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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Contact Us

Permits & Inspections Office
580 Pacific Street, Room 4
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 646-3890
Fax: (831) 646-5643

Monday - Friday
Open: 8 to noon and
12:30 to 4 p.m.*
Closed: noon - 12:30 p.m.
*Available by phone until 5 p.m.

John Kuehl
Building Official/Chief of Inspection Services, ADA Coordinator
email

Lisa Feliciano
Administrative Assistant II
email

1.   What information should be included on the plans?

  1. What is being done.
  2. Where it is occurring.
  3. How it will be built.
  4. A site/plot plan.
  5. A foundation plan.
  6. Roof & floor framing plans.
  7. Construction sections.
  8. Appropriate floor plans.
  9. Minimum paper size is 11"x17".
  10. If adding floor area, two sets of energy calculations are required.
  11. Green Building Schedules and Checklists 

2.   What types of permits may be issued over the counter?

  1. Re-roofs
  2. Miscellaneous plumbing, electrical or mechanical
  3. Contractors may contact our office regarding establishing faxed permits.
  4. This is only a sample list of the types of permits that may be issued over the counter. If you have any questions about a specific project, please contact our office. 

3.   Who do I contact to add handicapped accessibility to my property?

 The Building Department at 646-3891 can tell you more about adding handicapped accessibility to your home or business. 

4.   How can I restore damaged structures?

CHAPTER 38 Article 28, Section 216 - Nonconforming Uses and Structures of the Zoning Ordinance indicates the following about damaged structures:

All legal nonconforming uses and nonconforming structures that have been destroyed by fire or other calamity or by the public enemy to any extent may be reconstructed, restored, or rebuilt to their pre-damaged size and location, provided that they are not extended beyond the original footprint and restoration is started within 18 months and diligently pursued to completion. Any such reconstruction, restoration, or rebuilding shall conform to adopted Uniform Codes in effect at that time unless otherwise excused from compliance as a historical structure. The Plans & Public Works Director will review reconstruction plans for conformity, and if there is any significant deviation noted, plans will be referred to the Architectural Review Committee for review.

Whenever a structure that does not comply with the standards for front yards, side yards, rear yards, height of structures, distances between structures, driveways, courts, or usable open space prescribed in the regulations for the district in which it is located, or the use of which does not conform with the regulations for the zone in which it is located, is voluntarily razed, or is required by law to be razed, the structure shall not be restored and the nonconforming use shall not be resumed. 

5.   I want to remodel my home. Where do I start?

A good place to start would be consulting with a planner at the Planning Division. A planner can look at your property and tell you how your property is zoned, how large your remodel or addition can be, and if you need any special permits or variances for what you have in mind.

6.   How can I obtain information on a contractor?

The Contractors State License Board operates a toll-free telephone number and an Internet website for you to check a contractor’s license before you hire one. The website is www.cslb.ca.gov and the phone number is (800) 321-CSLB. 

7.   How can I get approval for renovations made to my business or home performed without benefit of a building permit?

Renovations made to a business or home performed without benefit of a building permit are treated as new projects. Applicants must start at the Planning Division by submitting a project application and plans detailing the renovations. If the renovations are not areas that require architectural review, the applicant may be referred directly to the Building Permit and Inspection Division to apply for the necessary building permits for the renovations. The applicant must pay all associated fees for applications and permits and in some instances additional illegal construction fees may be assessed. 

8.   What additional agency fees or approvals may be required before a permit can be issued?

  • City of Monterey Fire Department – (831) 646-3900: Water Systems Improvement and Administration fees calculated by the Fire Department designed for new enclosed construction.
  • Monterey Peninsula Unified School District – (831) 645-1240:
    Fees assessed at $2.97 (residential) .47 (commercial) for additions/new construction exceeding 500 square feet.
  • Parks & Recreation fees (5 residential units or more) – (831) 646-3866
  • Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA) – (831) 372-3367: permit or waiver
  • Water Management permit – (831) 658-5600
  • Fisherman’s Wharf and properties located in coastal zones:
    Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Commission approval and pre-construction meeting.
  • Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (MBUAPCD) – (831) 647-9411: for demolitions only 

9.   How many sets of plans and/or calculations are needed to submit for plans check?

For new construction and added square footage, five sets of plans and two sets of calculations. For interior work only, four sets of plans are usually sufficient. 

10.   When is a building permit required?

  • To alter, construct, repair, move or demolish, or change occupancy of a building or structure.
  • To build a STORAGE SHED IN EXCESS OF 120 SF. and/or if the shed has any electrical or plumbing installed.
  • To build a FENCE GREATER THAN 6’ IN HEIGHT.
  • To build a RETAINING WALL GREATER THAN 3’ in height and/or if it is holding a surcharge.
  • WINDOW FRAMING CHANGES
  • RE-ROOFS
  • For any electrical work EXCEPT changing plugs or lights.
  • To replace or install a WATER HEATER.
  • To replace or install a FURNACE.
  • To replace or install GAS, WATER OR WASTE PIPE.
  • To install a SPA OR HOT TUB.
Special Note: Exemption from the permit requirements of the code does not grant authority for any of the work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the Municipal Code, ordinances or state or federal laws. Please check with the Planning, Engineering & Environmental Compliance Division for any potential code violations prior to starting any work not requiring a building permit, as prior approval or permit from the Planning Division may be necessary.

11.   What are the currently adopted codes?

Effective January 1, 2014:
- 2013 CALIFORNIA BUILDING CODE AND APPENDICES H, I, J
- 2013 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA PLUMBING CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA ELECTRIC CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA MECHANICAL CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA HISTORIC BUILDING CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA EXISTING BUILDING CODE
- 2012 INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS CODE
- 2013 CALIFORNIA FIRE CODE
City of Monterey Municipal Code

12.   How long does a plan review take from the date of application?

Plans are typically returned within approximately 15 working days. Please contact our division regarding larger projects.