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This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is tailored specifically for visitors interested in the Ontario Planning Department. If you have any suggestions or additional questions that should be addressed on this page, please email your comments to Luis Batres at

What do I need to get a Sign Permit?

You first need to find out from the Planning Department, what the zoning designation for your property is and if a sign program was previously approved on that property. If a sign program is approved for your property, the sign program will outline the signage requirements on the property. If a sign program is not present, then you will need to follow the signage requirements outlined on Article 31 of the Ontario Development Code for your zoning designation. View Article 31: Signs of the Ontario Development Code.

Note that if the subject property is zoned “SP” or Specific Plan, the sign requirements for that property must be consistent with the sign standards for the Specific Plan. Visit the City of Ontario’s Specific Plans section for additional sign criteria.

What do I need to get a City Business License?

You need to find out from the Planning Department, what the zoning designation for your property is and if the proposed use is allowed within that zone. Once it is determined that the use is permitted, you can obtain a City Business License, from the License Department, by calling (909) 395-2022.

What is required to operate a business out of my home?

In order to operate a business out of your home, a Home Occupation Business License is required and must be approved by the Planning Department. Make sure you review the Planning Department’s Home Occupation Permit standards and requirements, found in Article 13: Land Use and Special Requirements. Click Home Occupation Business License for an application or call the License Department at (909) 395-2022. For more specific information regarding a home-based business, please contact the Ontario Planning Department at (909) 395-2036.

What is the Zoning and General Plan designation for my property?

To find out the Zoning and General Plan designations for your property, please refer to the Zoning and General Plan Maps. You will need to download these maps and find the location(s) of your property.

What is a Zoning Map?

The City of Ontario’s Zoning Map divides all of the land, within the city limits, into different areas or "zones." Zoning identifies and regulates certain land uses (i.e.: Residential, Commercial, and Industrial) and provides development standards to which new development must conform to. Development standards refer to the height, lot coverage, parking standards, wall(s), landscaping requirements or setback requirements that apply within a particular zone. The purpose of establishing zoning designations within a community is to ensure that neighboring land uses are compatible with one another. For example, residential uses are generally not compatible with industrial uses.

What is a General Plan?

A General Plan is the “blue print” of the City’s future vision, goals and policies. It is a City document required by the State of California. State law requires that local jurisdictions update their General Plans every 10 years. The Ontario General Plan states long-term goals, principles and policies for achieving Ontario's long term vision. It guides growth and development to achieve optimum results from the City's physical, economic, environmental, and human resources.

How do I apply for a Zoning Verification Letter?

To get a zoning verification letter, you are required to complete a Zoning Verification application and you must submit a processing fee of $77, payable to the City of Ontario. The Planning Department’s policy is to complete your request within 10-calendar days.

How do I find out where my property line(s) and dimension(s) are located?

Contact the City’s Engineering Department at (909) 395-2025 to find out which tract your property is located. Once this has been determined, the Engineering Department's staff will locate the applicable recorded tract map and/or property’s legal description within their files and provide it to you. The recorded tract map and/or property’s legal description will show your property’s dimensions (i.e. lot size, length, and width) and any equestrian, utility, drainage, and/or access easements. As an alternative, you can check your property deed for the "legal description" that describes the boundaries of your lot. Note: Do NOT assume that a fence or wall is on the property line. You may need to hire a professional land surveyor who will determine and mark the location of your property lines.

What do I need if I want to add a room to my house?

The first thing to do is to contact the Planning Department at (909) 395-2036 to determine what the zoning designation is on your property. Once the zoning designation is determined, you can refer to Article 14 – Residential Districts, of the Ontario Development Code to find out what the setback requirements and maximum coverage are for your property. Once you have completed your scaled plans, which will include: a site plan, floor plan, elevations plans, and construction details, you will be required to submit 3-sets of plans to the Building and Safety Department. To find out the cost of your permits and additional submittal requirements, please call the Building Department at (909) 395-2023.

How high can I place a fence along the front of my single family home?

The maximum height of a fence along the front yard is 3-feet. A 6-foot tall fence may be constructed, provided that such fence is setback 5-feet from the front property line and at least 90 percent of the vertical surface above 3-feet is open and non-view-obstructing. Refer to Article 14 – Residential Districts, Section 9.1-1415: Fences, Walls and Obstructions.

Who is the best person to discuss a particular type of project at a specific location in the City of Ontario?

The Planning Department is comprised of several Planners within two Divisions: Advance Planning and Land Development. Each Planner is assigned projects based on workload and experience. Begin by speaking to a counter staff and explain to him or her, your proposal. That person can usually answer basic questions and, if necessary, can refer you to the appropriate individual for further information.

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