Variance and Permit Appeal Hearing Information

How do I Apply for a Variance or Appeal a Permit?

Once you realize you may need to apply for a variance or appeal a permit, submit the petition forms with confirmation of fee payment as soon as possible to the Hearing Board Clerk via email or in person at 10124 Old Grove Road, San Diego, CA 92131. Information provided in the petition should be clear, comprehensive, and concise.

What happens at the hearing?

Meetings resemble informal courtroom proceedings. The Hearing Board listens to presentations by the District and by the applicant. District staff may argue for or against the granting of a petition or suggest certain conditions. Witnesses, who are placed under oath, may be questioned by the opposing side and by Hearing Board members. The public may also present information.

After receiving testimony in a public meeting, the Hearing Board evaluates how the evidence applies to the required findings, deliberates in public, and reaches a decision on the petition.

Hearing Board Responsibilities

The Air Pollution Control District Governing Board (APCD), appoints the five members of the the Hearing Board to hears requests from industry, the District, and the public to:

How do I prepare for a hearing?

Use the District’s answer (for variances/permit appeals) or petition (for abatement orders/permit revocations) as a guide to focus your remarks. You may choose to have an attorney or technical expert represent your facility at the meeting, although it is not required.

If there are documents that you wish to present to the Hearing Board that you have not filed with the Clerk by the filing deadline, please notify the Clerk immediately. At the hearing, the Hearing Board will need to vote to accept new written material.

It may be in your best interest to provide a visual presentation (i.e., PowerPoint, etc.) to present your position to the Hearing Board, although a visual presentation is not required to address the Hearing Board.  If you will be providing a visual presentation, you may submit it to the Clerk of the Hearing Board by the filing deadline (9:00 a.m. seven calendar days before the meeting).  If you are unable to submit your presentation by the filing deadline, please notify the Clerk as soon as reasonably possible.  Any presentations submitted during the meeting will require a majority vote of the Hearing Board to be accepted prior to presenting and a digital/electronic copy will be needed for the Clerk to share any materials in the room and for inclusion in the official record.

If you are not prepared for a scheduled meeting, you may request a continuance (Rule 23). If you wish to withdraw your petition (Hearing Board Rule 24), notify the Clerk of the Hearing Board at as soon as possible.

How do I speak at a hearing as a member of the public?

Members of the public may speak to the Board (Rule 9.5) on any matter within the Hearing Board’s jurisdiction. Please provide the Clerk a speaker slip before the meeting begins. If the matter relates to an agenda item, comments are taken during that time; contact the Clerk before the meeting to review documents submitted for an agenda item. If the matter is not listed on the agenda the Hearing Board gives those present the opportunity to speak during the Public Communication portion of the meeting.

What assistance does the Hearing Board provide for persons with disabilities?

Agendas and records are available in alternative formats upon request. Contact the Clerk at (858) 688-7147. Individuals requiring sign language interpreters should contact the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator at (858) 586-2600, in advance of the meeting so that arrangements may be made. An area in the front of the chamber is designated for individuals requiring the use of wheelchair or other accessible devices.

What happens after the meeting?

If you filed a petition, the Clerk will send you the official Hearing Board Order after the Board approves the Order at its next meeting.

  • Review the Order to make sure you understand it. If you do not comply with an Order, you may receive a Notice of Violation and be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
  • If your variance request is granted, the conditions in the Order become the law during the variance period. If you do not comply with those conditions, you may also be subject to having your variance revoked or modified.
  • If you have any questions about how to comply with an Order, contact the District Compliance Division. If you believe that you cannot meet a condition in the Order or in any accompanying Schedule of Increments of Progress, you may petition the Board to modify the Order or Schedule of Increments of Progress.

Need more information?

For procedural questions, please contact the Clerk of the Hearing Board by email at or by phone at (858) 688-7147.

Compliance Division Contact

For general questions, please contact a Compliance Civil Actions Investigator by phone at (858) 586-2650.