How to apply for an administrative permit

The BCDC administrative permit is meant for projects that are minor in scope.

The key difference between a major and administrative permit process is that a minor permit is issued by BCDC’s Executive Director and the project typically does not need to be voted on by the Commission.  

Timeline: Typically 4 to 8 months, but varies greatly depending on your overall project timeline. The BCDC permit is issued within 90 days of the time we receive a full and complete application.

Cost: $300 to $480,000, calculated based on the total project cost

  1. Confirm your project qualifies for an administrative permit
    To be eligible for an administrative permit, your project must be listed as a “minor repair or improvement” in the Commission’s administrative regulations. You can contact BCDC staff to confirm if your project is eligible.
  2. Schedule a pre-application meeting
    You may schedule a pre-application meeting with a BCDC staff person. However, this step is not always necessary for minor projects, so you can skip this step if your project is straight-forward or routine.
  3. Obtain local discretionary approvals and other needed permits
    You must obtain any required discretionary approvals from your local government before BCDC can act on your permit application. Examples of local discretionary approvals may include:
    • lot line adjustments
    • subdivision approvals
    • rezonings
    • conditional use permits
    • planned unit development approvals
    • engineering review
    • other actions taken by planning commissions, port authorities, special committees, boards of supervisors or city councils, and regional bodies
    Permits or authorizations from other agencies are also required for most major projects before BCDC can act on an application.
  4. Prepare your application
    Make sure your application is complete before it is submitted. Your application can be processed far more quickly and efficiently if it is complete and includes all required attachments.

    Detailed instructions are available to help you fill out the BCDC permit application form.
  5. Submit your application and pay application fee
    Send the application to with the subject line “Permit Application: PROJECT NAME.”

    The application fee must be paid by check payable to “San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.” Send the check to our offices via USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
  6. Post public notice at the site
    After we receive your application, we will send you a PDF “public notice” to print and post at the project site to advertise the pending application. This notice must be posted at a prominent location at the site of the project (or multiple locations at larger sites) and in a location where it is visible to the public.

    Please ensure that the notice remains in place and in good condition until the permit has been granted or denied.
  7. Work with your BCDC contact
    A staff member will be assigned to review your application. They will inform you within 30 days if any necessary information is missing.

    If your BCDC contact informs you that the application is missing any required information or exhibits, you must submit these materials before we can begin our review process. Each time you resubmit missing or incomplete application materials, the staff person requires up to 30 days to review them, so it is in your best interest to make sure your materials are thorough and accurate.

    Once your BCDC contact determines that the application is complete, and if the project can be approved, they will prepare a permit. The permit may include special conditions that require you to make modifications to your project, follow special procedures for construction, or take other measures to comply with the Commission’s law and policies.
  8. If your application is approved, submit required plans and comply with other requirements of your permit
    Projects are typically required to submit construction plans to BCDC and comply with other requirements prior to the time that you start work on the project.

    Work with the BCDC compliance team to ensure that you meet all the requirements of your permit.

For detailed and official instructions about this process, see Chapter 6 of BCDC’s administrative regulations.