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A grading permit is required for the following activities, as outlined in County Code Section 16.20.050. The following guidelines are written for information only and are superseded by the language included in County Code Section 16.20.050.

  • Excavation or fill whose volume exceeds 100 cubic yards
  • Creating a cut slope greater than five feet high
  • Creating fills greater than two feet in depth
  • Fills placed on natural terrain with a slope greater than 20 percent
  • Fill that alters or obstructs a drainage course
  • Fill that will be used for structural support*
  • All shoreline protection projects, including seawalls and rip-rap, even if they involve less than 100 cubic yards of material.

* Fill used for structural support includes over-excavation and re-compaction of soil beneath foundation elements.

The following activities are exempt from requiring a grading permit:

  • Excavations below grade for basements** and footings of a building, retaining wall or other structure authorized by a valid building permit.
  • Cemetery graves
  • Permitted refuse disposal sites being controlled pursuant to other county regulations
  • Excavations for individual and community sewage disposal systems made pursuant to permit***
  • Excavations for wells and utilities***
  • Mining and quarrying excavations and stockpiling pursuant to County permit
  • Exploratory excavations under the direction of a soils engineer or engineering geologist***
  • Routine plowing, harrowing, disking, ridging, listing, land planing, and similar operations necessary to prepare a field for a crop for continued agricultural use. (All other agricultural grading shall be subject to the procedures of Section 16.20.195)
  • Timber harvesting work done pursuant to a valid timber harvesting permit

** "Basement" as defined in County Code Section 13.10.700-B.
*** Access roads to access septic sites, wells, exploratory drilling sites, etc. are not exempt from grading permit requirements.

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