The Development Services Department (DSD) comprises nine divisions that provide review, permit, inspection and code enforcement services for private and public development projects throughout the City of San Diego. Whether it's construction, renovation or changing the use of a building in part or in its entirety, DSD assists customers with development projects promptly to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations, ensuring all City neighborhoods continue to be healthy, safe and livable for all residents, visitors and businesses.
Elyse Lowe is the Development Services Department (DSD) Department Director. She directs, manages and oversees all department activities, operations and services. This includes all review, permit, inspection and code enforcement services for private and public development projects throughout the City of San Diego, enhancing the quality of life while ensuring vibrant, healthy, safe and livable neighborhoods.
Gary Geiler is responsible for the overall permit process and land use policies. In addition, Geiler's responsibilities include ministerial and discretionary review, permit streamlining strategies, and serving as a liaison to the Office of the Mayor and the City Council.
Keely Halsey is responsible for new housing strategies. Keely's responsibilities include research and development of housing policy solutions, stakeholder engagement, housing data management, legislative services and interdepartmental and agency coordination.
J.C. Thomas is responsible for the digital transformation, innovation initiatives and operations support. In addition, he is responsible for online permitting, customer service, project submittal and issuance, business operations support and building records.
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This division investigates and enforces code violations related to land use, development regulations, building and housing codes, abandoned properties, disabled access and noise regulations. It works in partnership with the people of San Diego to promote and maintain a safe and desirable living and working environment; improve the quality of San Diego's neighborhoods through education, enforcement and abatement; respond to community concerns and attain code compliance while maintaining high professional standards and continually seeking improvements and innovations.
Kelly Charles, P.E.
Chief Building Official, Deputy Director
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This division is comprised of building project plan review, ministerial project management and inspection sections.
- The plan review section reviews proposed construction projects for compliance with the adopted City and State codes and standards, including accessibility, electrical, fire protection systems, hazardous materials, life safety, mechanical, noise, plumbing, smoke control, structural and sustainability.
- The inspection section inspects construction projects on private property for compliance with the adopted City and State codes and standards, including accessibility, electrical, fire protection systems, hazardous materials, life safety, mechanical, plumbing, smoke control, structural, sustainability and construction stormwater best management practices. It also provides inspection of the Utilities Undergrounding Program and issues permits, and inspects mobile home parks.
- The ministerial project management section manages complex and phased developments and assists both staff and customers in conflict resolution.
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This division provides overall administrative support to the department, the public and other City departments. Its core responsibilities include fiscal and procurement support, grant management, human resources, payroll, accounting and cashier services. The division is also responsible for maintaining records of construction plans and permits on City property dating back to 1955.
The division is also responsible for leading process improvement initiatives that help optimize service delivery and modernize and manage DSD's information and data services. The division serves as the technology liaison between DSD, the Department of Information Technology, other City departments and City information technology vendors. Working with these sources, it implements, monitors and manages automation solutions for the department's daily business needs.
This division is responsible for administration, permitting and code enforcement activities related to authorized cannabis businesses within the City limits, including Cannabis Production Facilities, Cannabis Outlets and Cannabis Testing Facilities. The division coordinates with other City departments, County of San Diego and state agencies regarding licensing, regulatory framework and business support.
Interim Deputy Director
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The division comprises 10 sections that review discretionary and ministerial review projects. These sections are engineering review, transportation review, drainage and grades, traffic safety, water and sewer, stormwater, geology, mapping (including addressing and street naming), permitting and project management. The division's primary function is to review permitting, engineering and mapping-related approvals at both the discretionary and ministerial levels for compliance with federal, state and local regulations. The division also provides utility permitting and stormwater compliance oversight.
The division works within the public right of way to ensure conformance with City, state and federal regulations regarding traffic flow, pedestrian access, street lights, and traffic signals. It also administers and issues traffic control plans/permits. The division also reviews mapping projects, building, grading, and public improvement plans, Over-The-Counter permits, traffic control plans, reports and other approval types for compliance with:
- Geologic and geotechnical regulations and standards of the California Building Code.
- The Land Development Code, and the State of California. This discipline reviews any required geotechnical reports.
- The Land Development Manual: Landscape Standard and Landscape Regulations.
- Previously approved discretionary land use permits and/or tentative maps, public right of way vacations and easement abandonments.
- Mapping actions (parcel maps, final maps, dedication drawings, easement grants, etc.), including mapped brush management zones and landscape easements for compliance with the Subdivision Map Act, Land Surveyor's Act, Survey Monuments, and the Streets and Highways Code.
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The Land Development Review Division includes the planning, zoning, landscaping, environmental, mitigation monitoring and historic disciplines. It reviews ministerial and discretionary projects for compliance with the Land Development Code, community plans, and the General Plan, as well as compliance with other City, state and federal regulations.
This division is responsible for processing the City's land development projects. Its Project Management section manages private and public discretionary projects for City Council action. It provides noticing and legislative support for the City's Hearing Officer, Planning Commission, and Historical Resources Board. Also, its submitted project processing section handles construction, development permit project submittal and permit issuance functions.
This division is responsible for streamlining wireless communications (4G/5G/Fiber/Utility) deployment in the City of San Diego by:
- Partnering with the telecommunications industry, primarily consisting of cable companies, internet service providers, and telephone and satellite companies.
- Speeding up the process so that citizens of San Diego can always enjoy the benefits of instant/fast connectivity without disturbing the aesthetics of the City.
- Preparing the City for the future of the Internet of Things (IoT), drones and autonomous driving.
This division is end-to-end, handling applications from submission to the issuance of wireless communication facilities.
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This division conducts long-range planning and development review functions, working to implement the vision of the Downtown Community Plan. This plan aims to create and develop a dynamic Downtown that accommodates growth as a regional employment center and residential neighborhood. The division is responsible for Downtown Development, including:
- Planning review of private development proposals.
- Development project management.
- Updates to the Downtown Community Plan and planned district ordinances.
- Public park planning.
- Enhanced public infrastructure planning.
- Special studies.