Glossary of Terms

Authorization issued by the Building Department giving the recipient authority to proceed with the construction of a building.
A license issued by the Tax Collector's Office that allows an individual to operate a business within unincorporated Stanislaus County. All Business Licenses originate in the Planning Department. The Planning Staff will verify that the business use is consistent with the zoning for a specific piece of property. Once it is determined that the use is consistent with the zoning, an application can be filled out and the proper fees must be paid. Please note that license expires three calendar years from date of issuance. Please see the Fees page for current pricing.
A departure from any provision of the Subdivision Ordinance requirements for a specific parcel, without changing the Subdivision Ordinance.
Amendments to the General Plan can occur four times a year. According to Board of Supervisor policy, amendments can occur in April, August, December and the fourth time is held in reserve to be used at the Board's discretion.
Where the land taken from one parcel is added to an adjacent parcel, and where a greater number of parcels than originally existed is not thereby created.
A division of land where a maximum of four parcels and a remainder are allowed for the purpose of sale, leasing or financing. A more complete definition is provided in the Subdivision Map Act.
An amendment to the map and/or text of a zoning ordinance to effect a change in the nature, density, or intensity of uses allowed in a zoning district and/or on a designated parcel or land area.
A staff approval permit, which are revocable, conditional, and valid for either a specified or an indefinite period of time, may be issued for any of the uses which, under the terms of Chapter 21.100 of the Zoning Ordinance, are permitted subject to first securing a staff approval permit. Staff approval permits shall have the same effect as a use permit, except that it is granted by the Director of Planning and Community Development, rather than by the Planning Commission.
Subdivision is the act of dividing land, either improved or unimproved, and can be altered or developed. Subdivisions are over five parcels created for the purpose of sale, leasing or financing. Further, it would require a tentative and a final map. A more complete definition is found in the Subdivision Map Act.
The discretionary and conditional review of an activity, function or operation on a site, or in a building or facility.
A departure from any provision of the zoning requirements for a specific parcel, accepted use, without changing the Zoning Ordinance or the underlying zoning of the parcel. A variance usually is granted only upon demonstration of hardship based on the peculiarity of the property in relation to other properties in the same zoning district.
The Williamson Act, also known as the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, was designed as an incentive to retain prime agricultural land and open space in agricultural use, thereby slowing its conversion to urban and suburban development. The program entails a ten-year contract between the County and an owner of land, whereby the land is taxed on the basis of its agricultural use rather than its market value. The land becomes subject to certain enforceable restrictions, and certain conditions need to be met prior to approval of an agreement.