher for more information at

Planning Division is continuing to respond to questions and processing project applications. Contact if you have questions.

The Planning Division has two primary functions:

  • Assisting the community, and ultimately the City Council, plan for the City's future development, and
  • Reviewing proposed development projects for conformance with the City's adopted policies and ordinances and environmental laws.

The Division is responsible for maintain and implementing the City's General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, which guide development decisions, and the City's Climate Change Action Plan which seeks to lower emissions of greenhouse gases and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Planning staff work with prospective applicants and neighbors to assure that new development improves the area and is consistent with adopted community-wide objectives.

The Division provides staff support to the Planning Commission and Design Review Commission.

NEW! Business Counter
An online tool, powered by Open Counter, to help businesses navigate the City's permit process. Businesses will be able to look up zoning requirements, permits and fees. Just answer a few questions about your business to receive a customized report on the permits, licenses, and estimated fees required for your project.

NEW! Zoning Check
Select a land use and location to see how the zoning code will impact your project. This also helps applicants understand their options before choosing a location for their business.

Major Planning Projects >>

Current Planning Projects Log >>

Quick Links

Affordable Housing Programs >>
Design Review Commission >>

General Plan Update >>
Planning Commission >>
Planning Commission Webcast >>
Zoning Administrator >>

Planning Documents & Additional Resources

2018 Novato Planning Academy Documents >>
Application Forms & Fees >>
Documents >>
Informational Handouts >>
Maps >>
Sustainability >>
Tree Removal Guide >>


  • What is my zoning?
  • What are my setback requirements for an addition to my home?
  • Can I build a storage arbor/shed/garage in my backyard?
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