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|Community Development FAQ|
Permit information can change at any time. Therefore, this web site is intended only to provide general guidelines. Please contact the Community Development Department for the most current information.
- Are sandwich boards allowed?
- Can I get a tax break under the Mills Act to help maintain my historic structure?
- Has your planning question been answered?
- Has your question been answered?
- How do I obtain a Building Permit?
- How do I schedule a building inspection?
- How much are the fees for plan approval?
- I am not building within the setback. Do I still need a survey?
- I am the project architect and the owner wants me to handle the Planning Division application process. How do we do this?
- I have a business in The Village and would like to put up a new sign. What rules and guidelines will apply?
- I paid my Planning Deposit. Will I have to pay more? Will I get any fees refunded?
- I want to build a new fence. How high can it be?
- I want to prune or remove a tree on my property. What should I do?
- I would like to build on my property? How do I start the application process?
- I'm interested in buying some property and wondering what I can build there?
- My house is over 50 years old. Can I remodel it?
- My neighbors and I need help resolving a conflict. Is there someone who can help us?
- My project has already been approved, but now my architect is recommending changes to my plans during the building permit process. Will that be acceptable? What type of changes matter? What if it is just a small change?
- Someone in my neighborhood is building or remodeling his or her home. Why haven't I been notified? Will I be notified if there is a Planning Commission hearing?
- What are the City's fencing guidelines?
- What are the different types of planning review for construction, reconstruction, replacement, or expansion of a single-family main structure or accessory structure?
- What are your hours?
- What do I need to submit for applications related to historic preservation?
- What effect does new construction, altering an existing building or changing the use of a property have on property taxes?
- What inspections are required?
- What is a color and materials board?
- What is a Neighbor Notification letter?
- What is a protected tree?
- What is meant by "Setback," "Impervious Surface," and "Floor Area"?
- What is the difference between a site survey, topographic survey, and site plan?
- What is the difference between a title report and a grant deed?
- What is the difference between gross and net site area?
- What is the difference between the Arborist's Review and the Horticultural Review?
- What is the function of the Building Division?
- What is the Heritage Preservation Commission?
- What is the Mills Act?
- What structures are considered Heritage Resources or Designated Landmark Structures?
- When do I need to obtain a Building Permit?
- Where can I find more information about historic preservation?
- Where can I find my Assessor's Parcel Number (APN)?
- Where can I get information about building the following structures?
- Where is the Planning Division?
- Why must I pay to get information at the Planning Division Front Counter? My property taxes should pay for this type of service.
- Will I need to install automatic fire sprinklers?
- Will my project be categorized as Technical Review, Administrative Design Review, or Planning Commission Design Review?
No, sandwich boards are not allowed in the City of Saratoga.
"Mills Act participants may realize substantial property tax savings of between 40% and 60% each year for newly improved or purchased older properties because valuations of Mills Act properties are determined by the Income Approach to Value rather than by the standard Market Approach to Value. The income approach, divided by a capitalization rate, determines the assessed value of the property. In general, the income of an owner-occupied property is based on comparable rents for similar properties in the area, while the income amount on a commercial property is based on actual rent received. Because rental values vary from area to area, actual property savings vary from county to county. In addition, as County Assessors are required to assess all properties annually, Mills Act properties may realize slight increases in property taxes each year." (Source: California Office of Historic Preservation
For general questions, such as "How do I get a tree permit?" or "What do I need to submit to the Planning Division?," call (408) 868-1222. For detailed questions, such as, "What can I build on this property?" or to submit plans, please come to the Planning Division counter between 7:30 am to 12:00 noon on Monday through Thursday.
If you have additional questions, or require further information from the Building Division, please call (408) 868-1201.
Building Permits are issued at the Building / Engineering Counter at Saratoga's City Hall from 7:30 am until noon, Monday through Thursday (Please note that the City of Saratoga observes a 9/80 flexible work schedule and is closed to the public every other Friday. Please see the City Hall calendar for the current schedule.)
Some permits may be issued over the counter, while others may require an extended plan review. Once the City approves the plans, the permit can be issued.
Applicants for Building Permits that don't require plan review such as reroof projects, furnace and air conditioning installations, water heater replacements, repipes and chimney repairs may send by fax a completed "Minor Permit Application" to (408) 867-8555. The Building Inspector will process the permit and telephone the applicant when the permit is ready to be issued.
The City of Saratoga also recognizes and allows the use of the SMART PERMIT Standardized Permit Application.
You can find both the 'Minor Permit Application' and 'SMART PERMIT Application' in Building Division Forms.
Schedule a building inspection by calling 408-868-1201.
Fees are listed in the Master Fees Schedule
. The Community Development Department will accept payment by check, MasterCard or American Express (includes a 3% convenience fee), or cash. Residential planning fees differ, depending on whether the project is categorized as technical approval, administrative review, or design review. Other deposits and fees, including document storage, arborist, geology, and engineering, may be charged.
For many residential projects, fire district review will also be required. For fire review, a separate check must be made payable to the appropriate fire district (the district will be identified when you apply). Cash or charge will not be accepted for the fire review portion of the application package. If you are paying for your project by check, please bring two checks-one for the City of Saratoga and one for the fire district.
If your project is within 3 feet of any setback, you will need a wet-stamped, wet-signed survey.
Provide a Letter of Authorization from the owner stating that you are authorized to act on his/her behalf.
Village signs are subject to both the Village Design Guidelines and the City Code, including Section 15-30: Signs.
When an application is submitted to the Planning Division, a planning deposit is paid, and all work on the project is billed against that deposit at the current hourly rate. This work may include, but is not limited to, plan review, correspondence and phone calls with the applicant or architect or neighbors, site visits, Planning Commission hearing, neighbor notification, and research. The initial deposit is based on the time required to process a typical Administrative or Design Review project. However, many factors, such as significant modifications to the project, can cause a project to take additional time. If the deposit balance drops below the allowable threshold, the applicant will be requested to deposit additional fees before work can proceed. A balance must be maintained until all building is completed and the project is finalized. At that time, if there are funds remaining in the account, they will be refunded to the applicant.
See the Planning Deposit agreement for more details.
In general, fences in the side and rear setbacks can be a maximum of six feet high. Lattice that is attached to the top of the fence will count toward that height (e.g., a five-foot fence with one foot of lattice on top would meet the six foot height requirement but a five foot fence with two feet of lattice would not be allowed). Fences that are in the front setback (including that portion that overlaps with the side setback) must not be higher than three feet.
If you have a corner lot, the following regulation also applies in order to provide visibility at the intersection: No fence, wall or compact hedge located within a triangle having sides fifty feet in length from a street intersection, as measured from intersecting curblines or intersecting edges of the street pavement where no curb exists, shall exceed three feet in height above the established grade of the adjoining street.
No retaining wall on a hillside lot shall exceed five feet in height. Where a fence is constructed upon, or approximately parallel to and within two feet of the top of a retaining wall, the height of the fence shall be the vertical distance measured from the top of the fence to the bottom of the retaining wall in the manner prescribed herein
For information about tree removal, pruning, dead trees, please see "Tree Removal Regulations
." Except as otherwise provided in Section 15-50.060, it is unlawful for any person to remove, damage, prune, or encroach upon, or cause to be removed, damaged, pruned, or encroached upon any protected tree, located on any private or public property in the City without first having obtained a tree removal, pruning or encroachment permit. A pruning permit is required if more than 25% of the canopy (all portions of the tree with foliage) is to be removed in any given year, or if the trunk of a protected tree is shared by 2 properties.
- Complete a tree removal, pruning or encroachment permit application and submit this form with the appropriate fee to the Community Development Department. You may deliver the form and fee in person or by mail. The following information must be included on the application:
- The number and location of each tree to be removed, pruned or encroached upon
- The type and approximate size of the tree
- The reason for removal, pruning or encroachment
- Any such additional information as the Director may require
- The signature of the owner of the property upon which the tree is located (if the applicant is not the owner of said property, you shall include a statement that the owner consents to the activity described on the permit application).
- Once the permit and form have been submitted, City staff will send a code compliance officer out to inspect the tree. Property owners within one hundred fifty feet at the time of application will be notified of the request and will have ten days to review the permit and ten additional days to appeals. Allow 21 to 25 days from the time of permit application until the tree is removed or pruned.
For more information, please contact the City Arborist at (408) 868-1276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because requirements will vary depending upon the project, you should always consult with Planning Division staff prior to submitting plans. However, in general, the following will apply.
Come to the Saratoga Planning Division counter and request an informational planning review ($25 fee) to learn about the setbacks, zoning, floor area, height restrictions, and other factors that apply to your parcel. Check our calendar
for the current schedule. Please bring the following information with you:
- Accessor's Parcel Number
- Address of parcel
- Lot size
- Easements on the property
- Proximity of creeks to the property
- Proximity of "Protected Trees" to the site
Remember to discuss the slope of your property with us. The degree of slope can affect the amount of allowable floor area coverage.
For more information, contact the Community Development Department at (408) 868-1222.
The City of Saratoga requires all project applicants to provide information regarding the age of the existing structure. If the structure is over 50 years old, it may be historically significant. The City of Saratoga requires that the applicant hire a Certified Historic Architect to review the history of the structure (see attached list of Historic Architects) if the applicant is proposing any major modifications to the structure or is proposing it to be demolished. If a Certified Historic Architect deems the structure significant, the proposed modifications or demolition of the property would be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA]. CEQA states that an impact to an historic resource is an impact to the environment.
- CEQA Section 15331 allows the modification of the structure to be exempt from the CEQA process if it meets the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Properties. This exemption does not include demolition.
- CEQA Article 5 Section 15061. (3) Requires projects conduct an environmental study under the following general rule:
- "The activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects, which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment."
- CEQA Section 15064.5 states what constitutes a historic resource. If The City of Saratoga feels that there may be an historic resource it is the responsibility of the applicant to hire a Historic Architect to determine historical significance of the building and if required prepare an environmental study in conjunction with the proposed alteration or demolition of the structure. Public agencies must treat any such resource as significant unless the preponderance of evidence demonstrates it is not historically or culturally significant which can be demonstrated by a report from a Certified Historic Architect.
The City of Saratoga's City Code Section 13-10.050 states that the City of Saratoga's Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) is responsible for reviewing and commenting upon all applications for building, demolition, grading or tree removal permits involving work to be performed upon or within a designated historic landmark, heritage lane or historic district, and all applications for tentative map approval, rezoning, building site approval, use permit, variance approval, design review or other approval pertaining to or significantly affecting any heritage resource. The Commission's comments shall be forwarded to the City agency or department processing the application within thirty days after receiving the request for such comments.
If the structure is over 50 years old it may require that the HPC review the applicants proposal. The HPC meets the second Tuesday of every month. Applications are available at the City of Saratoga Planning Counter. For further information please contact the Heritage Preservation Commission's Staff Liaison, Chris Riordan, at 408.868.1235
Santa Clara County offers a mediation service that is free of charge. The service is confidential and has a high rate of success. Mediations can be arranged in a short time and last an average of two to three hours. For a referral, contact Brad Lind at 408.868.1224.
All proposed changes to approved plans (e.g., relocation, resizing, or modification of windows) must be submitted in writing. All changes must be "clouded" on the plans and the revision date on the affected sheets must be updated. A corresponding list of the changes and their justification must be provided to the Planning Department. Staff will approve no downgrading in the exterior appearance of the approved residence. Downgrades may include, but are not limited to, garage doors, architectural detailing, stonework, columns, shutters, driveway materials, windows, or similar items.
Modification of approved plans may:
- Delay your final permits
- Require new neighborhood notification letters acknowledging the changes
- Require that the changes go through a separate "modification of approved plans" application process through the Planning Department
- Require the approval of either the Community Development Director or the Planning Commission, depending upon the original level of approval. Please see City Code 16-05.035 for more details
There are three levels of plan review. For examples of how different projects are categorized, please read, "Will my project be categorized as technical review, administrative review, or design review?"
- For minor projects, the 10 day Technical Review period begins after the Project Notification Sign is posted in the front yard of the project site.
- For projects that require Administrative Review, neighbors within 250 feet of the parcel receive notification of the project and are given fifteen days to review the plans and an additional fifteen days to appeal the project.
- For Design Review projects that require public hearing, neighbors within 500 feet of the parcel receive notification of the project and the hearing date.
For both Administrative and Design Review, contact information for the appropriate staff planner is provided and residents are invited to contact the planner with questions or concerns or to visit the Planning Division to review the project plans. These letters are not sent until the project application is deemed complete, so neighbors may notice activity around the project site before they receive notification. The names and addresses for the neighborhood are generated from data received from the County Assessor's Office. Because of processing, the data may not always have the most current owner information.
Information about fencing guidelines is available in the City Code.
- Fencing on reversed corner lots (15.29.010b)
- Sound walls adjacent to commercial districts (15.29.010h)
- Fencing within hillside districts (15.29.020)
- Sound walls next to certain arterial streets (15.29.030)
- Fencing adjacent to scenic highways (15.29.040)
- Fencing adjacent to heritage lanes (15.29.060)
- Fencing around recreational courts (15-80.030c)
- Fencing around swimming pools (16-75.010)
- Sound walls adjacent to mixed-use projects (15-58.020j)
There are three different types of planning review for construction, reconstruction, or expansion of a single-family main structure or accessory structure in any A, R-1, HR, or R-OS district :
- Over-the-Counter Approval: For projects that qualify for over-the-counter approval, the staff will make an immediate determination of project status upon receipt of acomplete application package.
- Bring four sets of plans with you to the Planning Department. If the project plan is approved, staff will immediately transfer your approved plans to the Building Department for further processing.
- Administrative Review: This is an in-house review in which projects must receive approval from the Community Development Director.
- Applicants will be notified of the project status within thirty days of the application or resubmittal date. If the application is incomplete, staff will request additional information at that time. Once complete, the application moves forward to the neighbor review and appeal phase, which is made up of two consecutive fifteen-day periods.
- First, the legal owners of all parcels within 250 feet of the project site will be notified about the project. They will be invited to review the plans at the Planning Department and provide written comments during a fifteen-day review period. If there are any neighbor concerns, staff will notify the applicant and address the issues before moving forward. If there are no neighbor concerns by the end of the 15-day review period, the applicant will receive a letter stating that the project will be approved subject to asecond 15-day period in which neighbors can appeal the decision. This letter will also include any conditions of approval with which the applicant must comply (e.g., installing sprinklers in a new garage). If there is no appeal during the second 15-day period, the applicant may prepare the project plans for the Building Department. The Letter of Approval must be copied onto one of the plan sheets prior to submitting to the Building Department and all conditions of approval must be addressed.
- The complete process, from application submittal to the end of the appeal period, typically takes two to four months to complete. However, incomplete application packages will delay processing.
- An appeal may be taken to the Planning Commission by the applicant or any interested person from the whole or any portion of an administrative determination or decision made by an official of the City pursuant to any of the provisions of City Code Chapter 15-90 (Zoning Regulations).
- Design Review with Public Hearing: Design Review projects must receive approval from the Planning Commission.
- Applicants will be notified of the project status within thirty days of the application or resubmittal date. If the application is incomplete, staff will request additional information at that time. Once complete, a Planning Commission date will take place within sixty days. The legal owners of all parcels within 500 feet of the project site will be notified about the project and the Planning Department will publish a legal notice regarding the public hearing.
- At the hearing, staff will present the project to the Planning Commission. The applicant or representative(s) will then have ten minutes to address the Commission. Members of the public will each have three minutes to speak regarding the issue, and the applicant will have an additional five minutes for any concluding statements. The Planning Commission will then approve, continue, or deny the project. If approved, the applicant must wait for a 15-day appeal period. At the end of that time, the applicant will incorporate a copy of the signed resolution into the plan set prior to submitting to the Building Department.
- The complete process, from application submittal to the end of the appeal period, typically takes four to six months to complete. However, incomplete application packages will delay processing.
- An appeal may be taken to the City Council by the applicant or any interested person from the whole or any portion of a decision made by the Planning Commission pursuant to any of the provisions of City Code Chapter 15-90 (Zoning Regulations).
The Planning and Building Counters are open from 7:30 am until noon, Monday through Thursday. (Please note that the City of Saratoga observes a 9/80 flexible work schedule and is closed to the public every other Friday. Please see the City Hall calendar
for the current schedule.)
Read the County Assessor's brochure, "New Construction and Property Taxes."
The following inspections are required for most projects:
- Foundation Inspection - To be made after excavations for footing are complete and any reinforcing steel is in place. For concrete inspections, any required forms shall be in place prior to inspection.
- Concrete Slab or Under-Floor Inspection - To be made after all in-slab or under-floor building service equipment, conduits, piping accessories and other ancillary equipment items are in place but before any concrete is placed or floor sheathing installed, including the sub floor.
- Under-Floor Insulation Inspection - To be made after all under-floor insulation is installed and prior to the installation of the floor sheathing.
- Frame Inspection - To be made after the roof, all framing, fire-blocking and bracing are in place and all pipes, chimneys and vents are complete and the rough electrical, plumbing and heating wires, pipes and ducts are installed.
- Frame Insulation Inspection - To be made after wall and ceiling insulation is in place and exterior joints around windows and doors frames, between wall soleplates and floors, and between exterior wall panels have been caulked or sealed.
- Stucco/Lath Inspection - To be made after all exterior stucco lath is installed but prior to any stucco application. The City of Saratoga does not perform inspections for interior lath for ceramic tile installations.
- Sheetrock Inspection - To be made after all fire-rated sheetrock has been installed and prior to any joints being taped or finished. The City of Saratoga does not perform inspections for any other sheetrock installations, including moisture resistant sheetrock applications.
- Final Inspection - To be made after finish grading and the building is completed and ready for occupancy.
Re-Roofing Projects: The Building Division performs a minimum of two inspections for reroofing projects:
- In-Progress Inspection - To be completed after the old roofing materials have been removed, the new sheathing has been installed, the roof has been felted and the new roofing is being installed. A ladder must be provided for rooftop access.
- Re-Roof Final Inspection - To be completed when the reroofing is complete. A ladder is not required at this inspection unless specifically requested by the Building Inspector.
Re-piping of House Water Lines:
- Rough Re-Pipe Inspection - To be completed after new water piping has been installed, all plumbing fixtures have been connected to water supply and lines are under working pressure, but prior to the installation of any sheetrock.
- Final Re-Pipe Inspection -- To be completed after garage/house fire-rated sheetrock has been installed and all penetrations of exterior stucco walls have been sealed.
Many projects will only require a final inspection by the Building Division. These include jobs such as the following:
- Water heater replacements
- Furnace installations and replacements
- Air conditioner installations
- Electrical Service upgrades
- Window / Door replacements where no framing is required
- Roof-mounted solar and photovoltaic panels
In order to determine whether a project is compatible with the surrounding area, staff requires a color and materials board. This may include such items as color paint chips and manufacturers' brochures of window, roofing, wall, or paving materials. If a color is listed but a sample is not shown, please add a description of the color (e.g. in addition to "Saratoga Sunset," please add "reddish-orange"). Please mount the samples on letter-sized cardstock.
Part of Saratoga's Vision
is to be a place where government is inclusive and community involvement is valued. To ensure that residents are aware of projects that may directly impact them, applicants are asked to share their plans with all neighbors within view of the project and have them sign a Neighbor Notification form
. Signing the form only indicates that the neighbor has seen the plans but does not indicate approval or disapproval of the project, unless so indicated.
Information about protected trees is available in the City Code in section 15-05.050. Protect trees include:
- Native trees with a diameter at breast height of 6 inches or more
- Other trees having a diameter breast height of 10 inches or more
- Any street tree
- Any heritage tree
- Any tree that must be planted or retained as a condition of Chapter 14 of the City Code
- Any tree that must be planted as a replacement as required by Section 15-50.170 of the City Code
"Setback" means the minimum distance between the structure and any lot line.
"Impervious surface" means any structure or constructed surface that prevents the passage of water into the underlying soil or otherwise significantly increases runoff and disrupts the aesthetic of the landscape. Common impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, concrete, asphalt, roofs, and brick or other stone materials set in sand or concrete. Porous materials may receive certain exceptions from site coverage as provided for in this chapter.
"Floor area" means the total habitable and/or accessible floor space under roof of all floors of a building measured to the outside surfaces of exterior walls, including halls, stairways, elevator shafts, ducts, service and mechanical equipment rooms, interior courts, underfloor areas with an interior height of five feet or greater, porches, verandas and similar building elements with a solid roof and enclosed on three or more sides, garages and enclosed accessory structures. In the case of a sloped ceiling or ground surface, the floor area shall be measured to the point at which the interior height is less than five feet. The term "interior courts" as used in this section means an area within the structure enclosed on all sides. Floor area does not include basements, exterior roof overhangs, exterior unenclosed balconies, inaccessible attic areas, unenclosed accessory structures and unenclosed areas underneath exterior decks or balconies. The term "enclosed" as used in this section means a structure with three or more walls, or an equivalent percentage of enclosure for an area with more than four walls, and a solid roof.
Zoning definitions and more information about zoning regulations can be found in the City's code under chapter 15.
A site survey shows the legal boundaries, public utilities and utility poles, dimensions of all property lines, easements, rights-of-way, trails, etc. It must be stamped and signed by a Licensed Land Surveyor or a Registered Civil Engineer authorized to practice land surveying.
A topographic survey shows the existing and proposed topography at contour intervals of not more than five feet. It shows all significant topographic features within 100 feet of the property, including all faults, watercourses, existing and proposed culverts, flood zones, and slide areas. It must provide spot elevations for existing grade and the existing ridge lines of the structures.
A site plan shows the streets and lots, land use, trees, property lines, fencing, and proposed and existing structures in the vicinity of the project site. It also includes a vicinity map, the age of the structure, and a brief project description. For a more detailed description, see "Requirements for Design Review Applications
Title reports include a description of the easements that affect your property. These easements affect the difference between gross and net lot size. The net lot size is used to determine maximum allowable floor area and impervious coverage. All of the easements listed in the title report should be shown and identified on your survey or site plan.
A deed documents the transfer of property ownership and includes a legal description of the property.
Gross site area means the total horizontal area included within the property lines of a single site. Net site area means that portion of gross site area remaining after deducting there from the following:
- Any portion of a site within the right-of-way of an existing public or private street, road or access easement, except an emergency access street.
- Any portion of a site within the proposed right-of-way of a future street (except an emergency access street), as shown on an approved tentative subdivision map or a recorded subdivision map.
- The portion of a flag lot constituting the access corridor lying between the front lot line and the frontage line of the corridor at the street.
- Any portion of a site within an easement to the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
- Those areas which are classified by the City Geologist as "Md" or "Mrf;" and
- Any quarries, unless shown to be suitable for development, as determined by a detailed geotechnical analysis approved by the City Geologist.
There is no difference between them
The Building Division is responsible for assuring that construction within the City of Saratoga is performed in accordance with state and local building codes. The Building Division performs this task by reviewing construction documents for completeness, issuing Building Permits and conducting periodic inspections of a construction project. There are no "standard plans" issued by the Building Division in Saratoga.
The Building Division is under the direction of the Building Official and is staffed by two Building Inspectors, a Plan Check Examiner/Engineer and an Office Specialist.
The Heritage Preservation Commission functions as a liaison working in conjunction with the Council, the Planning Commission, and the agencies and departments of the City to implement the City's Heritage Preservation Ordinance. The Commission's scope includes property surveys within the boundaries of the City of Saratoga for the purpose of establishing an official inventory of heritage resources and recommending to the City council specific proposals for designation as a historic landmark, heritage lane or historic district. One member is nominated by the Saratoga Historical Foundation and two members must be trained and experienced in the field of construction and structural rehabilitation, such as a licensed architect, engineer, contractor or urban planner.
The Mills Act is designed to encourage restoration and preservation of historic buildings. It benefits local governments by promoting rehabilitation and revitalization of neighborhoods, conserving resources, and building civic pride and a sense of place. Property owners benefit by qualifying for property tax relief in exchange for a commitment to rehabilitate and maintain the historic and architectural character of their properties for at least a ten-year period. For more information, see the State of California's Office of Historic Preservation article, "Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program: Incentives and Architectural Review
A Building Permit is needed for all new construction and in most cases is also required for the replacement of existing construction, additions, renovations, remodeling or other improvements such as re-roofing and the replacement of windows. Building Permits are the way the City of Saratoga regulates construction to ensure it is safe.
Some work does not require a permit such as detached storage buildings under 120 square feet, fences not over six feet tall, and platforms under 30 inches in height. Projects that are exempt from a Building Permit must still comply with other ordinances of the City of Saratoga.
Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical Permits are required for alterations and modifications such as furnace and water heater replacements, new air conditioners, sewer and water line repairs or the installation of new plumbing, mechanical or electrical fixtures or appliances.
Always check with a Building Inspector as to whether a permit will be required.
You can acquire your Assessor's Parcel Numbers (APNs) in the following ways:
- Locate the parcel number on your property tax bill that you receive from the Santa Clara County Assessor
- Use the Santa Clara County Assessor's "Property Assessment Information System"
- Contact the Santa Clara County Assessor at (408) 299-5500
- Come to the Saratoga City Hall. We are located at 13777 Fruitvale Avenue at the corner of Allendale Avenue (across from West Valley College).
Information about building the following structures is available in the Municipal Code. Structures are listed next to corressponding section of the Code.
- Cabana 15-80.030d(1)
- Fountain 15-80.030e
- Barbeque 15-80.030g
- Swimming Pool 15-80.030b ; "Submittal Requirements and Regulations for Swimming Pools"
- Garden Shed 15-80.030d(2)
- Basement 15-80.035
The Community Development Department is self-funded, primarily through application fees from over-the-counter approvals, administrative review, design review, and sign permits. The staff receives many requests for information on what can be built on individual parcels in Saratoga. This involves researching the setbacks, zoning, floor area, coverage requirements, environmental characteristics, and other factors that are unique to each parcel. With no application and corresponding planning fee tied to this research, there has been no way to support this activity in the past. In order to support the staff time required to research and provide this service, a $25 fee is now being charged.
The City of Saratoga only receives a small percentage of property taxes. The 2005-06 City budget
shows an allocation of $3,413,000 in property taxes, and with a project 2005 population of 32,900 residents
, that averages out to be a little more than $100 per resident per year for the City.
Automatic Fire Sprinklers are required in the following types of projects:
- Automatic fire sprinklers are required in all new buildings, both commercial and residential. There are some exceptions for certain types of structures less than 1000 square feet in size.
- Automatic fire sprinklers are required throughout existing buildings greater than 3600 square feet when they are expanded or when the expansion will increase the square footage to greater than 3600 square feet. Exception: a one-time addition to an existing building that does not total more than 1000 square feet of building area.
- Automatic fire sprinklers are required in all new and expanded garages.
- Automatic fire sprinklers are required in all new and expanded basements.
Select your project type and follow the link: