Building FAQs

Garden sheds that are larger than 200 square feet require a permit. Any size shed built in a mobile home park or multi-family zone is required to have a permit. All sheds need to meet the setback requirements for your zone unless it meets certain criteria as stated in the Garden Shed, Gazebos, and Play Structures handout. Any shed located within a wetland, habitat, or shoreline area may require additional permits. A Permit Technician can assist you with requirements for your project.

A building permit is required to build a shop or garage on your property in both the urban and rural areas. This includes pole buildings. Site specific conditions will be reviewed during permit processing such as:

  • If the lot was legally established
  • Location of environmentally sensitive areas
  • Placement of drain fields and reserve drain fields
  • Existence of easements or other areas that cannot be built on

A Permit Technician can assist you with requirements for your property.

All decks require a separate permit with the following two exceptions:

  • Exterior entry landings which are proportionate in size to the entry. The maximum size measured in square feet is the gross width of the entry squared including side glazing. For example: for an entry door with sidelights measuring 60 inches wide, outside trim to outside trim, the porch may be a maximum of 25 square feet.
  • Platform or free standing decks 30 inches or less in height and not associated with other structures (i.e. hot tub, swimming pool) and not abutting any structures.

All decks and platforms regardless of permit requirements, shall meet minimum setback requirements.

Fences seven feet or less in height do not need a permit and can be built up to your side of the property line. Taller fences and retaining walls require a permit and may need to be built further inside the property line. Retaining walls may also require engineering specifications.

Second residences and accessory dwelling units on the same lot may be built in some urban areas. They are not allowed in the rural areas. Site specific conditions will be reviewed during permit processing.

Separate living quarters within a residence may be allowed in some zones. A separate kitchen, specifically cooking equipment, is not allowed.

A building permit is required in both cases. A Permit Technician can assist you with requirements for your project. Additional information is available in these handouts: Urban Accessory Dwelling Unit or Rural Accessory Dwelling Unit.

If your home was legally established, you can rebuild it. You will have to meet current land use and building code requirements. An inspection is required to review the extent of damage prior to applying for a permit.

Living spaces, like bedrooms and family rooms, converted from non-living spaces, like garages or basements, must meet building codes, sanitary sewer requirements and neighborhood covenants. A Permit Technician can assist you with requirements for your project.

Inspectors can give an approximate inspection time if you contact them before 8:30 a.m. on the day of your inspection. You may also leave a message on IVR and online when you make your inspection request.

Please contact us at 564.397.4290.

For project specific questions, contact the plans examiner reviewing your plans. For general questions, call the Permit Center at 564.397.4078.

You can find a property’s setbacks using Maps Online.