The Community Development Department is advisory to the City Manager, Planning Commission and City Council on land use and environmental matters. The Department has authority to approve certain minor permits including site plan permits, sign permits, and temporary uses of land.

The Department also takes the lead role in preparing the Gonzales General Plan – which serves as the blueprint for the long-range development of the community. The General Plan is one of the City’s most important documents and sets forth the goals and policies of the City Council concerning the future of the community. The Gonzales General Plan is updated from time to time to keep it current.  In 2018, the City updated the Climate Action Plan and added a new General Plan element titled "Health and Wellness".

The Department processes all applications for physical development involving private land including various zoning approvals such as use permits, temporary use permits, variances, and sign permits. The Department also leads City review of proposed land subdivisions to create new lots for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. The Department works closely with applicants, other City departments, and County and State agencies to ensure new development proposals conform to City, state and federal requirements and the reflect the best contemporary practices.

The Department manages environmental review for projects to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and a number of other environmental related statutes. 

Department staff is pleased to meet with residents and members of the public anytime to discuss the City’s planning and zoning work, or possible development applications. It is best to call ahead to make an appointment. Some application forms are available online, but can always be obtained at City Hall. Spanish translation is readily available.

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