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Community & Economic Development

Community & Economic Development

Mission Statement
The mission of the Los Banos Community & Economic Development Department is to guide the physical development of the City in a manner that will foster positive social and economic growth which is consistent with the goals of the General Plan and build a stronger community by planning, promoting and facilitating economic development; increasing, improving and preserving existing jobs and creating new ones; working to implement the City’s General Plan; and – to as great a degree as possible – working with owners and tenants to increase entrepreneurial opportunity and property values in the community.

The purpose of “planning” and the purpose for the City’s Community & Economic Development Department is to anticipate and provide for the orderly development of land within and around the City of Los Banos. Zoning implements planning and can be defined as the division of a land area (i.e. a city) into districts which specifies categories of use and parameters for development.

Specifically, the City of Los Banos is divided into various commercial and residential zone districts. The zoning code defines which activities or uses are permitted in which zones and provides general development guidelines. For example, the zoning code identifies a single family residence as a permitted use in the R-1 (low density residential) zone district and specifies setbacks from property lines and the maximum height allowance.

If you are planning to open a commercial business, the zoning code will tell you if your business is permitted in the location and zone you have chosen. A planner can help you determine whether or not your business is allowed in a specific area and whether any proposed changes or additions to the site or building will require additional parking spaces or other types of improvements. If you are planning new development, you will need to work closely with the Community & Economic Development Department throughout the development process. Call (209) 827-7000 ext. 133 to speak to a planner for more information.

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Business Licenses


City of Los Banos Ordinance No. 1037 became effective September 16, 2005. The ordinance changed the Business License Fee Structure and ensures regulation. If you are planning to open a new business, relocate your business, operate a business from your home, or conduct any business within the City of Los Banos, you are required to obtain a Business License prior to commencing business operations.

Click here to view the Business License Fee Schedule

Subject to change without notice.

Please Note:  Administrative fees vary depending on the type of business you will be conducting.  Please call for specific information related to your type of business.  All fees including Business License and Administrative Fees are due at the time you submit your application to the Community & Economic Development Department.  

Use the following links to download a Business License application based on the type of business you will be conducting.

Click here for some suggested contacts to consider when opening a business.

Important Information

In accordance with Senate Bill No. 1186, the business license fee was increased by $1.00.  Please see below for more information.

California Government Code Section 4469

On and after January 1, 2013, each city, county, or city and county shall provide to an applicant for a business license or equivalent instrument or permit and to an applicant for the renewal of a business license or equivalent instrument or permit, the following information:

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public.  You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:

The Division of the State Architect at

The Department of Rehabilitation at

The California Commission on Disability Access at

Additional Information

Your business may require additional permits such as approval of an Administrative Permit or Conditional Use Permit or coordination with another agency or department to verify education, insurance and/or Livescan criminal history information, prior to issuance of a Business License. Please check if any permits or information is required prior to submitting an application for a Business License.

Please review and fill out the forms carefully. Incomplete or missing information may delay processing or approval of your Business License. Please submit completed Business License applications with all associated required documentation and appropriate fees to the Community & Economic Development Department located at City Hall at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635.

For additional information, please call the Community & Economic Development Department at (209) 827-7000 ext. 118 or visit them at 520 J Street, Los Banos, CA 93635. Business Hours are Mondays-Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Submittal Requirements


It is recommended that all parties intending to fill out an application contact the Community & Economic Development Department prior to doing so to have a brief discussion with a Planner.

All applications can be typed but signatures must be original and fees must be included so submittal must be in person. Please note that the fee schedule is attached to the Cost Recovery Contract.
To be submitted with ALL applications:

Annexation Submittal Requirements:

Area Plan Submittal Requirements:

Final Development Plan Submittal Requirements:

Lot Line Adjustment Submittal Requirements:

Master Signage Plan Submittal Requirements:
Master Signage Plans must be submitted with Site Plan Submittal

Parcel Map/Minor Subdivision Submittal Requirements:

Parcel Merger Submittal Requirements:

Prezone/Rezone/General Plan Amendment Submittal Requirements:

Reclassification to Planned Development Submittal Requirements:

Site Plan Review Submittal Requirements:

Tentative & Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map Submittal Requirements:

Use Permit Submittal Requirements:

Variance Submittal Requirements:


Community & Economic Development Contacts


To contact the Community & Economic Development Department by phone:
(209) 827-7000 ext. 133

Community & Economic Development Department:


City Hall
520 J Street
Los Banos, CA 93635

To contact us via e-mail:

Stacy Souza Elms
Community & Economic Development Director

How To Start A Business



Housing Element Update


A Housing Element is one of the seven required elements of the General Plan. The Housing Element is also the only document that is standalone. The Housing Element includes a needs assessment, an analysis of opportunities and constraints, a review of past performance, a zoning classification for emergency homeless shelters or special needs housing and finally a policy program to implement. The Housing Element will be in effect from 2009 through 2014.

City of Los Banos Housing Element 2014-2023

Community & Economic Development Documents


City of Los Banos Community Design Standards (28.2 MB)

Rail Trail Corridor Regulating Code (10.7 MB)

*Pending LAFCO Approval

Oct 20, 2010 Zoning Ordinance and Map

Ordinance No. 1095 (5.88 MB)

Zoning Map Oct 20, 2010 (634 KB)

Zoning Districts


Zoning is the division of the City into districts and the application of different regulations in each district. According to Section 9-3.302 of the Los Banos Municipal Code, no person shall use any land, building, or structure, nor shall any building or structure be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, moved, or used, in any district shown on the zoning map, except in accordance with the provisions pertaining to each zoning district. The following is a list of the several districts into which the City is divided and the provisions associated with each district:


Zoning Map Oct 20, 2010

Industrial Park


There are more than 800 acres within the City limits zoned for light to heavy industry; over 40 percent is vacant and available in parcels ranging in size from 1 to 200 acres. Included in this area are two industrial parks, one on the northwest side of the community, the second, approximately 250 acres is zoned for Highway Commercial (HC) and light industrial uses. The terrain is flat. Drainage is good. Subsoil is clay loam, and piling is not required. Sizes of water mains range from 4 to 12 inches. Sizes of sewer lines range from 6 to 24 inches.

The G Street Industrial Park, home of Kagome Foods, offers many condominium style offices still available to the public, as well as a 23,000 sq. ft. building formerly housed by Fisher Laboratories.


Los Banos Street Index




The Community & Economic Development Department consists of the Planning and Economic Development divisions. The Department is located at Los Banos City Hall at 520 J Street in Los Banos. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Zone changes and General Plan amendments require Planning Commission review and the approval of the City Council. Zone changes require a General Plan amendment if the proposed zoning district is not consistent with the General Plan.
Accessory structures less than 120 square feet or seven feet in height are allowed in the required side or rear setback within five feet of a property line. A structure of this size is allowed without any zoning approvals or a building permit. Any accessory structure in excess of 120 square feet, up to 12 feet in height will be subject to the requirements set forth by Section 18.56.010B of the zoning ordinance.
First, determine the zoning district your property is located by checking the City’s zoning map or calling the Community & Economic Development Department at (209) 827-7000 ext. 118. Then, look up the permitted uses for your zoning district. If your use is not listed in the permitted use section, check the conditional use section to determine if your use requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Some general uses that typically require a CUP includes drive-through restaurants, gas stations, childcare facilities, and educational facilities.
All business identification signs (new or replacement signs) must be reviewed and approved by the Community & Economic Development Department and obtain a building permit prior to installation. Most multi-tenant and business park areas have Uniform Sign Programs that the sign needs to conform to. All signs must conform to the Sign Code (Chapter 18.76 of the Municipal Code).
Please refer to Chapter 18.50, Off-Street Parking And Paving Standards of the zoning ordinance
The term setback means the required distance separating a building or structure from a property line. Setback regulations for buildings are included in the Zoning Ordinance under Title 18. Setbacks regulations for accessory structures are included in the Zoning Ordinance under Chapter 18.56 Title 18
Some parcels have flood zone designations as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that require certain development standards that are established in the municipal code. A parcel’s flood zone designation predicts the likelihood of the parcel enduring flood damage over 100 to 500 year periods. The Planning Division and our Public Works Engineering Division can provide flood zone information to interested property owners. For more general information about flood zones and flood insurance, you can contact the National Flood Insurance Program at (800) 638-6620.
In rare cases, property owners can be granted an exception from a development standard, such as setback requirements or coverage limitations. A variance can only be granted for relief from a particular development standard; a variance can never be granted to allow land uses prohibited by the property’s zone classification.Minor exceptions to building setbacks and height limits may be approved by the Community & Economic Development Director. Please refer to Chapter 18.57 of the Zoning Ordinance to determine if a minor exception is possible.