Development Services




(Effective March 31, 2014)




The City of Merced’s Development Services Department provides services associated with growth and development in the City of Merced. The Development Services Department is made up of four divisions:

1) Planning and Permitting
3) Inspection Services

The Development Services Director is David B. Gonzalves.  The Development Services Department is located on the 2nd floor of the Merced Civic Center at 678 West 18th Street.  Our counter hours are 10:00 a.m. - noon and 1:00-5:00 p.m. You may reach us by phone during business hours (10:00 a.m. - noon and 1:00-5:00 p.m.).

Setting the Foundation For Quality Growth

Development Services has established a clear vision and direction for leading our Community to success. All staff have committed to improving the services with fewer resources, thru innovation, streamlining processes and changing the way we do business. Customer feedback has made it clear that the improvements are noticed and appreciated by the Community. Our Business Processing Center is coming to fruition through staff’s hard work and dedication.

Changes for the Department will continue as we move our City into the future. Updating our regulatory codes is essential to continuing to improve the opportunities for businesses, not just to create more regulations, but to create a vision of a Community with vales that ensure our quality of life is preserved. The Planning Division is currently completely updating our Zoning Code. This will allow staff to change review procedures and approval levels, and give the developer and business owner a sense of certainty for the outcome of a proposed project. The Community will also be assured of the way their neighborhood will look and be affected. Development Services was also responsible for a complete over-haul of the Public Facilities Impact Fee program in 2012, resulting in a 55 percent decrease in fees. This was an opportunity for the Community to create opportunity for development, while maintaining our community goals and priorities.
Another important issue to be addressed is the future of the Bellevue Corridor. The Bellevue Corridor Community Plan will begin taking shape in the next year and will help guide development of the area surrounding the UC Merced so that its full potential can be realized. Development Services helps to establish the very foundation of the community’s design and character, which directly relates to the communities sense of quality of life. A great deal about our community is determined within the responsibility areas of Development Services as well as how our community will endure and recover from this economic meltdown. Our staff understands this concept and takes great pride in our role serving the community.
This foundation sets the stage for the economic recovery and opportunities that our community needs. Quality growth through simple common sense practices will lead to a stronger community.

Welcome to the City of Merced Development Services Business Center. The Director of Development Services is responsible for management of all operations of the Business Processing Center. This includes all Current and Advance Planning, maintenance of the General Plan, Specific Plans, and Secretary to the Planning Commission. The Director of Development Services is also the Chief Building Official/ Construction Project Official in charge of all building compliance throughout the City of Merced. The Director is responsible for the management of the Building Division which processes and checks all plans for compliance with the building codes, processes all building permits and inspects all buildings. The Director also oversees the Engineering Division of the Development Services Department, which designs and constructs public facilities and reviews public improvements constructed by private property development. The Engineering Division is comprised of the Capital Improvement Section, Development Services Section, and Construction Inspection Services. The Director is responsible for creating a business friendly responsive staff, which is essential to the business community, while improving the quality of life for the citizens of our City. Our commitment to the citizens is to continually improve our services and while providing the best possible services with the resources available.

Mission Statement
Development Services plans for the orderly growth of the City, consistent with the goals and objectives of the community's General Plan. The Development Services team strives to process projects quickly and efficiently consistent with the public's interest and safety in mind. Our team will design, construct and inspect all City construction projects throughout the city at the highest level, while providing all business development departmental services in a courteous, professional and responsible manner.  Development Services staff are responsible for many of the City's goals related to our quality of life.  Our committment to doing what is best for the community is foremost in our minds.

Department Responsibilities
The Development Services Department is responsible for the Planning, Engineering, and Building Divisions functions. Staff reviews all residential, commercial and industrial projects in the City. The Planning Division writes and updates the City's General Plan and Specific Plans including the Downtown Specific Plan. Staff reviews all projects for zoning compliance; processes land division applications, and processes all environmental assessments and reports. The Building Division regulates building and associated construction activities to protect public health, safety and welfare pursuant to uniform construction codes governing land use. The staff's activities include building plan review and inspection during construction. The Engineering Division of the Development Services Department designs and constructs public facilities and reviews public improvements constructed by private property development. 

David B. Gonzalves
Director of Development Services