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Residential accessory structures, including non-habitable storage sheds, workshops, gazebos, cabanas, and similar non-habitable structures, greater than 120 square feet require a permit.
A structure may be exempt from building permit requirements if the structure does not exceed a floor area of 120 square feet. Even though a permit may not be required, all structures must meet Municipal Code Planning and Zoning requirements for use, placement on the parcel, and design. Any electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work associated with accessory structures also requires a permit (whether it is 120 square feet or not).
According to the local Zoning Ordinance, fences located within residential districts may be permitted if they meet the minimum setbacks. For example, on corner lots, fences are restricted to thirty-inches nearest the radius of the street corner. To verify fence height requirements on your property, contact a Planning Department staff member at (510) 494-4455 or email them. Once the height requirements have been established and a permit is determined necessary, contact a Development Assistant at (510) 494-4460 for plan requirements. There is a sample plan of the fence requirements within the DSC. A copy can be faxed at your request.
Inspections for new fences generally take place in two stages. The first stage of inspection is conducted after all the postholes are drilled and cleaned. The second stage, the final inspection, is conducted after the entire fence is completed. The owner or the contractor must request the inspections through our automated inspection request system; instructions for inspection requests will be discussed at the time of permit issuance.
Depending on the size of the addition or scope of work the plans may be approved over the counter. For additions 750 square feet of less and meet conventional construction criteria you may be able to schedule an appointment for an over the counter review.
Once the permit is issued all the required inspections and approvals are to be done. For additions this may require opening or removal of concealed construction, the removal of some or all interior finishes and insulation and special inspection testing of epoxy anchors or hold-downs.
Please keep in mind that not all illegal additions can be approved.
For specific building and planning information, please contact the Development Services Center at 510-494-4460.
Plans without licensed professional stamps and/or signatures can be readily ordered. Please contact the Development Services Center for cost related to copies at (510) 494-4443.
The California Building Code requires covered barriers for swimming pools, spas and hot tubs. By definition, a Swimming Pool is considered to be any structure that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing and contains water that is over 24 inches deep, including spas and hot tubs. This includes in-ground, above-ground and on-ground swimming pools, and fixed-in-place wading pools. A Barrier is a fence, wall, building wall or combination thereof that completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool. During construction of new pools, spas or hot tubs, the City inspector will enforce the barrier regulations by checking fence heights, gate operations, door alarms, and other associated requirements. A copy of the barrier requirements will be attached to the approved plans for his review. You can voluntarily make your pool, spa or hot tub environment a safe one for family and friends by putting these requirements into play. Community Development Permit Technicians within the Development Services Center will issue building permits for voluntary barrier upgrades for existing pools. For more information please call 510-494-4460 or stop by the Development Services Center office at 39550 Liberty Street. Office Hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to noon.