Phase 1: Type of Permit Required
Determine whether or not you need a discretionary planning permit to complete your project.

The first step in the permitting process is determining which permit, if any, you need for your proposed project. The County of Ventura issues two types of permits: ministerial and discretionary.

A ministerial permit is a permit granted when a proposed project meets a specific set of standards or regulations, such as those outlined in the Ventura County Zoning Ordinance. This type of permit is commonly referred to as an “over the counter” approval. A variety of ministerial permits are issued by the Planning Division, Building & Safety Division, Public Works Agency, and the Watershed Protection District.

Examples of some of the activities that may require a ministerial permit from the County, depending on the site location and the extent of the proposed project, include the following:

    • Filming
    • Tree trimming
    • Replacement roof installation
    • Home additions
    • Patio covers
    • Barns under 2,000 square feet in size
    • Swimming Pools
    • Second dwelling units or “granny flats”
    • Single-family homes on vacant, legal lots
    • Ground mounted solar panels
    • Electrical service for agricultural wells
    • Storage sheds
    • Grading in a FEMA-designated floodplain (cannot exceed Public Works Agency’s grading threshold)
    • Non-habitable structures within a FEMA floodplain

If this is the type of permit you are seeking, the One-Stop Permitting website is not currently designed to assist you.  However, more information on ministerial permits is available on the Planning Division website.

By contrast, a discretionary permit is a permit or permit modification that requires the exercise of judgment and deliberation on the part of the decision-maker.  Most discretionary permit applications require an analysis by the Planning Division and various County departments and agencies, as well as a public hearing prior to any decision being made. Some of the activities that typically require discretionary permits include the following:

    • Tract Maps
    • Parcel Maps
    • Discretionary Parcel Map Waivers
    • Conditional Certificates of Compliance
    • Conditional Use Permits
    • Planned Development Permits
    • Variances
    • Administrative Variances
    • Zone Changes
    • Minor or Major Modifications to any of the permits listed above

Legislative actions, such as General Plan Amendments and Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments, are also discretionary actions. If your project requires a General Plan Amendment or Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment, you may choose to process the amendment separately or concurrently with your project. However, be aware that all privately-initiated amendments require a separate screening hearing before the Board of Supervisors prior to full processing of the proposed amendment. For additional information and application materials for General Plan Amendments and Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments, visit the Planning Division website.



Both ministerial and discretionary permits must comply with all land use regulations. One of the first steps to take before beginning the permitting process or submitting a permit application is to conduct research on the proposed project site. Click on the “Phase 2” link to begin your project site research.