Welcome to The Development Digest, a monthly guide delivering the latest news from Fremont's Community Development Department.

City's New Planning Manager

Meet Joel Pullen, the City's new Planning Manager. You may already recognize him! Joel has been with the City for 14 years and has served in many positions within our Planning Division, including Senior Planner and, most recently, Principal Planner. Joel is a Fremont native and graduated from California State East Bay with a bachelor’s degree in sociological theory/urban studies. After a four year term in the Air Force, Joel began his career with the City and was promoted through the ranks. Joel has strong analytic skills and a keen ability to research and compile information on complex planning issues. He brings a depth of experience as he has worked on a broad range of current planning, long range planning, and capital improvement projects in Fremont. In his new role as Planning Manager, Joel will serve as Secretary to the Planning Commission and will oversee all activities of the Planning Division. Email Joel.

Holiday Closure for Development Services Center

This month, the City is implementing a Holiday Closure for many non-public safety City services from Monday, December 23, 2019 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020. City offices will re-open for business Thursday, January 2, 2020. This closure will not affect police and fire services.

The Development Services Center, located at 39550 Liberty Street in Fremont, will be closed during the Holiday Closure.

  • Those who may need assistance with building permits and inspections are encouraged to use the time between now and Friday, December 20 to organize project timelines and visit the Center. The Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • For those applying for solar installation permits, the deadline to submit plans electronically will be Friday, December 13. For more information, please contact solar permitting staff by email.

For more information about the Development Services Center, please visit the City's webpage or call 510-494-4443. 

2019 Building Code Effective January 1, 2020

Effective January 1, 2020, the new 2019 California Building Code becomes effective in the City of Fremont. All permitting and planning applications received prior to January 1, 2020 will be subject to the current 2016 edition of the building code. Applications received on or after January 1, 2020 will be subject to the new 2019 building code.

Due to the City's Holiday Closure from Monday, December 23, 2019 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020, the deadline to submit applications under the current 2016 building code is the week of December 16 through December 20, 2019. Please remember the Development Services Center will be closed at 12 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 2019 and will not re-open until Thursday, January 2, 2020.

For more information about the new building code, please contact Plans and Permits by email or at 510-494-4460.

New Tobacco Retail License Program

In October, the Fremont City Council voted unanimously to establish a Tobacco Retail License program for Fremont, joining over 150 California municipalities with similar programs. This program was implemented to ensure that retailers comply with tobacco control laws to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Fremont residents and to limit youth access to tobacco products.

As part of the program, a new City ordinance became effective November 8, 2019 and includes the following requirements:

  • Any retailer who sells tobacco products needs to acquire an annual no-cost Tobacco Retail License from the City.
  • Flavored tobacco products are banned in Fremont. These products can include, but are not limited to, flavored: cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, little cigars, Swishers, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, hookah, e-cigarette cartridges, e-juice, JUUL pods, and other flavored components for vaporizers.
  • Cigarettes must be sold in packs of 20, at a minimum price of $8.
  • Cigars (this includes cigarillos/little cigars) must be sold in packs of 5, at a minimum price of $8.
  • Single cigars already sold at $5 are permitted.

All state-licensed tobacco retailers in Fremont were notified of the new program by mail, and the City also conducted in-person workshops to help answer any questions.

For more information on the new Tobacco Retail License program, including a comprehensive FAQs document, please visit the City’s webpage.

Real Estate Open House Signs 

Earlier this year, the Fremont City Council directed City staff to review the City’s real estate sign regulations. In recent years, community complaints regarding real estate signs in Fremont have increased. The community is concerned with the number of open house signs at the same location, the amount of time signs are left out, and the intention of the signs to advertise for realtors rather than direct people to open houses. In the 12 months ending in October 2019, the City’s Code Enforcement team observed 229 instances of real estate open house sign violations under the existing policy (18.194.160), resulting in 57 warning notices and $32,000 in realtor/broker citations.

In November, City staff provided an informational update to the City Council, which included researching regulations and enforcement policies from other cities and engaging with the local realtor community and other stakeholders. Staff plans to return to City Council early next year with a recommendation to update the existing policy. The proposed update would include:

  • limiting how many open house signs are located at an intersection and the number of signs a realtor may display per property;
  • prohibiting sign placement within a specific distance of a Fremont registered historical resource;
  • increasing the required sidewalk clearance where signs are placed from three feet to four feet;
  • expanding informational outreach programs to realtors; and
  • developing options for weekend enforcement.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact Leonard Powell, Code Enforcement Manager, at 510-494-4521 or by email

Building a Better Bay Area: Fremont

The week before Thanksgiving, ABC7 News took its Building a Better Bay Area initiative to the streets of Fremont to showcase how our City is uniquely and strategically tackling challenges that are facing cities throughout the Bay Area. The series kicked off with a special Town Hall event featuring panels on building better community, living, and business. The event also gave community members the chance to ask questions and raise conversation topics.

The weeklong series resulted in 30 stories on the City's housing solutions, traffic partnerships, workforce initiatives, and overall life in Fremont. They also highlighted the diversity of our community, our booming advanced manufacturing industry, local restaurants, and the building of our downtown from the ground up. Learn more about the coverage we received by reading Mayor Lily Mei’s blog post on Think Silicon Valley.

View all of Fremont's Building a Better Bay Area stories on ABC7's website.

Use the Citizen Access online tool to access permitting information, request a building inspection, and submit a concern to Code Enforcement.
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