Discretionary Approvals

What is a Discretionary Entitlement?

A discretionary entitlement is a permit, subdivision, permit modification, or subdivision modification granted following determinations that require the exercise of judgment and deliberation, as opposed to merely determining that the request complies with a set of standards. Most discretionary permit and subdivision applications require an analysis by the Planning Division and various County Departments and Agencies plus a public hearing prior to any decision being made. A decision to approve or deny a permit application is based on the findings of fact contained in either the Ventura County Coastal or Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinances . Findings for subdivision requests are found within the County’s Subdivision Ordinance and are pursuant to the State Subdivision Map Act.




    What types of Projects Need a Discretionary Approval?

    For a detailed description of any of the project types, click on the project type below.

Other project types include the following:

  • Zone Change

  • Minor or Major Modifications to any of the permits listed above

  • Revocations of Land Use Permits

For a brochure containing a detailed description and diagram of the Discretionary Permit process, and a list of project types that are subject to discretionary decisions, please click here.




How Do You Apply?

The County has developed a comprehensive application form for discretionary permits, subdivisions, and zone changes. You may download the application form in PDF format by selecting the link below. Alternatively, you may visit the Planning Counter located on the third level of the County of Ventura Hall of Administration at 800 S. Victoria Avenue in order to obtain a hard copy, or you may contact the Planning Counter at (805) 654-2488 or via email at plan.counter@ventura.org.

Permits related to certain projects, such as Wireless Communication Facilities and Change of Use, may have supplemental forms, instructions, and informative material. Click on the project type above to learn about the specific requirements related to the various project types.




Who Is Involved?

Discretionary Permit Coordinator

All applications for the discretionary permits, subdivisions, and zone changes listed above must be coordinated with, and submitted to, Winston Wright, the Discretionary Permit Coordinator. After you have reviewed the application form, please contact Winston Wright at (805) 654-2468 or Winston.wright@ventura.org in order to schedule a pre-application meeting at which you will be able to discuss your project, obtain a list of the submittal requirements for your application, and review the procedures for submitting and processing your application.

When scheduling your meeting with Winston Wright, please have the following information available:

  • Your name and the phone number at which you can be reached.

  • The Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) of the project site.
    If you do not know the APN of the project site, you may obtain it here.

  • A basic description of the project that you are considering.

Once an application has been submitted to the Discretionary Permit Coordinator and distributed to the various County agencies for review, an assigned Case Planner becomes the main contact for customers with active applications.

Development Review Committee (DRC)

The County of Ventura established a Development Review Committee (DRC) consisting of key County staff in various departments (e.g. Fire, Public Works, Traffic, Environmental Health, etc.) who review discretionary permit applications, and who will meet on a regular basis to discuss, and provide early guidance to applicants on projects. More specifically, the DRC is intended to provide guidance to applicants prior to the submittal of a discretionary permit application (i.e. at the presubmittal stage). The current fee for this service is a flat fee of $2000.

As part of your pre-application meeting with the Discretionary Permit Coordinator, the Discretionary Permit Coordinator will advise you as to whether a DRC meeting is recommended for your project. DRC meetings are tentatively scheduled to be held every other Thursday at 1:30 pm in room 311 at the Hall of Administration.




How Long Does The Process Take?

For a brochure showing the permit processing time frames, please click here.