City of San Diego Development Services Department Implements Operational Changes in Response to COVID-19  

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(pr)On Monday, March 23, the City of San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) is implementing a series of safety protocols to protect customers and employees from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include a new fully electronic permitting process for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and plans to expand to electronic submittal for all projects in the near future.

DSD’s operational changes respond to directives from Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Gov. Gavin Newson, the Centers for Disease Control and local health authorities, to adapt operations and continue conducting essential construction services while safely delivering core services to customers.

The City is taking necessary preventative safety measures while being responsive to the business needs of our customers,” said DSD Director Elyse W. Lowe. “DSD employees will continue to work with customers to limit delays to project approvals and keep the City moving forward. We are quickly leveraging available technology to increase our options and continuously implementing new safety measures in response to this unprecedented global pandemic.”

Among key changes to how DSD delivers services in response to COVID-19 are:

  • Granting all qualifying building permit applications and issued building permits an automatic 180-day extension;
  • Closing public access to the downtown Development Services Center and the Inspection Services office in Kearny Mesa;
  • Establishing an unstaffed document drop-off area for customers to submit project files and documents in the first floor of the Development Services Center;
  • Employing virtual appointments wherever possible between customers and employees by conducting meetings remotely via email, phone and video conferencing.

o   Customers should visit DSD’s Contact Us page for more information on how to request an appointment;

  • Launching a new fully-electronic permitting process for residential roof-mounted solar photovoltaic projects for a program that averages 10,000 approvals annually. This electronic process eliminates the need for thousands of paper plans to be driven downtown and dropped off at the City, speeds up the approval time and conserves natural resources by requiring all applications, corresponding plan documents and construction changes for residential PV projects to be conducted through the DSD website; and
  • Revamping the residential inspection process by now allowing for the submittal of photos instead of in-person physical inspections for qualified residential projects.

For a comprehensive list of DSD’s functional changes in response to COVID-19, customers are encouraged to visit its Operational Changes in Response to COVID-19 page.

For local information on COVID-19 and new directives in place, visit

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