Commercial and Industrial

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New Commercial or Industrial Structures

New commercial, industrial, multi-family, recreational and institutional buildings and/or uses need to go through a Site Development Plan (SDP) process prior to applying for a Building Permit. The SDP process includes a review of landscaping, architecture, parking, easements, access, and other items that aren’t always covered by the Building Permit process.

The full list covering when an SDP is required is covered in the Site Development Plan section of the Zoning Resolution. This generally includes:

  • Any new structures over 200 square feet
  • Tenant finishes of existing buildings where proposed vehicular trips would require site improvements
  • Any additions of 25% or greater to any existing building
  • Any additions over 2,500 square feet, regardless if the addition is less than 25% of the existing building
  • Any change from residential use or residential zoning to an industrial, commercial or institutional use
  • Creating any multi-family units within an existing building (excluding caretakers units)
  • Tenant finishes where floor space will be created within an existing building (ex: a second floor being added to the interior air space of an existing one-story building)

We recommend getting in touch with a Planner about your project to determine which process will be required, as it can change depending on the scope of the project and property characteristics.

Applications and Documents

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Signs

Most signs require a Sign Permit before construction. Signs need to meet required setbacks, height limitations, and any limitations on square footage or sign types. These regulations are determined by the property’s zone district and property characteristics.

Signs may not be in easements or floodplains. Easements are often found centered on lot lines for the purpose of drainage or utilities.

There are a handful of signs that are prohibited by the County, including off-site signs, billboard, balloons and other “lighter than air” type signs.

There are also a handful of signs that do not require permits, including some types of temporary signs, window signs, bus bench signs, flags less than 30 square feet, and parking lot or drive through directional types of signs.

We recommend getting in touch with a Planner about your project and determine exactly which documents will be required as a part of the permitting process, as those do change depending on the scope of the project and property characteristics.

Applications and Documents

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Solar Panels

  • Roof-mounted solar panels flush against the roof of an existing residential or commercial structure do not require any permits from Planning & Zoning. Electrical Permits from Building Safety are likely necessary.
    • These must be solar panels intended to serve primarily the property, and not intended solely to sell energy back to the grid commercially.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels extending up to five feet above existing structures require a Miscellaneous Permit. Electrical Permits from Building Safety are likely necessary.
    • These must be solar panels intended to serve primarily the property, and not intended solely to sell energy back to the grid commercially.
  • Commercial solar installations, intended to sell energy back to the grid, require going through a Special Exception process to allow for the use, followed by a Miscellaneous Permit.

All solar panel installations need to meet required setbacks and height limitations. Setbacks are how far structures need to be from the property lines. Setbacks for solar panels are taken from the edge of the panel, not from the support structure beneath it. Both setbacks and height limitations are determined by your property’s zone district. There are additional rules and regulations in the Alternative Energy Resources section of the Zoning Resolution.

Applications and Documents

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Telecommunications

Most telecommunication uses require a Telecommunication Permit before construction. This includes new towers, other antenna support structures, new antennae (including replacement of existing) and associated equipment. Telecommunication Permits are frequently used for personal wireless services (cell towers and antennae swaps), amateur radio facilities, broadcast facilities, two-way commercial radios and earth-based satellites.

The Zoning Resolution lists exemptions to the Telecommunication Permit process. Telecommunication uses are not allowed in all zone districts. In those zone districts that do allow for the use, the facilities need to meet required setbacks, height limitations and design standards determined by the zone district.

We recommend getting in touch with a Planner about your project and determine exactly which documents will be required as a part of the permitting process, as those do change depending on the scope of the project and property characteristics.

Applications and Documents

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Tenant Finishes

New tenants in an existing commercial or industrial structure are required to get a Building Permit for the change in use, even if not making any changes to the space. The Building Permit process is what triggers a zoning review of the use and parking, and Building Safety and local fire district reviews of occupancy loads and egress. It’s also how a business obtains its Certificate of Occupancy.

We recommend getting in touch with a Planner about your project and determine exactly which documents will be required as a part of the permitting process, as those do change depending on the scope of the project and property characteristics.

Applications and Documents

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Wind Turbines

  • Wind energy conversion systems (such as wind turbines) serving a residential or commercial use on the same property require a Miscellaneous Permit.
    • These must be wind turbines intended to serve primarily the property, and not intended solely to sell energy back to the grid commercially.
  • Commercial wind turbine installations, intended to sell energy back to the grid, require going through a Special Exception process to allow for the use, followed by a Miscellaneous Permit.

All wind turbine installations need to meet required setbacks and height limitations. Setbacks are how far structures need to be from the property lines. Height for wind turbines is measured to the top of the hub, not to the top of the blade as it is rotating. Both setbacks and height limitations are determined by your property’s zone district. There are additional rules and regulations in the Alternative Energy Resources section of the Zoning Resolution.

Applications and Documents

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