Development Services


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Beginning March 2, 2015, all businesses within the City of Palo Alto located in fixed places of businesses (i.e. commercial buildings, retail storefronts, etc) are required to register their business with the City.  For more information, and a link to the online tool, visit the Business Registry page. 

NOTICE:  Public Works Counter will be Closed on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 due to Staff Training


At the Development Center, City staff from our Fire Prevention Bureau, Public Works, Building, Planning, and Utilities departments work together, professionally and promptly, to monitor development projects to ensure compliance with local and state codes to promote and enhance the quality of development projects.

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Development Services News Letter
The City of Palo Alto’s Development Services Department strives to ensure that we are in a constant state of improvement. In order to ensure transparency and accountable progress in this effort we publish the results of our efforts monthly. Additionally, we summarize the progress of every major development project in the City. Visit our news letter page to view current and past news letters.
""   News
Development Services is constantly improving systems in an effort to drive the initiatives of the Blueprint (a multi-year effort intended to drive accountability and streamline the development review and approval process). Visit our news page for all the latest press releases describing these efforts in more detail.

Quarterly Goals

Development Services identifies goals each quarter in line with the vision of the Development Center Advisory Group (An advisory group created by the City Council to act as a sounding board to advise the necessary changes that carries the vision of the Blueprint). Each department takes a hand in the creation of their goals that work toward this common vision. The progresses of these goals are reflected in a monthly newsletter

""   Advisory Groups
Development Services coordinates with a range of informal advisory groups to provide feedback and ideas on how to improve the development review process and facilitate civic engagement. More information about these groups and previous agenda can be found by visiting the Advisory Groups page
""   Technology Partners 
Development Services technology partners is a collection of applications that have been developed and built by individuals and organizations using datasets published by the City of Palo Alto. The applications in this showcase are a tangible result from individuals and organizations having open access to city permit data. You can help improve the showcase by using and providing feedback on the applications, building your own application on the available datasets, and by letting us know what other applications we should make available to the public.Visit the Technology Partners page to view applications. 

Building Division

The Palo Alto Building Division serves as a resource for homeowners, businesses, designers and contractors. The goal of our staff is to help our customers build safe, healthy and sustainable buildings that comply with applicable codes and regulations. We see ourselves as an integral part of each project team and are committed to establishing positive working relationships with our partners, while focusing on problem solving and delivering exceptional customer service. Programs included in the division include building plan check, inspections, permitting, and green building.

Fire Prevention Bureau

The mission of the Palo Alto Fire Prevention Bureau, within the city's Development Center, is to provide quality and timely development services. Our fire prevention staff performs fire plan checks, reviews, permitting, and field inspections. Our goal is to accommodate all requests for service in a time frame that meets our customer's needs.

Planning and Community Environment 

The Planning Department also known as Planning and Community Environment (PCE) provides services in long range planning, current planning, and transportation. The Planning Section provides staff support for the Planning & Transportation Commission, the Architectural Review Board, the Historic Resources Board, and administers the City's housing programs as well as preparing and monitoring the Comprehensive Plan and providing long-range planning studies.

Public Works

Public Works provides services integral to our community on a daily basis. Our department's mission is to provide quality services with commitment, courtesy and pride. In partnership with the Palo Alto community, we strive to offer efficient, cost effective and environmentally responsible services that make Palo Alto a beautiful, vibrant and appealing City in which to live and work. The Public Works Department is comprised of a variety of divisions however there are three divisions that typically relate to development services. These divisions include Public Works Engineering, Water Quality, and Urban Forestry.


We in Utilities are eager to help make your project successful and be sure you are safely hooked up to all the electric, gas, water and sewer services you may need. Utilities also handles commercial "dark fiber optic network" connections. Be advised that all utility-related projects within the City's public right of way (including gas services up to and encompassing the gas meter) need to conform to the Water, Gas & Wastewater Standards and Electrical Requirements as described on the linked pages and any relevant Public Works Standards---unless otherwise approved in writing by the responsible Engineering Manager. Private utilities on private property are under the jurisdiction of the City's Planning Department, Building Inspection Division.

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2018