Recover and Rebuild: Expedited Building Permit Processing in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Planning Department indicates that it is committed to an expedited and streamlined process, to ensure that our community can rebuild as quickly as possible. The Department indicates that the immediate first step is for it to conduct Assessments regarding basic infrastructure and property status before an Owner can begin planning for rebuilding. County staff, in coordination with Cal Fire, are in process of assessing public and private infrastructure and are working hard to assess properties as quickly as possible.

After that:
1. Once an Owner’s property has been assessed for damages, the next step in the process is for the Owner to file a claim with your insurance company.
2. If the Owner is considering temporary housing in an RV or other temporary accommodation either on or off site the property while they rebuild, Owner can file and online application form for a temporary accommodation permit.
3. Owner files an online Calamity Application with the Assessor’s Office. Through this process, Assessor’s Office staff will initiate re-assessment of the Owner’s property, which includes enabling the Assessor to share property record information with the Owner.
4. Owner obtains Building Permit records, including archived project plans, by emailing a request to the Records Room staff. County recommends to signify the Email title “Fire Records Request” to allow for expedited processing. These records are required by County staff to determine next steps in the permitting process.
5. Owner obtains Environmental Clearance for debris removal from the site.
6. Owner is then cleared to make online building permit application after which Planning Department will conduct building permit review processing. Most single-family residential projects will require a Building Permit only; however, some locations or projects may need a discretionary development permit, environmental resource permit, or other special exception or consideration.
7. After obtaining requisite permits, Owner will be cleared to conduct construction activities.

Detailed information is available at the County Planning Department’s website,

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