Tag Archives: planning process assistance

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, https://www.sccoplanning.com/PlanningHome/recoverandrebuild.aspx

5 Kitchen Remodel Ideas That Pay Off

Kitchens are a place of sustenance and sociability. Food, family, and friends mingle to create a winning combination. So it makes perfect sense that remodels are so often geared toward the kitchen. What about thinking of your kitchen in the long-term sense, in terms of investment and return? Will your kitchen remodel projects be a positive contribution to your home’s value or will they erode that value? Continue reading

A Step-by-Step Guide for Building Your Custom Home

You know you want to build your dream house, but don’t know how to begin? It can seem like a daunting task to build a custom home. And admittedly, it is complicated. This 3-part checklist is aimed at getting you on the right track and providing an overview of the process. Continue reading

Owner Who Illegally Demolished Neutra House Told: Rebuild an Exact Replica

The house was designed by modernist Richard Neutra.

The San Francisco Planning Commission has ruled that a buyer must rebuild an exact replica of a historic house they demolished illegally in the city. Ross Johnston must also put up a plaque explaining what happened — providing a lesson to all in the sensitivity required when buying and renovating special buildings. Continue reading

The County of Santa Cruz’ ADU Design Guide

Santa Cruz County has recently implemented new, more relaxed development standards intended to make building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) easier and more affordable. Towards this end it’s published three guidebook resources, Santa Cruz County ADU Basics, ADU Financing Guide, and ADU Design Guide. This article outlines the County’s ADU Design Guide. Continue reading

Getting a Building Permit: Don’t Renovate Without One!

Do you need a building permit?
Spoiler: You probably do, unless you’re only doing cosmetic interior upgrades, like painting or updating your kitchen faucet. Any time you are adding square footage, making structural modifications, or significantly altering other building components, you’ll need to obtain a permit. Continue reading

Timing Your Architectural Project

When Should You Start Designing Your Project?
If you’re planning an all interior project, you can start any time! The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have your house in the condition you want it to be, and the sooner you can start enjoying it. If you’re contemplating an addition or exterior alteration, it’s ideal to start planning your project early, but that’s not a hard-and-fast requirement. Starting early will give you and your architect sufficient time to develop the design and drawings on a more relaxed schedule, submit your project for Planning Department approval, and negotiate a contract with your contractor. Continue reading

Relaxed Requirements for ADU’s: An Update

Effective January 1, 2017, local laws regarding Secondary Dwelling Units were superseded. State law now mandates that local jurisdictions ease restrictions and barriers to the permitting and use of what are now referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADUs”). Continue reading

The Basics of Land Use Planning

The Power to Plan
Local agencies derive their authority to shape their communities through planning and land use from the “police power.” The source of this power is both the federal and California constitutions. The police power is broad and elastic and entitles cities and counties to take actions to protect the public’s general health, safety, and welfare. However, in most cases local regulations may not conflict with overriding state law.
Local authority to regulate land use can expand to meet the changing conditions or priorities of society. Thus, actions that might not have been thought of as part of the general welfare a century ago (for example, curbing sprawl or promoting affordable housing) can fall within its purview today. Continue reading

The Architect and the Entitlement Process

entitleEntitlement is approval from governmental agencies to use or develop a parcel of land. Approval may depend on many factors—including the building’s use and size, appearance, historic status, and environmental impact—overseen by separate agencies. The process is especially complex in cities, where land is scarce and land values are high, which makes development a risky proposition. Development means change, and there are many who resist change, often for valid reasons. Opinions are strong. In such challenging circumstances, the most effective tool for gaining approval is a good design. Continue reading