Review and Approval Process

Planning Review & General Meeting Information

Meeting Information

Find a list of upcoming meeting dates and events here  Upcoming meetings

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Overview of Planning Review & Approval Process

The City of Mill Valley has three different levels of review for planning applications--staff review, Zoning Administrator (ZA) and Planning Commission (PC).  Review level is based on the type of application, its complexity, and the applicability of state law, local policies, and local regulations.  All applications are reviewed by staff for compliance with the Mill Valley Municipal Code, the MV2040 General Plan, City Design Guidelines, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and State Planning and Zoning laws to the extent they may be applicable. 

A Planning Commission Study Session is an optional public hearing that allows the applicant to review their project concepts with the Planning Commission at an early stage in the design process.  This approach is recommended for most design review applications that require Planning Commission review, including new homes, major additions, multifamily or commercial projects that significantly alter the structure and/or site.  The intent is to allow for preliminary direction from the Commission and to hear community concerns before extensive resources have been invested in project planning. 

Public review for ZA and PC items is provided during a 10-day comment period prior to the public hearing. During this review period:

  • A notice poster is posted at the site indicating the scope of the project, hearing date/time/location;
  • Public notices are sent out to neighboring properties (located within a minimum of 300 feet of the subject property);
  • Storypoles are constructed and displayed for projects proposing to substantially change the roofline; and
  • Staff reports, application materials and other documents are available for review at City Hall or online (based on the hearing date, see the Planning Department's Meeting Calendar).

Public comments are welcomed during this comment period, and should be submitted in writing to the Project Planner at 26 Corte Madera Ave (City Hall, Planning Department) or via e-mail to

Any decision may be appealed by filing a letter describing the basis for the appeal, accompanied by the appeal fee, to the Planning and Building Department within 10 calendar days following the date of the decision.

Levels of Review

Staff Review

Applications reviewed and acted on by Planning Department staff are "ministerial." Ministerial applications are those where the proposed project or action requires no exercise of discretion and, to be approved, must meet all applicable requirements of the Municipal Code or State law. These applications include Lot Line Adjustments, Lot Mergers, Certificates of Compliance, Tree Removal, Home Occupations, certain types of Second Units, Signs, and Fence permits.

Zoning Administrator (ZA)

Reviews applications specified by Chapter 20.62 of the Municipal Code. These projects are typically design review applications for remodels or additions to existing residences that are large enough to trigger design review, but not considered significant enough to require PC review. The ZA holds a public hearing on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 5:00pm in the Council Chambers.

Planning Commission (PC)

A quasi-judicial body appointed by the City Council that hears more complex applications, such as new residential and commercial development, use permits, and proposed subdivision projects. Current projects being reviewed by the Planning Commission are scheduled for upcoming PC hearings.  The agenda, list of applications, and application materials are posted approximately 10 days prior to the regularly scheduled public hearings, which are on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, starting at 7 PM in the Council Chambers. For more information on the Planning Commission