The Commission manages about four million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of natural navigable waterways (rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits). We also manage about a half-million acres of lands known as school lands. Open each of the boxes below to learn more about our application process.
The Commission has an online portal, the Online System for Customer Applications and Records, to submit applications. You can access training videos on how to create an account and apply through the portal. To submit a paper application, download our Application for Use of State Lands or request a paper application by calling our office at 916.574.1940.
Each application must include a non-refundable filing fee of $25 and an Approximate Expense Deposit. The Approximate Expense Deposit reflects the typical staff costs to process a routine application. Actual staff costs may be more or less than the deposit. These fees are separate from and in addition to any charges for occupation or use of state land.
Title / Boundary Review
Lease & Permit Processing
We prepare a staff report for the Commission and recommend whether to approve or deny a proposed lease or permit. The staff report analyzes whether the proposed use or activity is in the State’s best interest and takes the below items into account:
- Public Trust Analysis (as applicable): We assess whether the proposed use is consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine. If a proposed activity or use is inconsistent with the Public Trust, we may recommend that the project be revised or may recommend that the Commission deny the application.
- Best interests of the State: We analyze whether the proposed activity or use is in the best interests of the state.
- Regulatory Compliance: We review the proposed activity or use to ensure all necessary permits/leases and authorizations have been obtained or are in the process of being obtained. Most leases for the use of state lands require approvals from other agencies, such as the California Coastal Commission, and the city or county where the proposed lease area is located. Some leases may also require the consent of the landowner (where the Commission owns all or part of the underlying mineral interest, but not the surface land) or adjoining landowners (right-of-way leases crossing sovereign land).
- Tribal Consultation: We conduct outreach and consult with Tribal governments that may be impacted by the proposed use in accordance with statewide policies (Executive Orders B-10-11 and N-15-19), the Commission’s Strategic Plan and Tribal Consultation Policy, and CEQA.
- Environmental Justice: We review the proposed use to ensure it is consistent with our Environmental Justice Policy. We may recommend lease terms or conditions to ensure consistency with our Environmental Justice Policy.
The Commission considers the proposed application during a public meeting and decides whether to approve or deny the proposed lease or permit and under what terms and conditions. Contract documents, (e.g., the lease, memorandum of lease, etc.) are expected to be signed and returned by the applicant before the Commission meeting.
Staff Closing Transaction
Commission staff will sign contract documents following the Commission authorization and receipt of the signed contract document from the applicant. Once all parties have signed the contract documents, we will provide a copy to the lessee/permittee (previously applicant). If a Memorandum of Lease was required as part of the lease document, we will send signed copies to the appropriate county recorder’s office. Once the document has been recorded, we send a copy to the lessee for their records.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For answers to more Frequently Asked Questions please see our general FAQ page.
How do I know if I need a lease or permit from the Commission?
If you are planning on using or constructing any type of structure on lands under the Commission’s jurisdiction, developing any resources or minerals located on, or otherwise occupying any lands under the Commission’s jurisdiction, a lease is likely necessary. The best course of action is to call or submit an inquiry to the Commission. The contact number for general leasing questions is 916.574.1940 and the contact number for mineral or resource leasing information is 562.590.5201.
How long does it take to process my application?
Is compensation required for the use of State land?
How will I know if there are any objections to my application during a Commission meeting?
If concerns are raised on a consent item, we will remove the item from the consent agenda and it will be considered as a regular item. Wewill provide a verbal presentation on regular (non-consent) items. The applicant may speak in support of their application, and the public may request to comment. The Executive Officer will call out any changes to the consent agenda at the beginning of the meeting.
What actions are available to the Commission when considering my application?
The Commission can:
- Approve: The Commission authorizes the lease or permit consistent with staff’s recommendation which allows the applicant to use the lease premises as outlined in the lease or permit.
- Approve with changes or modifications to staff’s recommendation: During the consideration of a lease application at a public meeting, the Commission may approve the lease or permit but make changes or modifications to the lease or conditions of the lease that are different from staff’s recommendation.
- Deny: The Commission can deny an application for a lease or permit. If that happens, the applicant would not have the authority to proceed with the proposed use.
- Defer: The Commission postpones action on an application until a later date.
If the Commission approves a lease or permit, the authorization is for a fixed term of years without options or rights of renewal. The applicant accepts that future leases or permits authorizing the continued existence of any structures constructed or maintained by an applicant on state land are subject to a future discretionary action of the Commission. Submission of an application for a new lease does not guarantee a new lease will be granted. Lessees are required to remove any structures from state land before their lease expires unless a subsequent lease is approved by the Commission. The applicant acknowledges that construction of structures on state land and investment in or obtaining financing for the uses authorized under any lease or permit is done in full understanding that future leases are not guaranteed. Applicants should therefore consider the cost of both construction and structure removal in the context of the original lease term.
What other agency approvals may be necessary?
Examples of other agencies are:
- California Coastal Commission
- California Department of Conservation
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife
- California Energy Commission
- California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM)
- California Regional Water Quality Control Boards
- Central Valley Flood Protection Board
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Regional Water Quality Control Boards
- San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
- Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
- United States Army Corps of Engineers
- United States Bureau of Land Management
- United States Bureau of Reclamation
- United States Fish & Wildlife Service