Building in the City of Lancaster :

Lancaster’s General Plan reflects the community’s vision for the City and covers the City’s long-term prognosis for the future. The General Plan must be adhered to in all subdivisions, public works initiatives, redevelopment plans, zoning decisions, and other diverse implementation strategies. The City must periodically review the goals, objectives, policies, and specific actions to keep the Plan on track and ensure that it still reflects the community’s priorities.

The zoning code was established and adopted in order to encourage the best use of land, protect and stabilize the value of the property, provide enough open space for light and air and adequate fire control, prevent undue population concentration, lessen traffic congestion, and facilitate the proper provision of community facilities and utilities, including transportation, water supply, sewage disposal, schools, parks, and other public needs.

Residential zones were created to implement the City’s general Plan, as well as the land use designations outlined in the general Plan’s text and depicted on its map.

The non-urban residential or RR zones are designed to accommodate single-family homes in an area with little access to urban services. The minimum lot size is the main distinction between the zones. A rural residential area may only have extra uses that are compatible with it and enhance it.

The urban residential zones, also known as R zones, are designed to accommodate single-family homes with all urban services. 

The medium- and high-density residential zones are designed to accommodate medium- to high-density multifamily housing in an urban setting with complete urban services.

The purpose and intent of the MU zones are to implement the “Mixed Use” land use category of the City’s General Plan.

The mixed-use zones in the Mixed Use category each permit the coexistence of community amenities, offices, and both commercial and residential uses. The four mixed-use developments are distinguished from one another based on their intended purpose, the type of development concentrated there, their unique locations, closeness to other uses, and ease of access to public transit.

The Mixed Use-Neighborhood (MU-N) zone focuses on dense residential construction close to everyday business and office uses and services. It also provides pedestrian linkages and meeting areas for residents to use, such as parks and trails. Attached multifamily uses, such as apartments and condos, small-lot single-family subdivisions, and smaller commercial and office uses, are typical developments in the mixed-use neighborhood zone. Neighborhoods with these projects would feature a grid block structure for small-lot single-family developments or another highly linked street pattern.

The Mixed Use-Commercial (MU-C) zone emphasizes a more seamlessly integrated residential and commercial mixed-use development highlighted by “destination features” and public gathering spaces. Commonly seen along main thoroughfares, mixed-use commercial complexes aim to improve the local streetscape by including vertical aspects of multi-story buildings constructed closer to the front property line.

The Mixed Use-Employment (MU-E) zone is designed to give non-retail employment uses a location adjacent to residential uses. Multifamily residential uses, along with office professional, business park-type, and some light industrial uses, are generally included in mixed-use employment developments. Heavy industrial uses are not permitted in this area.

The Mixed Use-Transport Oriented Development (MU-TOD) zone serves as the building block for a complementing combination of sufficiently intense commercial and high-density residential land uses near a specific transit station.

The General Commercial (C) Zone’s goal is to promote the growth of locally-focused, regionally-focused, and travel-oriented commercial applications in the City. This neighborhood is designed to meet the everyday commercial requirements of city dwellers, those who live nearby, and those of tourists and companies in a setting with all urban amenities available. The general Plan’s specified goals, objectives, policies, and particular activities are designed to be congruent with this zone.

The Commercial Planned Development (CPD) zone was created with the intention of applying to properties that are subject to, or whose development requires, special considerations, such as proximity to residential neighbors, that need the planning commission’s attention and the application of special conditions to address. This region is designed to meet the everyday commercial requirements of city inhabitants and those living nearby, as well as those of tourists and businesses operating in an urban setting with all urban amenities. The general Plan’s development criteria and any related goals, objectives, policies, and programs are expected to be followed by this zone.

The Office Professional (OP) zone’s purpose and aim are meant to be in line with any applicable goals, objectives, policies, and activities specified by the Plan. In order to meet the business and employment demands of the City and surrounding regions in an urban setting with all urban amenities, this zone is designed to permit the development of office and professional uses with accompanying retail and commercial services.

The zoning map is found in the Knowledge Center.


City of Lancaster – Planning Department:

Making the City of Lancaster a functional, economically sound, and appealing location to live, work, and visit requires careful planning. Through the creation and execution of several short-, mid-, and long-range plans, such as the City’s General Plan, different special plans, and the City’s zoning and subdivision rules, the Department is dedicated to attaining this aim.

Every development project is examined by planning to make sure it complies with the rules outlined in the City’s plans and development laws. The California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other federal and state environmental regulations must all be complied with, which is another duty of planning.

Planning officials must review all applications for subdivision and development in the City. Projects are examined for compliance with the general Plan, special plans, zoning code, and subdivision rules that have been enacted.


City of Lancaster – Building, and Safety Department:

The Building and Safety Division consults with, advises, and grants permits to individuals such as architects, engineers, and designers. Additionally, the division examines all building designs for conformity with code standards and conducts routine inspections while construction is underway.

Construction permits are given per the most recent California Building Codes and any local city modifications, including building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and sewage work, as well as compliance with state energy regulations and state accessibility rules. These laws are upheld to safeguard citizens and real estate investment. The permission procedure guarantees that your project is carried out in accordance with safe construction techniques and might provide assurances that contractors are duly authorized to carry out the job.

Inspections may be conducted on construction projects or work that needs a permit. Requesting an inspection as soon as each stage of the work that requires one is finished is crucial. Until it has been authorized, the work must be accessible and exposed for inspection. Videos and photographs are not permitted for inspection purposes. The inspector must have access to the approved building blueprints, which must be kept on the property.

Lancaster recently added solar thermal systems to its list of approved “solar-friendly” small-scale solar photovoltaic systems for one and two-family homes.

One of the plan check engineers will examine your designs to ensure that all buildings and structures will be built in accordance with all state and local codes, as well as for structural safety, fire protection, exits, energy conservation, light and ventilation, and requirements for handicapped access. After your initial assessment, you will be given a rectification list of things that don’t comply with code standards. After making the required revisions, you must submit the blueprints for a second evaluation. The plan check engineers will accept your designs when all modifications have been made, and all applicable government permissions have been acquired.


City of Lancaster – Development Services Department:

The Development Services Department provides leadership, management, administration, and coordination of a wide array of municipal services. The City’s infrastructure is managed, constructed, and maintained through department programs, each of which has its own set of goals and performance objectives. The Planning Commission and the Architectural & Design Commission of the City of Lancaster also receive personnel help from the Department.

The Department is run by administrative employees who coordinate and assist all divisions, the office of the city manager, and all other departments of the City in general. Its duties include managing the budget and serving as the community’s point of contact with the Development Services division.


General Area Summary: 

Lancaster is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in Southern California’s Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert. It has a population of 176,800. The suburban City of Lancaster is a beautiful city with access to nature. Several qualities make it a great place to live.