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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 has a dedicated Development Project Manager (DPM) for each public project. Each DPM will:

  • Serve as a single point of contact to keep projects on track;
  • Help navigate City's requirements; and
  • Get projects to a point of decision, such as Public Project Assessment, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) determination or a public hearing.

Email to contact the Public Projects section of DSD. 

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 PDF icon CEQA Environmental Review Process. A DPM from DSD will be assigned to a project after a PDF icon general application or aPDF icon public project assessment application is submitted. 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, will determine if discretionary permits are required and any CEQA requirements.

Some public projects may not require a discretionary permit but are still subject to CEQA. For example, a CEQA document is required for the 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 PDF icon Public Project Submittal Requirements for Development Permit/Approvals will be included. 

Discretionary Review Process:

The requirements for a discretionary permit are based upon 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 prior to scheduling a hearing date. 

PDF icon Information Bulletin 620 and PDF icon City Council Policy 600-24 provide valuable information about the advisory role, standard operating procedures and responsibilities of recognized the 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 that plan to submit a discretionary public project must complete the professional certification process. PDF icon Learn more

Applications submitted under this process will be automatically accepted for distribution and review with only a quantitative review by DSD to assure the correct number of plans have been submitted.

Publications and Resources: