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Help for Homeowners

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  For minimum Plan Submittal Requirements see Plan Submittal Requirements


  When is a permit required?
  The City of Dana Point requires permits for almost all construction including bathroom and kitchen 
  renovations, deck and guardrail repairs and replacements, additions, alterations or otherwise 
  changing the structural components of the dwelling.

  Work Exempt from Permits:

   The following work is exempt from permits as outlined in Section 105.2 of the California Building 
   Code in effect and as amended by the City of Dana Point: 

  1. One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar 
    uses and structures such as portable shade cloth structures, provided the floor area does not 
    exceed 120 square feet (11 m2). Such structures must comply with the setback and height 
    requirements of the City Zoning Ordinance and the Fire Code.
  2. Masonry or concrete fences not over 36 inches in height above lowest adjacent grade, and all 
    other fences not over 6 feet (1,829 mm) in height above lowest adjacent grade.  *Exception: 
    Walls and fences less than six (6) feet in height which are required as a condition of 
    project approval are required to have permits.
  3. Oil derricks.
  4. Retaining walls that are not over 3 feet (314.25 mm) in height measured from the bottom of 
    footing to the top of wall unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA 
  5. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and 
    the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
  6. Decks, platforms or similar structures, walkways, sidewalks and driveways not more than 
    30 inches (762mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below, not 
    attached to the structure and are not part of an accessible route.
  7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, and similar finish work that does not involve 
    electrical,mechanical or plumbing work.
  8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
  9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 18 inches 
    deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground. Note: The 
    electrical connection for a plug in or direct connect pump filter or heater does require a 
    permit and inspection.
  10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including 
    service systems.
  11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
  12. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from 
    the exterior wall and do not require additional support of Group R-3 and U occupancies.
  13. Non-fixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 
    5 feet 9 inches in height.
  14. Radio and television antenna, and flagpoles not over twelve (12) feet in height 
    measured from grade.

  Note: Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for
  the above exempted items. Specific requirements of some geographical areas of the city, such as bluff top 
  lots, flood plain properties, town center or areas where a previous land movement has been identified.



  A California Licensed Contractor
  When the contractor/owner is not available to personally obtain the permit, an Owner-Builder Proxy or a 
  Contractor Proxy is required. This form allows them to designate a proxy to perform this duty on their 
  behalf. A letter of authorization is not acceptable for pulling permits by an agent.

  Contractors working in the City of Dana Point are required to have a valid State of California Contractor’s 
  License in good standing. If a contractor has employees, proof of Workers' Compensation Insurance must be 
  shown at the time of permit issuance. Contractors working alone may waive this requirement, but must show 
  a pocket copy of their State Contractor’s License.

  Home Owner of Record
  A homeowner can obtain a permit to do the construction, alteration or repair of a one or two-family 
  dwelling and accessory buildings or facilities thereto if:

  The owner resides or intends to reside in the dwelling, showing proof of residence and ownership.
  The construction is performed by the owner, and the owner signs a statement that no person will be 
  employed in a manner as to become subject to the workers' compensation laws of the State of California.
  When a permit is taken out, the signature and identity of the applicant must be verified. A California 
  Driver's License, State of California Identification Card, or other positive identification will meet this 





  When work has begun without a permit or the work is discovered after the fact, the City has 

  established a procedure for resolution.

  • The first step is to establish the extent of work performed without permits. This is 
    usually done by a Special Investigation. This requires the Property Owner of record 
    to obtain the special investigation permit and schedule the site inspection.
  • The next step would be to submit plans for review & approval.

  For additional information please review the Resolution of Work Without Permits handout.

  Please note: There are no "Grandfather" clauses that allow previous un-permitted 
  work to remain un-permitted. Upon discovery, it is the current property owner's 
  responsibility to resolve the un-permitted work. A foreclosure, short sale, flip 
  property, or probate sale does not release the new owner from the un-permitted 
  work resolution liability.

   It is always advised to check the permit history prior to close of escrow. 


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