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Development Services

Public Projects

Picture of cranes, a hard hat and plans depicting a Public Project.


Public Projects are financed, constructed or originated by or in coordination with a City department or a lessee on City-owned property and may include projects with public agencies on state or federal property. Public agencies include the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS),  the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and the San Diego Housing Commission.





Public Project Staff:


DSD's Public Projects Program will help applicants navigate City's discretionary approval process and get projects to a point of decision. Email for more info on public project discretionary approvals. Ministerially approved Public Projects do not apply


Public Project Assessment Process:

The purpose of the Public Project Assessment process is for DSD staff to identify the required CEQA document (Exemption, Negative Declaration, Mitigated Negative Declaration or an Environmental Impact Report) and to identify if any discretionary permits are required. Typical discretionary permits, if required, may include a Site Development Permit, Coastal Development Permit, etc. The requirements for a discretionary permit are based on the regulations outlined in the Land Development Code.

The environmental determination is based upon the CEQA Environmental Review Process. A DPM from DSD will be assigned to a project after a properly filled application has been accepted. The submittal information will be distributed to the appropriate reviewing disciplines. When the review is complete, the DPM will send an Assessment Memo to the contact person identified on the application. The memo will identify issues from each of the disciplines and will determine if discretionary permits are required and any CEQA requirements.

Some public projects may not require a discretionary permit but may be subject to CEQA. For example, a CEQA document is required for the San Diego City Council to release funding. If a CEQA document is needed or a discretionary permit is required, the next step in the process will be identified in the Assessment Memo, and a copy of the Public Project Submittal Requirements for Development Permit/Approvals will be included. 


Discretionary Review Process:

The requirements for a discretionary permit are based on the regulations in the Land Development Code. 

All discretionary public projects require a recommendation from the respective Community Planning Group (CPG) within the project location/community before scheduling a hearing date. 
Information Bulletin 620 and City Council Policy 600-24 provide valuable information about the advisory role, standard operating procedures and responsibilities of recognized CPGs. City Council Policy 600-24 provides standard operating procedures and responsibilities of recognized CPGs.

Professional Certification Process:

Eligible certified professionals can certify that their discretionary development project application package meets the minimum submittal requirements to expedite the intake process. All City employees who plan to submit a discretionary public project must complete the professional certification process. Learn more


Applications submitted under this process will be automatically accepted for distribution and review with only a quantitative review.

Publications and Resources: