Chapter 04- General



04.010          General provisions and exceptions.

04.020          Uses permitted.

04.030          Uses not listed as permitted.

04.040          Uses permitted subject to Director Review and approval.

04.050          Uses permitted subject to Use Permit.

04.060          Uses exempt.

04.070          Utilities.

04.080          Lot area.

04.090          Lot dimensions.

04.100          Density.

04.110          Building height.

04.120          Yards.

04.130          Special yard requirements.

04.140          Space between buildings.

04.150          Lot coverage.

04.160          Fences, screening and landscaping.

04.170          Off-street parking.

04.180          Access.

04.190          Signs.

04.200          Loading spaces.

04.210          Site plan review.

04.220          Countywide General Plan Provisions.

04.230          Area Plan Provisions.

04.240          Environmental review.

04.250          Nuisances and hazards.

04.260          Design Review Committee.

04.270          Animal Standards.

04.280          Placement of manufactured homes in conventional SFR areas.

04.281          Guesthouses.

04.290          Home occupation.

04.300          Snow storage requirements.

04.310          Flag lot.

04.320          Waste Management.

04.330          Plan of Operations.

04.340          Mobile Food Vendor Standards and Guidelines





04.010     General provisions and exceptions.

The general provisions and exceptions contained in these Land Development Regulations shall apply in all designations, where applicable. Where general provisions differ from provisions of a specific designation, the provisions of the specific designation shall apply.

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04.020     Uses permitted.

  1. The regulations contained in this chapter shall apply to uses permitted throughout the land development regulations.
  2. Land shall be used only for the purposes listed as permitted in the land use designation assigned to the land and only after securing all permits and licenses required by law. If the use is not listed, the use is not permitted, except as noted in Section 04.030. Similarly, buildings and structures shall be used, designed, erected, structurally altered or enlarged only for the purposes listed as permitted in the land use designation in which such building or structure is located, and then only after securing all permits and licenses required by law. Any use already established within an area when it is first designated but that is not a permitted use within such designation or is a permitted use only with a use permit shall be allowed to continue therein as a nonconforming use subject to all conditions and restrictions relating to nonconforming uses as provided in Chapter 34, Nonconforming Uses.
  3. Accessory buildings and uses customarily incidental to any of the permitted uses and uses subject to a use permit are permitted only when located on the same lot and constructed simultaneously with or subsequent to the main building.

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04.030     Uses not listed as permitted.

  1. It is recognized that in the development of comprehensive land use development standards that:
    1. Not all uses can be listed nor can future uses be anticipated; and
    2. Uses may have been omitted from the list of those specified as permissible in each of the various Land Use Designations described in this Land Use Element, hence the phrase, "plus such other uses as the Commission finds to be similar and not more obnoxious or detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.”
  2. Interpretation of "similar uses.”

Where the term "and such other uses as the Director or Commission finds to be similar and not more obnoxious ... " is mentioned, it shall be deemed to mean other uses that, in the judgment of the Director or the Planning Commission, as evidenced by a written decision, are similar to and not more obnoxious to the general welfare than the uses listed for the same designation. If a use is found similar to a permitted use or similar to a use requiring a Director Review or Use Permit, it shall also be permitted subject to the same requirements as its most similar listed use. The Director shall make the interpretation concerning uses permitted or uses permitted subject to director review; the Planning Commission shall make the interpretation for uses permitted subject to use permit. For interpretation of uses of a potentially controversial or sensitive nature, the Director may submit the matter to the Commission for an interpretation.

Any decision may be appealed in accordance with Chapter 47, Appeals.

Prior to taking an action to find a use similar to and not more obnoxious to the general welfare than the uses listed for the same designation, the Director or the Planning Commission shall find all of the following:

  1. That the proposed use is consistent with this General Plan and any applicable area plans or specific plans;
  2. That the proposed use is compatible with the intent of the land use designation and is applicable throughout the county in that designation;
  3. That the use is capable of meeting the standards and requirements of that designation; and
  4. That the use will be similar to and not be more obnoxious to the general welfare (i.e., health, safety) than the uses listed within the designation.

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04.040     Uses subject to Director Review.            

The following uses are permitted subject to Director Review in all districts, in addition to those listed in individual land use designations:

  1. Placement and Use of Recreational Vehicles (RVs) on Vacant Property.
    1. RV placement and use of undeveloped property during construction of a main building shall be permitted only for a short duration and shall not exceed one year, unless the Director Review permit is renewed annually following notice to contiguous property owners.
    2. Long-term temporary use of an RV – not to exceed six months of each year for a five-year period – may be permitted in designated avalanche zones subject to Director Review permit.
    3. In granting a Director Review permit, the following conditions, at a minimum shall be required:
      1. That Environmental Health review and approve sanitation methods for the temporary use;
      2. That the applicant obtain a building permit for the main building (if applicable) prior to RV placement;
      3. That the applicant obtain any necessary permits for the RV use, such as a building permit for electrical hookup;
      4. That the RV be removed from the site upon Director Review expiration; and
      5. That the RV be placed in a manner that minimizes visual impact to scenic highways and nearby properties.

No Director Review permit shall be granted if the proposed use conflicts with local CC&Rs or applicable area or specific plans.

The temporary use of an RV for agricultural-related purposes, where a parcel is 20 acres or larger, shall be exempt from the Director Review.

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04.050     Uses permitted subject to Use Permit.

Certain uses listed in the land use designations set forth in Section IV of this Land Use Element are permitted only when subject to use permit. Such uses shall be subject to all applicable property development standards of this chapter and those of the designation in which the uses are located. Any such use shall be subject to submission of a site plan.

  1. Uses listed in the designations as "permitted subject to use permit" are permitted subject to the provisions of Chapter 32, Use Permits.
  2. In addition, the following uses are permitted in any designation subject to use permit:
    1. Public buildings and quasi-public buildings and uses (see definitions);
    2. Towers erected for the purposes of providing communications through wireless or cellular technologies;
    3. Construction of an accessory building or establishment of accessory use prior to the construction of a main building;
    4.  Airports, heliports, taxiways and landing strips for aircraft (except the OS designation);
    5. Cemeteries, crematoriums (except the OS designation); and
    6. Cluster development, as defined in Section 02.290.

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04.060     Uses exempt.

Any temporary and seasonal uses conducted by public agencies for public purposes shall be exempt from the provisions of the land use designations and land development regulations. This section is not applicable to permanent improvements.

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04.070     Utilities.

Distribution lines and service laterals to development shall be underground. See Chapter 11, Development Standards – Utilities, for complete requirements.

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04.080     Lot area.

  1. After the effective date of any General Plan land use map by which any land or area is first assigned a land use designation, no land in any designation shall be divided by the recordation of any map or by voluntary sale, contract of sale or conveyance of any kind that creates a new parcel of land that consists of less than the minimum lot area required for the designation of which such lot is a part; provided further, that all land divisions shall be subject to the requirements for the division of land in Mono County. Any person participating in violation of this section, whether as seller, grantor, purchaser or grantee, is, as principal in the transaction, guilty of a misdemeanor.
  2. Where a lot has an area less than that prescribed by the land use designation in which that lot is located, and the lot was under one ownership at the time of record at the time the area was first designated whereby the lot became nonconforming, the lot may be used subject to all property development standards of the designation in which such lot is located.
  3. If any land use designation is followed by a numerical suffix that differs from the base designation minimum, then the numerical suffix that follows shall take precedent.
  4. Minimum lot sizes for On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS)

Minimum lot sizes shall be as follows: notwithstanding the fact that lesser lot sizes may be indicated in the respective designations:

  1. If an individual OWTS is proposed for a lot that is served by a Public Water System (PWS), then 15,000 square feet is required. Lots served by a PWS, and where the leach field serving these lots is located on a separate parcel dedicated for such use (centralized leach field or treatment), may have lot sizes smaller than 15,000 square feet. A lot that has an on-site septic tank, but is served by a remote leach field as described above, would meet these criteria;
  2. If both OWTS and an individual water supply well are proposed, 40,000 square feet is required, or as currently required by the Water Quality Control Plan of the Lahontan Region (Basin Plan) or approved Local Area Management Plan (LAMP). Local hydrogeological conditions may necessitate greater separation of the OWTS from well or water course for protection of beneficial uses;
  3. Minimum lot sizes in cluster subdivisions or similar developments not served by a public sewer system may be reduced if density standards for the whole subdivision are not increased above the gross density specified in the designation; provided that all other health requirements are met; and


  1. The SWRCB may limit the construction of additional OWTS in specific areas where system density or system failures have led to water quality concerns.  Currently the community of Twin Lakes exceeds the allowed density of OWTS and no additional systems can be permitted regardless of parcel size.

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04.090     Lot dimensions.

  1. New lots that utilize OWTSs and individual water supply wells shall comply with minimum dimensions as required by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and enforced by Mono County Environmental Health. Such lots shall have dimensions that afford a minimum 50-foot distance from the leach field to any property line, or dimensions otherwise approved by the Environmental Health director.
  2. Depth-to-Width Guidelines.

The primary function of depth-to-width ratios is to prevent the creation of long and narrow or irregularly shaped lots. In most cases, excessively long and narrow lots are difficult to efficiently utilize and thus, particularly within higher-intensity land use designations, represent wasteful land use planning. Long and narrow or irregularly shaped lots can increase the potential for land use conflicts. Depth-to-width ratios can also be used as a tool to limit access points along roadways.

Within community areas and residential enclaves, lot depth should not exceed three times the lot width (3:1).

Outside community areas, lot depth should not exceed four times the lot width (4:1).

Within Agricultural and Resource Management designations, depth-to-width ratios exceeding 4:1 may be considered when the land use designation objectives are accommodated by the larger ratio.

Depth-to-width ratios exceeding these guidelines may be considered when utilized as a tool for resource protection in conjunction with compatible residential development. Examples include recorded easements or map conditions, limiting site disturbance to a portion of a lot while permanently protecting the resource value of the remaining portion of the lot. The portion of the lot that allows for site disturbance should conform to the appropriate guidelines of 3:1 or 4:1 listed above.

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04.100     Density.

All density is based upon the net acreage of the parcel.

Density requirements set forth in the base designation shall apply. Fractional parts from 0.5 to 0.9 shall be rounded to the next higher number, subject to all development standards of the land use designation.

A density bonus for workforce or affordable housing shall be granted in compliance with Government Code Sections 65915-65917.        

A density bonus for enclosed covered parking may be granted as follows:

One bonus dwelling unit may be granted per two enclosed, covered parking spaces for multifamily residential uses. Projects must provide enclosed, covered parking for at least 50% of units to qualify for bonuses. Density bonuses shall be calculated on the surplus of required covered parking spaces greater than 50% and shall be awarded as part of the approval process.

For hotel/motel and other similar uses, a density bonus may be granted if underground or understructure parking is provided for 50% to 100% of the rooms. The density bonus shall not exceed 50% and shall be awarded as part of the approval process.

Review standards and develop a density bonus policy applicable to other commercial uses such as retail and office space.

Certain Land Use Designations (LUDs) specify a maximum density that may not be exceeded when density bonuses are awarded. In no case shall density bonus awards exceed this maximum. See the applicable LUD for maximum density provisions.

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04.110     Building height.

  1. All buildings and structures hereinafter designed or erected, or existing buildings that may be reconstructed, altered, moved or enlarged, shall have a height no greater than 35 feet from grade measured from any point of the building. All heights shall be calculated from the natural grade or finished grade, whichever is more restrictive. See Figure 11.
  2. Accessory buildings in any residential designation shall be limited to a maximum height of 20 feet except as may be permitted by the Director.
    1. Accessory uses over 20 feet in height shall be architecturally compatible with and be subordinate to the primary residence. Additional design requirements, such as color, building material, landscaping, building articulating and location, may be required to minimize off-site visual impacts and respect neighborhood characteristics. Accessory Dwelling Units shall be subject to the same standards as the primary unit.
  3. On large commercial projects and multifamily, condominium or apartment projects where an entire floor area is devoted to underground parking, the height of building shall mean the vertical distance from the ceiling of the underground parking facility to the topmost point of the building, but excluding certain features as specified in Sections 04.110 D a & b.
  4. Exceptions to the Height Limitations:
    1. Permitted: The following uses are permitted:
      1. Public utility exceptions. Poles for public utilities shall be allowed in all designations to a height greater than that permitted for buildings in the designation but shall not exceed 60 feet.
      2. Residential exceptions. The height specified for residential development of 35 feet may be adjusted to allow additional height to a maximum of 45 feet, provided that the required side and rear yards are increased one foot in width for each foot of height over 35 feet.
    2. Director Review: The following uses shall be permitted at a height greater than 35 feet subject to Director Review and approval: chimneys, silos, cupolas, flag poles, wind generation towers, monuments, natural gas storage holders, personal radio and other similar towers, water tanks, church steeples and similar structures and mechanical appurtenances that are permitted in a designation. In cases where the additional height might result in substantial detrimental effects on the enjoyment and use of surrounding properties, a use permit will be required but shall not exceed 60 feet, except for wind generation towers.
      1. Small wind generation systems are regulated by the Mono County Code, and towers in no case shall exceed 80 feet.
    3. Use Permit: Commercial and industrial exceptions – The height limitations of this chapter may be modified for commercial and industrial uses upon securing use permit approval and contingent upon findings by the Commission that the height would maintain the functional and aesthetic integrity of the immediate adjacent established commercial/industrial area, the project will not result in substantial detrimental effects on the enjoyment and use of surrounding properties, and that the modified height will not exceed the lifesaving equipment capabilities of the fire protection agency having jurisdiction, and in no case shall exceed 60 feet, except for cellular and wireless towers.
      1. Cellular and wireless tower height above 60 feet may be granted in Public Facilities (PF) land use designations subject to Chapter 11, Section 11.020.J.6 in the Land Use Element, and in no case shall exceed 80 feet.



Situation Requirement
All buildings hereafter designed or erected, or existing buildings that may be reconstructed, altered, moved or enlarged Height of no finished part of such building greater than 35’ measured from grade. All heights shall be calculated from the natural grade or finished grade, whichever is more restrictive
Residential development May be permitted greater than 35’, to a maximum of 45’, provided that the required side and rear yards are increased one foot in width for each foot of height over 35’.
Accessory buildings Maximum height of 20’ (15’' in the MFR-L), except as may be permitted by use permit.

Barns, stables and similar necessary buildings in the

Equestrian Overlay District

May exceed the height limitation for accessory structures (20’), but in no case greater than 35’.

Accessory agricultural buildings in the AG district

(i.e., hay barn)

Maximum height of 40’.
Commercial, apartments, multifamily or condo projects with an entire floor devoted to underground parking (see 2.1160, Definitions – Parking, underground) The height of the building shall be calculated as the vertical distance from the ceiling of the parking facility to the topmost point of the building, exclusive of vent, chimneys or other such incidental appurtenances.
Structures in I or IP districts Maximum height of 40’.
Public utility poles Allowed in all districts to a height greater than that permitted for buildings in the district.
Silos, cupolas, flag poles, wind-generation towers, monuments, natural gas storage holders, radio & other towers, water tanks, church steeples, & similar structures & appurtenances

Permitted at a height greater than 35’ subject to Director Review.

In cases where the additional height might result in substantial detrimental effects on the enjoyment and use of surrounding properties, a use permit will be required.

Fences Fences shall not exceed 7’ in height. Where a fence, hedge or wall is located in any required front yard, it shall not exceed 4’ in height.

Commercial and Industrial Uses

See 04.110.D.
Natural Habitat Protection (NHP) District No building or structure shall have a height greater than 24’.

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04.120     Yards and Setbacks

  1. Minimum Required Yards.
    1. Minimum Front, Side and Rear Yards are required to maintain access, fire safety and community character and are specified for each land use designation. New construction including accessory structures and sheds, shall be set back from the property line or road easement, whichever is more restrictive, to preserve the required minimum yards. While numerous exceptions are detailed in this section, the following minimum yards are generally required.

TABLE 04.120: Minimum Yards

LUD Front Rear Side

SFR <1 acre

20' 10' 10'

SFR >1 acre

30' 30' 30'
ER 50' 30' 30'
RR 50' 30' 30'
RU 30' 30' 30'

RMH <1 acre

20' 10' 10'

RMH >1 acre

30' 30' 30'

MFR <1 acre

20' 10' 10'
MFR >1 acre 30' 30' 30'
MU <1 acre 10' 5' 0'
MU> 1 acre 30' 30' 30'
CL 10' 5' 0'
C 10' 5' 0'
SC 10' 5' 0'
IP 20' 10' 10'
RM 50' 30' 30'
AG 50' 50' 50'
NHP 30' 30' 30'
OS 50' 30' 30'

NOTE: 30-foot front, side and rear yards is required by State law on all lots greater than one acre regardless of the land use designation.

  1. Snow-Shedding Considerations.
    1. When developing in areas and communities above an elevation of 6,000’ extra consideration shall be taken in the design of structures to account for snow shedding. The Building Division may determine that the design, pitch, etc. of the roof may cause snow to shed onto adjoining property, vehicle parking areas or public ways and require greater than 10-foot minimum side or rear yards.
  2. Side-Yard Reductions.
    1. When developing in areas and communities above an elevation of 6,000’ a required minimum side yard of 10 feet may be reduced on one side to a minimum of 5 feet when sufficient documentation is presented to the Planning Division showing the roof design is oriented so that snow does not shed toward adjacent properties, required parking areas, or other public ways. A required minimum side yard of 10 feet may be reduced on both sides to a minimum of 5 feet when roof design is oriented so that snow does not shed toward adjacent properties, required parking areas, or other public ways, and when written approval of the reduction from the Fire Protection District is provided.
    2. When developing in communities at elevations below 6,000’ or the communities of Paradise, Tri Valley, Lee Vining, Mono City, Bridgeport and Antelope Valley a required minimum side yard of 10 feet may be reduced on one side to a minimum of 5 feet. A required minimum side yard of 10 feet may be reduced on both sides to a minimum of 5 feet when written approval of the reduction from the Fire Protection District is provided.
    3. When developing in any community or area on a lot greater than one acre and within any land use designation, 30-foot minimum front, side and rear yards are required by State law and reflected in Chapter 22 – Fire Safe Regulations. A required minimum side or rear yard of 30 feet may be reduced on one or both sides to a minimum of 10 feet and a required minimum front yard of 30 feet may be reduced to a minimum of 20 feet upon receiving a waiver from Cal Fire consistent with Chapter 22.
  3. Commercial and Mixed Use Designation Considerations.
    1. When a commercial use is proposed and is abutting a residential district, or a residential use is proposed within a commercial or mixed use designation, the required minimum side and rear yards shall be 10 feet.
    2. On corner lots, a 10-foot required minimum front and side yard shall be required for all uses.
    3. Commercial and mixed use lots greater than one acre, 30 feet minimum front, side and rear yards are required by State law and reflected in Chapter 22 – Fire Safe Regulations. A required minimum front, side or rear yard of 30 feet may be reduced on one or both sides to a minimum of 10 feet and a required minimum front yard of 30 feet may be reduced to a minimum of 20 feet upon receiving a waiver from Cal Fire consistent with Chapter 22.
  4. Non-Typical Lots
    1. Corner Lots are lots that border intersecting streets or access easements. In this case, one street frontage shall require the applicable front yard and the second street frontage shall require the applicable side yard.
    2. Double-frontage lots are lots with public access on opposite sides of a lot. Front yards shall be required on both frontages.
  5. Habitat and Wildlife Setbacks.
    1. Lakes, Streams/Creeks. In order to minimize the impact to areas with lakes, streams and creeks, the following procedures shall be applicable (specific plans or area plans may be more restrictive or less restrictive, and shall take precedence):
      1. Definitions. A major stream is shown as a permanent stream on a US Geological Survey (USGS) map, and is a continuously flowing water body. A minor stream is shown as an intermittent stream on a USGS topographic map and is a permanent stream with low flow during all or part of the year. Seasonal streams not shown on a USGS map are not subject to this section, unless determined otherwise in accordance with subparagraph C of this subdivision. A lake is an accumulation of water, larger than a pool or pond, generally formed by a natural or man-made obstruction in the course of flowing water that is shown on a USGS map.
      2. New development shall be subject to the following minimum setbacks from any lake, and major or minor stream. Any proposed structure, including associated impervious surfaces, shall be located a minimum of 30 feet from the top of the bank. Greater setback requirements may be imposed through the land division and/or environmental review process if determined necessary to protect the water body and riparian resource. Deviations of these setback requirements may be granted if the mandatory Director Review findings can be made and the applicant can demonstrate that the proposed construction will not result in a significant adverse impact on the water body or the riparian area. Such Director Review applications shall include a landscaping plan that illustrates all project site disturbance areas and specifies a comprehensive program for restoring the disturbed areas.

Structures and uses existing within these setback areas prior to January 1, 1990, shall be permitted to remain and, if necessary, be reconstructed. Such reconstruction within the setback area shall not result in:

  1. An increase in lot coverage;
  2. A change in use;
  3. Increased runoff from impervious surfaces; or
  4. An adverse change in the drainage of the lot.


  1. If the Public Works Department determines in the course of its review that a stream course not identified on a USGS map carries significant flow (either continuously or intermittently), the building setbacks in this subdivision may be imposed.


  1. Wildlife. For sage grouse lek setbacks and deer migration corridors. Refer to Conservation Open Space Element for more details.


  1. Other Setback Requirements
    1. Architectural features. Architectural features such as cornices, eaves, and canopies may project not more than 30 inches into any required yard. Fireplaces, not exceeding 8 feet in breadth, may extend not more than 30 inches into any required yard.
    2. Porches. Open, uncovered porches, landing places or outside stairways may project not more than 3 feet into any required yard.
    3. Front-yard variation. In any residential designation where 50% or more of the building sites on any one block have been improved with buildings, the required front yard shall be not less than the average of the developed building sites, to a maximum of that specified for the designation in which the building site is located.
    4. Garage within front yard. Notwithstanding any part of the requirements of this section, in cases where the elevation of the front half of the lot at a point 50 feet from the centerline of the street is 7 feet above or below the grade of the centerline, a private garage, attached or detached, may be constructed to within 5 feet of the front line; provided that no such structure shall exceed 8 feet in height, measured from the finished floor line to the top plate line, nor more than 20 feet from finished floor line to the roof peak or other structural appurtenance.
    5. Pools. Pools, spas and hot tubs may not be located closer than 5 feet from any side or rear lot line, nor shall they encroach into any easements. On corner lots, no pool shall be located closer than 10 feet to the lot line abutting the side street.
    6. Stables and paddocks for horses shall not be less than 50 feet from the front property line nor less than 50 feet from any dwelling unit other than a unit occupied by the horse owner. These requirements do not apply to horses kept for personal use in permitted designations or in an equestrian-combining designation.
    7. Retaining Walls. Retaining walls of four feet or less above grade are permitted within required setbacks. Terraced retaining walls are measured from the base of the lowest section to the top of the highest section for the purposes of this chapter. For retaining walls that exceed 4 feet in height above grade, the following restrictions apply: the base of the wall shall be placed at least as far from the property line as the wall exceeds 4 feet. Thereby, a 6- foot wall requires a 2-foot setback from the property line. An 8-foot wall, a 4-foot setback, and so on.
    8. Required or primary access structures including vehicular and pedestrian bridges may be permitted within required yard setbacks when such access structures are necessary due to topographic or other physical constraints and when developed in accordance with all other permitting requirements, including environmental reviews.
    9. Cluster Developments. Cluster developments may propose zero lot lines for side yards as part of the use permit review process.
    10. Accessory buildings in Agriculture (AG) designations such as barns and stables shall be not less than 30 feet from side or rear property line, nor less than 50 feet from any front property line.
    11. Commercial lots abutting a highway in June Lake, Lee Vining and Bridgeport. In areas where the majority of the commercial properties have previously been developed to less than the required 10-foot front setback, the 10-foot setback requirement may be reduced provided that the applicant can demonstrate all of the following:
      1. The project provides a front yard of not less than the average front yard depth of the developed properties in the commercial district; and
      2. The reduced setback will not adversely impact or impair the ultimate development of streets or sidewalk, street snow removal or snow storage or adversely impact driving visibility or obstruct the line of sight from vehicles in the roadway or driveway(s).
      3. The reduced setback will not adversely impact the aesthetic integrity of the commercial area or result in an adverse impact to the natural environmental.

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04.140     Space between buildings.

All buildings hereafter designed or erected and existing buildings that may be reconstructed, altered, moved or enlarged, shall comply with the space between building requirements as determined by the California Building Code.

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04.160     Fences, screenings and landscaping.

Fences are permitted, but not required, and shall not exceed 7 feet in height. Where fence, hedge or wall is located in any required front yard, it shall not exceed 4 feet in height. Higher fences may be permitted subject to use permit if they do not obstruct the line of sight from vehicles in roadways or driveways. Fencing in sensitive wildlife areas warrants special consideration; see best practices for fence design in the Conservation/Open Space Element.

Screening and landscaping are permitted and may be required by the Community Development Department director for projects that need buffering from adjacent uses and/or to stabilize exposed or disturbed soils. Screening may take the form of berms, fences, landscaping, other appropriate materials or combinations thereof. Landscaping should utilize native and drought-resistant species to the greatest extent practicable. Shrubs and trees should be of sufficient size and maturity to survive weather extremes, as landscaped areas are frequently used for snow-storage purposes over extended periods of time. Normally, a minimum 1-inch caliper tree with staking will be required.

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04.170     Off-street parking.

The provisions of Chapter 6, Development Standards – Parking, shall apply.

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04.180       Access.

Access to provide adequate ingress and egress shall be built and maintained to all lots in each designation according to all applicable road standards as determined by the Public Works Department.

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04.190     Signs.

  1. All signs shall be placed in accordance with the regulations established in Chapter 7, Development Standards – Signs.

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04.200     Loading spaces.

Loading-space requirements shall be determined at the time of site plan review in accordance with the uses proposed.

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04.210     Site plan review.

  1. Preapplication conference. Prior to submitting an application for a use permit, tentative tract or variance of substantial size and/or complexity (as determined by the Director), a prospective applicant should consult with the Land Development Technical Advisory Committee to obtain relevant information as well as to inform the Committee of the applicant's intentions. This conference will provide an opportunity to review the proposed plan of development and identify potential requirements or subjects requiring particular attention prior to entering into binding commitments or incurring substantial expense in preparing plans, surveys and other data. The applicant shall provide a conceptual plan showing the site, topography, surrounding land uses and road rights of way. Minutes will be taken by planning staff at the meeting and a copy shall be provided to the applicant. These minutes shall be included with the application at the time it is formally submitted.
  2. Site plan review may be required for building permits within sensitive-species habitat.
  3. Compatibility with adjacent lands. Any site plan shall be designed and developed in a manner compatible with and complementary to surrounding uses in the immediate vicinity of the site. Site planning on the perimeter shall give consideration to protection of the property and any division into parcels shall relate harmoniously to the topography of the site. Consideration shall also be given to suitable provision for reservation of watercourses (see Section 04.130 E.7.), wooded area, rough or steep terrain, and similar natural features and areas, and shall otherwise be so designated as to use such natural features and amenities to best advantage.
  4. A site plan shall be submitted for any use requiring a use permit. The site plan shall show the subject site, significant topographic features and adjacent structures in relation to proposed structures, phasing, intended method of parking and circulation, proposed grading and landscaping and such additional information (i.e., trash collection, snow storage, existing trees of 12 inches or greater in diameter, or stands) deemed necessary for consideration of the proposal, or as required by applicable area plans.

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04.220     Countywide General Plan Provisions.

Prior to submitting an application for any new land use or a change of use, a prospective applicant should consult this General Plan to ensure that the proposal is consistent with the goals and policies as well as the mapped Land Use Designations of this General Plan.

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04.230     Area Plan or Specific Plan Provisions.

In areas in which an area plan or specific plan has been adopted (see sections Ch. 36, ), the provisions of the area plan shall also apply.

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04.240     Environmental Review.

The environmental impact of applications for land uses subject to the regulations of this General Plan shall be reviewed and taken into account in deciding whether such applications shall be approved, as provided in Chapter 16, Mono County Code.

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04.250     Nuisances and Hazards.

When any of the following is contained on any lot and is considered to be a nuisance or hazard to surrounding properties, the appropriate County entity shall investigate and initiate the appropriate enforcement proceedings:

  1. Emission of odors. Enclosures, devices, or other precautionary means shall be employed to ensure that odors are maintained at reasonable levels appropriate for the district and are not objectionable at the point of measurement when the use is in operation.
  2. Discharge of liquid or solid wastes. Land uses shall operate within the guidelines of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Disposal of liquid and solid waste shall also be in compliance with Chapter 7.12 and 7.16, Title 7, Health and Welfare, Mono County Code. Liquid or solid wastes discharged from the premises shall be properly treated prior to discharge so as not to contaminate or pollute any watercourse or groundwater supply or interfere with the bacterial processes in sewage treatment.
  3. Vibration, noise. Refer to Chapter 10.16 of the Mono County Code, Public Peace, Safety and Morals.
  4. Fire and explosion hazard. All activities involving the use of storage of combustible, flammable or explosive materials shall be in compliance with nationally recognized standards and shall be provided with adequate safety devices for protection against the hazard of fire and explosion, and adequate firefighting and fire-suppression equipment and devices in compliance with state and local fire prevention regulations. Burning of waste materials in open fires is prohibited without written approval of the local Fire Protection District.
  5. Electrical disturbance. No activity or land use shall cause electrical disturbance that adversely affects persons or the operation of any equipment across lot lines and is not in conformance to the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission.

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04.260     Design Review Committee (DRC).

Review by the local design review committee is required, where applicable. This DRC review should be initiated upon application to the County and finalized prior to issuance of building permits. The DRC will generally review all commercial structures, multifamily residential uses of four units or more, and signs.

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04.270     Animal Standards.

  1. Pet animals. The keeping of pet animals is permitted in addition to the animal units permitted in the matrix in the following subsection. Pet animals are subject to the following provisions:
    1. For all dwellings, except multifamily, any and all of the following pet animals are permitted, with no minimum lot areas:
      1. Four dogs and four cats.
      2. Up to four of any combination of the following:
        1. Chickens (excluding roosters), cooped.
        2. Ducks, penned.
        3. Goose, turkey or similar fowl (limit one), penned.
        4. Rabbits or other domestic animals of similar size at maturity, penned.
      3. Domestic birds, not fowl, enclosed at least 15 feet from any dwelling on adjoining property.
    2. Multifamily dwellings are permitted any combination of cats and dogs, up to a maximum of four animals per dwelling unit.
  2. Animal units. Animal husbandry, and the keeping of animals accessory to dwellings shall be permitted in accordance with the Animal Standards Table.

Table 04.030: Animal Standards



Minimum Lot Area Required Animal Units Permitted Distance Requirements



10,000 sq. ft.

Less than one acre: one unit per 10,000 sq. ft. of lot area with Director Review with Notice

1-10 acres: one unit per 10,000 sq. ft. of lot area.

>10 acres: no limit

No requirements in OS, PF, AG


Except for movement on and off the property, animals shall not be kept, maintained or used in any other way, inside or outside any structure  within 50’ of those portions of any structure used for human occupancy, assembly or habitation, other than the residence of the owner or keeper of such animals .





10,000 sq. ft.

10 acres or less: one unit per 10,000 sq. ft.


>10 acres: no limit

SFR 20,000 sq. ft.

Two units per 20,000 sq. ft. of lot area with Director Review with Notice


>1 acre: one unit per 10,000 sq. ft. of lot area.


One Animal Unit Equals:

1 cow, bull, horse, mule, donkey or llama 2 pigs, goats or sheep

6 geese, turkeys or similar fowl

10 chickens, ducks or game hens, excluding guinea hens and roosters in the SFR 12 fur-bearing animals including rabbits, and other fur-bearing animals of similar size at maturity


  1. In calculations for permitted animals, fractional numbers are to be rounded to the lower whole number.
  2. The offspring of animals are allowed and shall not be counted until they are of weanable or of self-sufficient age. Dogs and cats shall be counted when 4 months of age or older.
  3. Applicability of lot area requirements: These animal standards refer to each individual lot or parcel; lots cannot be combined to meet area or other requirements for animal keeping.

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04.280     Placement of manufactured homes in conventional SFR areas.

These standards permit the placement of manufactured, factory-built or modular housing in all areas designated for conventional single-family residential dwellings: SFR, ER, RR, MFR-L, RU, RM, AG and OS. In addition, they are allowed in the MU designation subject to Director Review.

These building and architectural standards are intended to ensure visual compatibility with traditional single-family home construction (stick built). Before an installation permit is issued for any manufactured, factory-built or modular housing, plans shall be submitted in compliance with the following standards:

  1. A site plan in full compliance with the building permit application checklist.
  2. Evidence that the home is 10 years old or newer (except in RMH) and bears a seal of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certifying that HUD construction standards are met ();
  3. Elevations showing the roof slope, roof materials, eave overhang and exterior siding materials;
  4. The unit must meet the design wind, seismic and roof load requirements;
  5. In addition, the following standards shall apply except in the RMH land use designation:
    1. Have a minimum width of 20 feet or more. A minimum width less than 20 feet may be allowed when the home is generally consistent with community or countywide design guidelines.
    2. Be attached to a permanent perimeter foundation constructed of concrete or masonry. This foundation shall meet the same requirements as foundations for all other single-family residential structures in the county. If the home is installed on an engineered foundation system, perimeter concrete or masonry walls shall be required;
    3. Be covered with an exterior material customarily used for conventional dwellings and approved by the Mono County Building Division;
    4. Have a roof pitch of not less than 3 inches for each 12 inches of horizontal run and consisting of shingles or other material customarily used for conventional dwellings and approved by the Mono County Building Division; and
    5. Eaves (roof overhang) shall extend a minimum of 10 inches on all sides of the home. An exception to this eave requirement may be granted by the building official if proof is provided that the 10-inch eave would prohibit transportation of the home.

ADVISORY NOTE: Mono County is not responsible for enforcing Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Property owners should consult their applicable CC&Rs for any restrictions on the type of housing.

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04.281     Guesthouses.

“Guesthouse” means an accessory use to a residence that may contain living and sleeping spaces, including bathrooms, but shall not contain facilities for the cooking of food.

A guesthouse shall not be used as an Accessory Dwelling Unit for rental whether compensation is direct or indirect.

As a condition of approval, the owner shall record a “Declaration of Restriction” limiting the use of the unit to that of a bona fide guesthouse. Said covenant shall include an accurate site plan showing all improvements and clearly indicate the guesthouse.

Guesthouses exceeding 640 sq. ft. or on parcels less than one acre, will be subject to Director Review. Guesthouses exceeding 1,400 sq. ft. will be subject to a use permit.

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04.290     Home occupation.

Home occupations are permitted in all residential designations, subject to obtaining a business license and compliance with the following home-occupation standards. A proposed home occupation must be clearly incidental and secondary to the residential use of the parcel and must be carried on within on-site structures by inhabitants of the parcel.

In order to maintain the home occupation and the business license, the applicant shall comply with all of the following home-occupation standards at all times:

  1. The business shall be confined completely within the dwelling and ancillary structures, excepting two vehicles not to exceed one ton towing capacity each;
  2. The business shall involve no sales of merchandise other than that produced on the premises or merchandise directly related to and incidental to the occupation; as long as no other violation of any other subsection occurs;
  3. The business shall be carried on by members of the family occupying the dwelling, with no other persons employed;
  4. The business shall produce no evidence of its existence in the external appearance of the dwelling or premises, or in the creating of noise, odors, smoke or other nuisances to a greater degree than that normal for the neighborhood (i.e., no delivery trucks);
  5. The business shall not generate pedestrian, vehicular traffic, or parking needs beyond that normal in the neighborhood in which located;
  6. The business shall require no structural, electrical or plumbing alterations in the dwelling;
  7. The business shall involve no equipment other than that customarily used in dwellings; and
  8. The business shall involve no outdoor storage or advertising.
  9. A cottage food operation as defined in Section 113758 of the Health and Safety Code and in compliance with AB1616 shall be a permitted home occupation provided it complies with all applicable provisions of this section and the Health and Safely Code, as it may be amended. Any applicant for a home occupation under this subsection shall demonstrate he or she operates a qualifying cottage food operation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, subsection  C  above shall not apply to a cottage food operation.
  10. Modifications to the above requirements may be permitted with an Expanded Home Occupation Permit.
  11. Expanded Home Occupation permits require approval by the Planning Commission at a public hearing.

Expanded Home Occupation permit may be granted by the Planning Commission only when all of the following findings can be made in the affirmative:

  1. That the proposed use is consistent with this General Plan and any applicable area plans or specific plans;
  2. That the proposed use is compatible with the intent of the land use designation and is applicable throughout the county in that designation;
  3. That the use is capable of meeting the standards and requirements of that designation; and
  4. That the use will be similar to and not be more obnoxious to the general welfare (e.g., health, safety, noise, traffic generation) than the uses listed within the designation.

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04.300     Snow storage requirements.

Snow-storage areas shall be provided for all new commercial, industrial and multifamily (three or more units) developments, including condominiums. Snow-storage area(s) shall be equal to a required percentage of the area from which the snow is to be removed (i.e., parking and access/roads areas). Snow storage shall be provided on site, but may be allowed off site through the use permit process. Snow loads shall be established by the Design Criteria utilized by the Mono County Building Division.

Flat Roof Snow Load      Snow Storage %

55 psf or less  =                      25%

55-60 psf        =                      40%

60-95 psf        =                      55%

95+ psf            =                      65%

Usable snow-storage areas shall be identified on the site plan and shall be accessible to snow-removal equipment and substantially clear of obstructions. All designated snow-storage areas shall be at least 10 feet wide or deep in the smallest dimension or based upon demonstration of alternative methods (i.e., equipment and size). Heavily landscaped areas shall be protected from snow removal.

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04.310     Flag lot.

Flag lots shall not be permitted if specifically prohibited in an area plan or when viewed as having significant cumulative effects. The County strongly discourages flag-lot divisions, but may permit flag-lot divisions upon findings of special circumstances (i.e., for utilization of irregularly shaped property and/or those properties impacted by topographic features). The creation of a residential flag lot shall comply with the following road or access requirements:          

  1. Lot area: That portion of the flag or pole shall not be counted as part of the required lot area.
  2. Street frontage: The minimum street frontage for flag lots shall be 40 feet. All flag lots shall be serviced by a 40-foot minimum pole.
  3. Parking: Required parking shall not be provided within the pole.

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04.320     Waste Management.

Consistent with State law, all new commercial developments and multifamily developments, including condominiums, shall provide adequate space for waste management and/or recycling based on the proposed use and anticipated waste generation.

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04.330     Plan of Operations.

The purpose of a Plan of Operations is to clarify and define the intended uses and operations of a project. The Community Development director may require filing a Plan of Operations with a business license application under certain circumstances even when a Director Review permit or use permit application is not triggered. Such situations may include reinitiation of a past use in vacant structures, compliance complaints or land use compliance issues generated by historic use(s), and other similar circumstances. The project must be similar to uses permitted under a Director Review permit and exempt from CEQA. A Plan of Operations shall address the following:

  • Complete description of business operations, facility uses, and hours of operation;
  • A detailed site plan, including parking and circulation, public accessibility, fire lanes/hydrants, and existing easements;
  • Odors, noise or any other potential nuisances;
  • Outdoor storage and condition of property;
  • Signage and advertising; and
  • Any other issues identified by the Community Development director.

The Plan of Operations will be filed by the Compliance Officer with the business license to confirm operations approved by the business license. Future lack of compliance with the Plan of Operations may result in enforcement actions, which could include business license revocation or requirement of additional planning permits.

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04.340     Mobile Vendor Standards and Guidelines

The sale of food and other retail items from a motorized vehicle or from a trailer, or from a portable unit, is permitted in Commercial land use designations. Temporary uses (i.e., fewer than 180 days) may be permitted through a Director Review or Special Event permit. Longer-term or permanent operations shall be permitted through a use permit. The following standards and guidelines shall apply to all operations:

  1. A permit application shall be submitted and shall include the following:
    1. A Plan of Operations as defined in 04.330;
    2. The location of the Commissary for food vendors;
    3. Renderings of the proposed mobile vendor;
    4. A description of vending services including incidental merchandise, sales methods, and the nature of the products; and
    5. A copy of current California vehicle registration.
  2. Comply with any applicable California Building Code requirements.
  3. Comply with California Health and Retail Code and Environmental Health regulations including:
    1. Approval from Mono County Environment Health;
    2. Display of required health permits in a visible location; and
    3. Provision of a restroom within 200 feet for employees.
  4. The application shall be sent to the applicable Fire Protection District for a compliance review prior to permit approval.
  5. No amplified sound or music is permitted. The project shall operate in compliance with Mono County Code Chapter 10.16 (Noise Regulation).
  6. Signage shall be placed on the food truck. All signs shall be in compliance with Chapter 07 of the Mono County General Plan.
  7. The site shall be kept free of any litter or debris at all times.
  8. Mobile food facility shall be sited in the designated location as listed on the permit.
  9. Bear-proof waste and recycle containers shall be provided for the deposit of food scraps and trash. If the operation occurs only in areas where bears are not present, the bear-proofing requirement may be waived.
  10. Vendors shall not obstruct pedestrian access or vehicle traffic.
  11. If propane is used as a part of the operation, a fire extinguisher shall be kept with the food cart/truck at all times.
  12. Sales shall occur only during hours of operation listed on the permit.
  13. The operation shall not be approved as a home-based business and shall be based out of an appropriate commercial location.
  14. Vending within fire lanes, loading zones, etc. is prohibited.
  15. Comply with all traffic and parking laws.
  16. Placement of tables, chairs, or similar items in the right of way (streets or sidewalk) is prohibited.
  17. Supply or drainage pipes or power supply cords that pertain to the vending operation shall not be placed on or across surface parking or unimproved areas, or be attached to adjoining or nearby buildings, unless the vending operation is located immediately adjacent to the building so that the attached pipes or power cord have minimal exposure and do not present a potential hazard for passersby.

New food vendors should diversify offerings to food not currently being available in the community.

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