Planning

ASSESSOR'S PARCEL NUMBER (APN)
A number, for tax purposes only that the Assessor assigns to a piece of land. This does not necessarily constitute a “Legal Lot”. Please refer to “Legal Lot” below.

CONDOMINIUM
An estate in real property consisting of an undivided interest in common in a portion of a parcel of real property together with a separate interest in space of residential, industrial or commercial building on such real property, such as an apartment, office, or store.

DENSITY
Is the number of permanent residential dwelling units per acre of land. Densities specified in the General Plan/Zoning Ordinance may be expressed in units per gross acre or per net developable acre. Slope density calculations may also apply.

DEDICATIONS
The turning over by an owner or developer of private land for public use, and the acceptance of land for such use by the governmental agency having jurisdiction over the public function for which it will be used. Dedications for roads, parks, school sites, or other public uses often are made conditions for approval of a development by a city or county.

EASEMENTS
It’s the right to use property owned by another for specific purposes, or to gain access to another property. For example, utility companies often have easements on the private property of individuals to be able to install and maintain utility facilities. Open space easements for the protection of environmental constraints are also common easement rights.

LEGAL LOT
In 1972 the State of California adopted the “Subdivision Map Act”. This date is critical in analyzing whether or not your Assessor Parcel Number (APN) actually constitutes a “Legal Lot”.

LOT SIZE
Is the minimum square footage or acres, as permitted in the city or county’s Zoning Ordinance. It may be expressed in either net or gross terms.

LOT SPLIT
This is laymen’s terminology for a “Minor Subdivision”.

SETBACK
Means the horizontal distance between the property line and any structure (or from some other pre-determined line, for example the centerline of a public right-of-way or a private road easement).

SUBDIVISION
The division of a tract of land into defined lots, either improved or unimproved, which can be separately conveyed by sale or lease, and which can be altered or developed.

VACATE/VACATION
Is the process to abandon a public encumbrance or a public easement.

ZONING/ZONING ORDINANCE
The division of a city or county by legislative regulations into areas, or zones, which specify allowable uses for real property, size restrictions for buildings, minimum lot size, maximum height and building setbacks. It is a complete program that implements policies of the General Plan.