PCE Library & Resource Center


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Arts and Innovation District

Airport (Palo Alto) Land Use Plan (Santa Clara County - Airport Land Use Commission)


Baylands Master Plan
Originally adopted in 1978, then amended in 1987/1988, this 4th edition of the Plan reflects policy implementation and City Council approved changes through 2007. Other relevant information is also included.

Baylands Nature Preserve Site Assessment & Design Guidelines
This document provides a consistent approach to design, placement, and construction of common landscape elements that respects the landscape character, establishes a distinctive identity, and sets a standard of quality within the Baylands. It also provides both an assessment of existing conditions and Design Guidelines for site features, such as fences, signs, paving, and other elements.

Bicycle + Pedestrian Transportation Plan 
The 2012 City of Palo Alto Bicycle + Pedestrian Transportation Plan (BPTP 2012) strategically guides public and private investments in non-motorized transportation facilities and related programs.


Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2010-2015 Consolidated Plan
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually allocates a series of grants to local jurisdictions for community development activities.  As a requirement to receive these entitlement grants, jurisdictions are mandated to prepare a five-year Consolidated Plan that identifies local community development needs and sets forth a strategy to address these needs.

Comprehensive Plan 1998-2010 (Adopted)
The Comprehensive Plan is the primary tool for guiding the future development of the City by describing long-term goals for the City’s future as well as policies to guide day-to-day decisions.

Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map
The Land Use and Circulation Map (included by reference as a part of this Plan) shows the intent of the Comprehensive Plan with regard to development, redevelopment, and preservation of public and private properties in the Palo Alto Planning Area. 


Downtown Parking Master Plan
The City is evaluating near-term parking efforts to help immediately alleviate parking demand outside of the Downtown Core into adjacent residential neighborhoods

Downtown Urban Design Guidelines
1993 Downtown Urban Design Guide including Guiding Principles, The Basic Plan, Districts and Architecture and Public Improvement Guidelines.


El Camino Design Guidelines
Guidelines for well designed streetscape, including signs and landscaping, along El Camino Real.  See also South El Camino Real Design Guidelines.

El Camino Real Master Planning Study (Public Review Draft, 03/16/2007) - The El Camino Real Master Planning Study is ground breaking in many of its aspects, particularly as it applies concepts of Context Sensitive Design (CSD) and multi-modal transportation planning to a California State Highway (Highway 82) consisting of 6-lanes carrying high levels of traffic during peak travel times.

El Camino Real Master Planning Study (Appendices, 03/16/2007) - contains Goals and Objectives, Caltrans Director's Policy, Existing Conditions Assessment (full text), Traffic Analysis (additional data), Tree Reports (full text), and Caltrans Design Exceptions.


Fence Code
Palo Alto fence code with illustrations.  No fence permit is required for properties used for single family dwellings or duplexes but all fences shall be constructed according to PAMC fence ordinance.  Fences erected on property used for anything other than single family dwellings or duplexes require Architectural Review approval, as do fences built in zones requiring site and design review.  


Housing Element (2015-2023)
Chief policy document describing the City's housing needs, policies and Programs.  Adopted November 10,2014.

Housing Element (2007-2014) 
The 2007-2014 Housing Element is the chief policy document describing the City's housing needs, policies and programs. Housing & Community Development (HCD) certified the City's 2007-2014 Housing Element on August 15, 2013. REVISED with the adoption of the 2015-2023 Housing Element.


Oregon Expressway Facts and Concepts Plan


Planning & Zoning Forms and Handouts
Planning forms and handouts for zoning, historic and land use information.

Planning & Transportation Issues of Interest Report
Monthly newsletter on Planning and Transportation Issues.


Rail Corridor Study
The Palo Alto Rail Corridor Study was initiated in 2010 as a component of the City’s response to planned rail investments along the Caltrain rail corridor, specifically the California High Speed Rail project and potential modifications to Caltrain operations.


Safe Routes to School
The City of Palo Alto is committed to creating and sustaining a community partnership with the Palo Alto Unified School District and Palo Alto PTA to reduce risks to students and encourage more families to walk and bike or use other alternatives to driving more often.

Sign Code
The City of Palo Alto requires an Architectural Review of exterior sign installations. This applies to all new signage and replacement signage.

South El Camino Design Guidelines
The South El Camino Design Guidelines apply to all new development and remodeling of building exteriors of frontage properties along El Camino Real between Stanford Avenue and southern city limit boundary and address site design and building design issues that have the greatest influence on the overall character of the respective districts.

South of Forest Area (SOFA) Coordinated Area Plan (CAP) I and II
In March of 2000 the City Council adopted the SOFA CAP, Phase I and a Development Agreement to define future land uses in the approximately 9-block portion of the SOFA area. SOFA CAP Phase II was later adopted by City Council in 2003.


Zoning Ordinance Title 18
Zoning regulations to promote and protect the public health, safety, peace, morals, comfort, convenience, and general welfare, including to further promote and accomplish the objectives, policies, and programs of the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan.  Click on "view code" and navigate to Title 18 Zoning.

Zoning Districts Map
Map showing Zoning District boundaries.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017