When is a grading permit required?
A grading permit is required for an excavation that is 2’ or more in depth and/or creates a slope greater than 5’ in height and steeper than 1 ½:1 horizontal to vertical. A permit is also required for fills 2’ or more in depth and greater than 50 cubic yards or 1’ or more in depth placed on natural terrain 5:1 or steeper. Permit exemptions include excavations authorized by a valid building permit or improvement permit, cemetery graves, well excavations, and exploratory excavations performed under the direction of a soils engineer approved in writing by the City.
I am constructing a new house and the grading activities will disturb less than 50 cubic-yards. Do I still need to prepare a grading plan and secure a grading permit because of the new building?
A grading permit is not required for the excavation of a building foundation covered by a valid building permit. Depending on the existing and proposed topographic conditions for the building pad, a grading permit may be required. If a grading permit is not required, the Land Development Division will conduct an Engineering Review of the Building Division plan submittal. Please refer to the grading permit exemptions contained in the above response which are fully described within San Marcos Municipal Code section 17.32.045(a) and the “Site Plan Requirements for Single Family Residences” handout for additional information.
Do I need a permit to construct a small wall?
A permit is not required to construct a wall if the construction of the wall disturbs less than 50 CY and the wall is less than 3’ high and is not surcharged. If the wall is over 3’ high, less than 6’ high and disturbs less than 50 CY, then a permit is required from the Building Division. If the wall is over 6’ high and/ or disturbs more than 50 CY, then a permit is required from the Engineering Division.
What are the fees for a grading permit?
Grading permit plan review fees are based on the earthwork quantities and cost of construction. Please see the “Fee Schedule” handout for a description of the Engineering Division fees.
I would like to install a fence along the back of the sidewalk next to the road. What are the requirements?
Typically, the initial 10’ measured from the face of the curb in towards a property is public right of way (ROW). Although the Land Development Division can provide you with the approved distance for the ROW/ private property dividing line from the face of the curb based on approved plans, a registered land surveyor should be consulted to determine the exact location of the ROW limits in the field. The public ROW is maintained by the City and is used exclusively for public roadways, utilities and other infrastructure. As such, a privately owned item such as a property fence cannot be installed in the ROW. The Planning Division regulates the setbacks, height and material requirements for fences on private property. Please refer to the Planning Division webpage.
A portion of the street sidewalk in front of my house is cracked and I’d like to replace it. What are the necessary steps to do so?
As noted above, the sidewalk for the street is typically within the ROW. For any work to be completed in the ROW such as curb cuts, driveways, sidewalk replacement, curb cores, and/ or landscaping planting, a ROW Permit issued by the City is required. Contact the Engineering/ Land Development Division for additional information.
I am renting a dumpster to dispose of some on-materials, but the dumpster is too large to place in my driveway. Can I leave the dumpster on the street?
In order to allow a dumpster on the street, a right of way permit must be obtained. After the issuance of a right of way permit for the dumpster, typically, dumpsters will only be allowed within the street for a maximum time of one week.
How can I obtain copies of engineering plans and documents?
Copies of permitted plans and recorded documents such as street improvements, grading plans and City easements are available by contacting this division at the engineering front desk or by contacting us at (760) 744-1050 ext. 3250. Many of these documents are available electronically and paper copies are available for purchase at our front desk.
For more information, please contact the Land Development Division located at 1 Civic Center Drive on the 1st floor or call the Land Development Division at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3250.