Zone Change

What Is a Zone Change

All property within the Brea city limits is separated into zoning districts. Each zone has certain allowable land uses and development standards to ensure that:

  • All adjacent land uses are compatible
  • Established development standards are met
  • No development imposes a burden on its neighbors

If your property is in a zone that does not permit your proposed use, it may be possible to have the zoning changed. This process requires a Planning Commission public hearing, followed by a City Council public hearing. A zone change will require careful consideration by both the Planning Commission and the City Council. Zone changes are approved only if compelling reasons are present.

Before You Apply

Please take the following ideas into consideration before you apply for a zone change.

Consider a Zone Change Carefully

Before you apply for a zone change, be sure to discuss your project with a planner in the city’s Community Development Department. The planner will help you review the issues associated with your proposal, including zoning in the area surrounding your site and if a General Plan amendment will be required.

Screen Check

After meeting with a planner and before applying for a one change, call the Planning Division at 714-990-7674 to schedule a Screen Check meeting. Brea’s unique Screen Check process is particularly helpful to developers requesting a zone change. Screen Check is a free service that allows you to meet with staff from the various city departments. This technical team will assess your project, discuss concerns, and explain special information required for your zoning change request.


Your request for a zone change will be reviewed by the Planning staff, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. The following issues will be considered during the review process:

  • Suitability of your property and the intended use will be taken into account when considering the zone request. Access, parcel size, surrounding uses, relationship to similar or neighboring uses, and other relevant issues will also be weighed.
  • Compatibility with neighboring uses will be considered. The proposed zone change will be reviewed to ensure it is not detrimental to land uses in any adjacent zone.
  • Conformity with the General Plan will also be considered. If the Planning Commission and City Council decide the proposed zone change is in the best interest of the city, but it does not conform with the General Plan, the General Plan may be amended along with the approval of the zone change.

The Process

Application Submission

If you decide to proceed, you will need to fine a Uniform Application and plans. This begins the Plan Review process. You will also be required to make a deposit to cover the costs incurred by the Planning staff in reviewing your project. Staff time will be charged against the deposit as follows:

  • $82 per hour for inspection services
  • $94 per hour for professional
  • $126 per hour for management

There may be other fees that apply. Any unused funds will be returned to you and/or additional fees may be required. Within 30 days of filing, you will be notified that your application is complete or that additional information is needed.

Environmental Review

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that all projects involving a zone change be reviewed to determine the impact they will have on the environment. Your project planner will explain the criteria used in the assessment and determine which type of review is appropriate for your project.

Planning Staff Review

Once you have submitted all the required information, the Planning staff will review your application to determine if the proposal zone change is consistent with the city’s General Plan and if the proposed land use is compatible with the surrounding area. The staff will prepare a report for the Planning Commission, including a description of the project and staff recommendations. You will receive a copy of the report prior to the Planning Commission hearing. Copies will also be made available to the public.

Planning Commission Review

The Planning Commission is required to review all zone change applications and subsequently hold a public hearing. Owners of property within 300 feet of your project site will be mailed a public hearing notice at least 10 days before the hearing. The notice will also be posted at the Civic Center and published in the local newspaper.

At the hearing, staff will present an oral report and recommendation. Following the staff presentation, you may speak to the commission. Other interested people may also comment following your presentation. After evaluating the testimony, the staff report and the environmental information will then be forwarded to the City Council.

City Council Review

After the Planning Commission makes a recommendation, a public hearing will be scheduled with the City Council. The same legal notification that preceded the Planning Commission hearing will be provided prior to City Council consideration. At the hearing, the council will consider the public testimony, staff report , environmental information, and the Planning Commission recommendation. Following the public testimony, the City Council may:

  • Refer the matter back to the Planning Commission for further consideration
  • Continue the hearing to a specific date, time and place
  • Close the public hearing and make a final decision at the time, or at a later date

The decision of the City Council is final.