Terms and Definitions
Terms and Definitions

Look up common, but confusing terms related to starting, maintaining, and growing your business.



The money made from the sale of your product or service.


If a proposed development does not comply with the city's existing zoning code, you may apply to change the zoning into one that will allow your development. This is typically a lengthy process that requires Planning Commission or City Council approval.

Special Project

For the purposes of permits with the Department of Building and Safety, a Special Project is one that consists of: affordable housing of 20 units or more, 20 units of senior housing or more, adaptive reuse, is city bond funded, is a charter school, or is a green business/uses clean technology.

Variable Costs

Variable costs are costs that change in proportion to the number of units produced. For example, if you own a dog grooming business, dog shampoo is a variable cost. You only incur the cost based on the number of dogs you wash. Variable costs aren't as risky as fixed costs because you only incur them when you sell your product or service.


A waiver of zoning requirements. Variances apply only to building restrictions (e.g., height, size), and not to allowable land uses.


The IRS form for reporting employee income.

WorkSource Center

City-funded resource that offers free workforce development services for employers and employees.

YouthSource Center

City-funded resource that offers workforce development services to 16-24 year-olds.


Allowable land use and building restrictions for particular geographic areas, as defined by the City's General Plan. If your project is not permitted by the zoning regulations, you will need to be apply for approval with the City.