HOW BUILDING PERMIT FEES ARE USED
When you obtain a building permit, certain fees will be charged to cover the cost of:
- Plan checking in the office;
- Field inspections before and during construction; and
- Service and capital improvements in your neighborhood and the surrounding area.
THE APPLICATION FEE
When your building plans are accepted at the counter, you must pay application fees as follows:
- Zoning Plan-Check:
A graduated fee is charged for each project, according to size. This covers the time staff spend in checking your project against the applicable Zoning regulations, such as land use, setbacks, and height; and for referencing General Plan maps detailing environmental concerns, such as stream beds, flood plains, rare and endangered plants or animals, and potential hazards from earthquakes or wildfires
- Erosion-Control Preliminary Site Inspection:
This fee depends on the type of structure and whether the area is rural or urban. It covers a field visit to find out whether any geologic hazards or environmental constraints exist. For some minor projects, this inspection is not required
- Building Plan Check:
This fee covers the time spent in examining your plans in order to see that they comply with the Uniform Building, Plumbing, Electrical, and Mechanical Codes, and with energy-conservation requirements. The Building Counter staff person will estimate the square footage of each type of new residential construction, such as heated living areas, garages, storage rooms, and decks. This figure will be used to determine the Building Plan Check fee deposit
- Building Permit Processing:
This fee covers the time spent processing the building permit application, including routing the seven sets of plans to the review agencies, communicationg the results of the first routing to you, calculating fees, and consolidating the finished plans into two identical plan sets: the job copy and the office copy.
- Public Works - Drainage:
A graduated fee is charged depending on the size of your project. This covers time staff spend in checking your plans for any drainage impacts and determining any mitigation measures that may be required. Staff also calculate the amount of new impervious areas created by the construction which will increase storm water runoff.
- Public Works - Road Engineering Review:
This fee will be charged on any new residential unit and for any new bedroom additions. Review of your project may result in the requirement that you dedicate a strip of land along your street to the County for future road widening improvements or future utility easements.
- County Fire Plan Check:
This fee varies depending upon whether your construction requires sprinklers to be installed. Sprinkler requirements are based on the type of construction and the occupancy of the building.
- Affordable Housing Impact Fee:
This fee is calculated based on the number of new residential square feet. All fees collected will be deposited into the Measure J Trust Fund. These fees will be expended at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors for the purposes of developing or preserving affordable units in the County, or other activities which increase the affordable housing stock in the County, and for reasonable administrative costs.
- Other Fees:
A General Plan Surcharge fee of 6% (General Plan and Implementing Ordinance Maintenance Fee of 4% and General Plan Update and Planning Fee of 2%) as well as a Technology Update and Maintenance Fee is applied to all building permits.
AFTER YOU HAVE PAID THE APPLICATION FEE
Your plans will be routed to all required reviewers concurrently. If you decide to withdraw your application at any point, you may be able to get a refund of any remaining part of the fee that has not been used. However, once the plan-checking and the site inspection have been done, no refund can be made.
TOTAL BUILDING PERMIT FEES
When your building plans have been approved by all the agencies involved, the remaining fees will be calculated. The various types of remaining fees are described below. For specific current amounts, contact the Building Counter
Department of Public Works Fees:
- Building Permit Fee:
This fee comes from a table in the Uniform Building Code and is based on the total evaluation of the structure described under "Building Plan Check".
- Building Training Fee:
A small fee to pay for state mandated training.
- Strong Motion:
The State of California charges a modest fee. These funds go toward research on how to build structures that will withstand earthquake tremors.
- Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical Permits:
Modest fees are charged.
- Environmental Health Fee:
A clearance form from Environmental Health is required at the time you submit your plans for review. If, after submittal, it is found that your project requires further review, a clearance review fee will be applied.
Department of Parks, Open Space & Cultural Services Fees:
- Drainage-control zones:
are designated in certain portions of the County: Zone 5, Live Oak/Soquel; Zone 6, Aptos; and Zone 8, San Lorenzo Valley. If you build in one of these zones, you will be charged a fee that goes toward construction and maintenance of storm drains. The fee is based on the impervious areas created by the construction.
- Sewer Connection:
This fee depends on the sanitation district in which you are building and how many plumbing fixtures your structure will contain.
- Driveway Permit:
A fee is charged for any new house with access from a County-maintained road, or for a new driveway to an existing house.
- Park Impact Fees:
For residential projects, this fee is charged based on the new habitable square footage. For non-residential projects, this fee is charged based on new gross building area.
In the Aptos, Live Oak, Soquel and Pajaro Valley General Plan Areas:
All other County Areas:
- Roadside Improvement:
These fees go into a fund for improvements, such as curbs, gutters, sidewalks, or street trees, that are most urgently needed in the area.
- Transportation Improvement:
These fees go into a fund for roadway and intersection improvements, traffic signals, and turning lanes.
- In the urban services portion of the Carbonera General Plan Area: Roadside Improvement:
This fee depends on whether curbs, gutters, or sidewalks already exist along the property frontage. The fund is used for roadside improvements that are most urgently needed in the area.
- Roadway Improvement:
This fee is based on the street designation: "local", "collector", or "arterial", and the width of existing pavement along the property frontage. The fund is used for future street paving and widening.
- No roadside, roadway or transportation fees are charged.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
This fee depends on the school district in which you are building, and is based on the number of square feet of new residential "assessable space". The fund is used to purchase school buildings to relieve overcrowding.
- Child Care:
This fee goes into a fund to provide for the maintenance and augmentation of a child care system to help satisfy the needs generated by growth from new development. This fee is charged based on new square footage.
- Water Meter Connection:
In the Urban Services Area, you will need to pay to obtain a "Proof of Water Service" form from your water district to present when you pick up your building permit.
- Fire Marshal:
Fees are charged for assigning a new house number and for giving a new name to a private street.
- Local Fire Protection Districts:
This fee depends on the fire jurisdiction in which you are building. The fees are used to cover the cost of review and inspections. In some jurisdictions, fees are charged by square footage of new construction and the funds are used for the purchase of, or improvement to, facilities and equipment.
This brochure describes the types of fees associated with building permits. If your have questions about Building permit fees, please contact the Building Information Line. For Zoning Plan-Check, Erosion-Control Site Inspection, Service and Capital Improvement, and other fees, consult the printed fee schedules, which are available at the Zoning Counter, or contact the Zoning Information Line. For Public Works fees, call (831) 454-2160.