Remodeling your house or property


As a community interested in preserving its character, a high degree of cooperation exists between the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea and property owners. The special character of this small coastal community is considered a unique asset of statewide and national significance that should be maintained as a resource both for local residents and for visitors.

The City has developed Residential Design Guidelines to encourage human-scale building design, maintaining and enhancing the forest character, and projects that are sensitive to neighboring properties.

The City’s Design Study process assures that alterations and new construction respect the design traditions of the community, while accommodating reasonable development and change. Most exterior alterations to your residence or property will require Design Study approval from the Community Planning and Building Department, and in some instances may need to be reviewed by the Planning Commission. 

Other important regulations to note:

  • Transient rentals may not be rented for a period of less than 30 days in the Single-Family Residential Zoning District.
  • The City’s Right-of Way Vision Statement encourages that the City right-of-way at the front of your property be maintained in a natural informal state, which may include native drought-tolerant landscaping. Boulders, gravel, no-parking signs, planters and other structures are prohibited in the right-of-way. 

Please contact the Community Planning and Building Department (831) 620-2010 with any questions.