Planning Department

Welcome to the Torres Martinez Planning Department



To develop the types of uses, plans, policies, and building and safety procedures for the lands and resources of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, to reflect the ideals and values of the Torres Martinez people; to preserve and protect the Tribe’s land base and resources; to safeguard the Tribe’s cultural heritage; and to promote the existing and future well-being of all Tribal members.


  • To implement the Tribe’s land use and development policies and standards, development review, and long-range planning, to promote orderly economic development and improve the quality of life for members of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe
  • To encourage and promote Planning Department activities that will build partnerships and cooperation within Tribal functions and the surrounding community
  • To provide GIS mapping and data services to the Tribe, its programs, departments, and members as an informational resource to promote efficient use of Tribal lands and resources
The Planning Department has 3 programs: Planning, Building & Safety, and Geographic Information Systems mapping (GIS). The following is a description of the basic functions of each program.


Administer Tribal Land Use and Development Ordinances

Planning Staff are responsible for the development and day-to-day implementation of the Tribe’s land use and development policies and ordinances. The policies and ordinances the Tribe has adopted to date include a Permitting Policy and Procedure, landuse plan / zoning ordinance (TM ORD 001-99), and Planning Commission Ordinance.


Planning staff review applications for permits to ensure compliance with Tribal land use, and development standards. For example, planners look at the Tribe’s land use plan and zoning to ensure that the proposed development complies with setbacks, access, circulation, and parking standards, and other Tribal standards.
In addition to these duties, planning staff serve as the Planning Commission’s research staff.


When is a Building Permit required?

Permits are required before any building or structure is erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, moved, repaired (major), improved, converted, or demolished. This includes decks, patios, sheds over 100 square feet, fences, over six feet, and retaining walls over four feet, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.

How Do I Apply for a Permit?

All building permits require a completed application form. Application forms are available at the Planning Department. Permit fees are due when the application is submitted. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Planning Department staff will assist customers with the application process.


Development of a Comprehensive General Plan

The Torres Martinez Tribe is developing a comprehensive general plan. The comprehensive general plan will consist of at least two parts; (1) a written text description explaining the community’s goals, objectives, and policies toward development, and (2) a map illustrating land uses, the major road system, seismic and environmental hazard areas, and other policy statements. This will be at least a two year process which will result in a plan and map that will guide development on the Reservation. The Tribal comprehensive general plan will provide the vision, direction, and policy that will greatly benefit the Tribe and the surrounding community. It will be an effective tool for the Tribe to enhance Tribal housing and economic development, create new jobs, and help provide the Tribe with the ability to approve and implement projects through a clearly defined process.

Goals of the Tribal Comprehensive General Plan

  • Set the overarching goals, policies, and direction for land use and development
  • The comprehensive general plan will be the most important tool in the Tribe’s toolbox to manage and regulate land use and development on the Reservation
Rural Communities Assistance Corporation (RCAC) has designated the Tribe as a “Partner Community” and is assisting the Tribe with the development of the comprehensive general plan. The Tribe has conducted two Tribal community workshops to establish the vision, values, and goals of the Tribe. This is the first component of the comprehensive general plan. The Tribe’s next step is to create the general policy statements for the Reservation land. These policy statements will address basic elements such as:
  • Land use
  • Circulation
  • Housing
  • Conservation
  • Noise
  • Safety
  • Others as required by the Tribe

Contact Information


 Roland Ferrer, Planning Director

760.397.0300 x120


 Robert Powell, GIS Analyst



Contact Us

760-397-0300 - Phone
760-397-3925 - Fax
866-810-1000 - TANF

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