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Plan Review

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In order to comply with the "Stay-At-Home" order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, Palm Desert City Hall is closed for in-person business until further notice. However, Planning Department staff is available remotely to help you. If you have any questions related to the Planning Division during this time, please email


The City has adopted laws that regulate the use of land and the design of most commercial and housing projects. The purpose of these laws is to protect the health, safety and welfare of community residents and visitors.  Laws such as the Zoning Regulations, architectural review requirements, and Subdivision Regulations, require that people submit applications for project approval to the Community Development Department.  The review evaluates the proposals for consistency with the City's General Plan and all other applicable plans and regulations.  These applications are acted upon by the Planning Commission and the Architectural Review Commission.  Some of the more complex development projects are also acted upon by the City Council. 

The planning staff also prepares and oversees reports that study the environmental effects of development projects and identify ways of avoiding environmental damage.  This work is required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Planning actions are those taken by the City Council, Planning Commission, Architectural Review Commission (ARC), or City staff.  They cover a wide range of activities from the City Council's approval of a housing project to the staff's approval of a permit for a six-foot fence in the rear yard of a house. For more information about development and review please review the Development Review Procedures and Guidelines document