Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Zoning Ordinance and why is it important?

The Zoning Ordinance is one of the most influential regulatory documents to shape the future of Goleta. It is intended to implement the land use and design goals in Goleta’s General Plan and other City policies, be consistent with State and federal law, and provide a basis for reviewing applications for new construction as well as alterations and additions to existing buildings.

Why does Goleta need a New Zoning Ordinance?

Goleta’s current Zoning Ordinance was inherited from Santa Barbara County upon incorporation and does not reflect best zoning and planning practices that are appropriate for an independent city. It is not effective in implementing the land use and design goals in the General Plan and other City policies. The purpose of the new Zoning Ordinance is to create an effective set of land use and development regulations that ensures future growth to be consistent with the General Plan, is clear and easy to use, and provides objective standards and criteria for use in the development review and permitting process that will result in high quality development.

What regulations are changing?

The proposed changes to the zoning regulations can be organized into three broad categories:

  1. Changes to make the New Zoning Ordinance easier to use and understand. The current Zoning Ordinance does not have an orderly organization, making it difficult to navigate. It also contains references to areas and decision-making bodies that do not exist within the City. The new Zoning Ordinance reorganizes the current zoning regulations so  they flow more logically, corrects references, and provides tables, cross-references, and illustrations to more clearly communicate development regulations.
  2. Changes for consistency with State and federal law. The new Zoning Ordinance includes provisions that comply with requirements of State and federal law, including those that address water efficient landscaping, religious uses, housing for disabled persons, second units, and affordable housing.
  3. Changes for consistency with the General Plan. The primary purpose of the new Zoning Ordinance is to implement the General Plan. The General Plan contains numerous prescriptive provisions related to the use and development of land within the City of Goleta. These provisions are often in conflict with the existing zoning regulations. When a conflict occurs, the provisions of the General Plan control. The new Zoning Ordinance incorporates these provisions into the Zoning regulations so the conflict will no longer exist.

While zoning regulations are changing, the majority of the changes are to make the zoning easier to use and understand or to make the regulations consistent with provisions that already apply. Therefore, the effective changes to the use and development of property is limited.

What has been the process for development of the New Zoning Ordinance?

Outreach activities, for the previous Public Review Draft, including Planning Commission and public workshops, Open Houses, a Planning Commission page-turn review, and stakeholder meetings, began in January 2016 and were completed in May 2016. After this outreach effort, revisions to the Public Review Draft were made and compiled into the Revised Draft Zoning Ordinance, which was released on January 31, 2019. In the Spring of 2019, City staff has conducted a series of public workshops with the Planning Commission, presented materials at open houses, met with City Council and the Design Review Board, and met with interested stakeholders. After the review of the Revised Draft, staff edited the document and released the Public Hearing Draft on August 14, 2019. Project documents can be found on the Documents page of this website and information on past and upcoming meetings is available on the Meetings page of this website.

Who can participate in the process for development of the New Zoning Ordinance?

All residents, business owners, and stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the development of the New Zoning Ordinance. City staff are available to meet with anyone who has any questions or wants more information on the New Zoning Ordinance. Please call (805) 961-7557 to schedule a meeting. 

Can anyone request a meeting to discuss the new Zoning Ordinance?
Yes! City staff are available to meet with anyone who has any questions or wants more information on the new Zoning Ordinance.

What is the process for requesting a meeting?
Please call (805) 961-7557 and leave your contact information. City staff will contact you to schedule a meeting.

How do I comment on the draft Zoning Ordinance?
The easiest way to provide the City comments is through the Public Comments page on this website. Comments can also be provided by attending public hearings, the dates and times of these events can be found on the Meetings page; emailing Anne Wells at; or submitting comments in writing at City of Goleta; 130 Cremona, Suite B; Goleta, CA 93117.

Will the City consider all comments received?
Yes. City staff and the Planning Commission will consider all comments received on the Public Hearing Draft New Zoning Ordinance.

Where are we in the Zoning Ordinance update process?

On October 7, 2019, the Planning Commission recommended to City Council adoption of the New Zoning Ordinance, City Council will now consider adopting the New Zoning Ordinance.

What efforts have been made to involve the public in the New Zoning Ordinance Update?

Outreach activities completed as a series of outreach activities in the Spring of 2019 regarding the Revised Draft New Zoning Ordinance, including meetings with stakeholders, four Open Houses, two meetings with the Ordinance Review Standing Committee, three meetings with the Design Review Board,  nine workshops with Planning Commission, and a joint City Council/Planning Commission workshop. Previous outreach activities completed since 2016 include eight public workshops with the Planning Commission and three Open Houses.  Information on past and upcoming meetings is on the Meetings page of this website.

The City has and continues to utilize a variety of methods to encourage public participation in the new Zoning Ordinance project. Notice of public workshops and Open Houses were posted on the website, through email notifications to people who signed up for notifications, at City Hall, and the Goleta Library.  When new material or information becomes available, the City sends out email notifications to individuals who have signed up for notifications and updates at

What are the next steps in the Zoning Ordinance update process?

City Council is now considering adopting the New Zoning Ordinance. Go to the Meetings page to see when the next hearing will occur.