Building Permit FAQs

Property owners thinking about remodeling or adding other improvements, such as decks, spas or retaining walls, many times have a number of questions about building permits.

This page is designed to give property owners basic knowledge of when construction permits are required in the City of Exeter.  It also answers some of the most frequently asked questions and offers tips from the Tulare County Building Department.

Because each construction project is unique, we encourage you to check in at City Hall for basic information, consider meeting with the City Planner, and telephoning the Tulare County Building Department at 559.624.7000, or visit 5961 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA.

What are permits and why do I need one?

Permits are the way the City of Exeter regulates construction.  This regulation is designed to ensure that all construction in the city is safe.  The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes.  Because Exeter has modest growth, we partner with the County of Tulare Building Department to provide plan check services, permitting, and inspection services.

The City of Exeter has adopted several codes, among them the Uniform Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, and National Electrical codes.  In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.

There are several different types of permits, based on the type of construction:  structural, plumbing, mechanical, grading and combination.  Most homeowner’s projects require a combination permit.  In addition, the complete demolition and relocation of buildings also requires permits.

Obtaining the permit is just the first step in the process.  In this step, you may need to create plans to be submitted to the department, make a plot plan for your property showing the improvements, and show the type of construction you’ll be using.

Once plans are approved, you’re required to build the project according to the plans that have been stamped “APPROVED” by the department.  If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the department’s approval.

The second half of the process is the inspection of the work by the building inspector.  This is discussed later on this page.

Permits

How to Apply for a Conditional Use Permit

A Conditional Use Permit (also called a C.U.P.) is a type of land use permit issued by the City of Exeter for the establishment of certain types of land uses listed in the Exeter Zoning Ordinance.  Conditional uses are certain uses which, because of their unusual characteristics, or their potential to affect the surrounding neighborhood, require special review by city staff and the Planning Commission.

A Variance is a type of permit granted by the Planning Commission which allows a person to deviate from a standard of the Exeter Zoning Ordinance.

The Zoning Ordinance is a set of laws governing land use and the development of property within Exeter.  Interested persons can obtain a copy of the ordinance, for a fee, at the Exeter City Hall.  The Zoning Ordinance was passed into law by the Exeter City Council.

Please note that not all regulations of the Zoning Ordinance are subject to a variance.  For example a person cannot request a variance to allow a use not listed as permitted in a certain zone district.

Interested persons are encouraged to meet with the City Planner prior to submitting an application.  This can be done by telephone or by visiting City Hall.  During this meeting, you can discuss the process and important development standards (setbacks, parking, landscaping, etc.) that will apply to your project.  You can also determine whether your project is subject to environmental review (see Environmental Review below).  Such a preliminary meeting will help to streamline the development process.  You can reach the City Planner at 559.592.5558 or 559.734.8737

How to Apply for a Site Plan Review

A Site Plan Review Permit is a type of land use permit issued by the City of Exeter for the establishment of certain types of land uses.  The purpose of the Site Plan Review permit is to enable the City Planner to ensure that a proposed development complies with applicable zoning standards.  More specifically, the process is intended to result in well-designed projects that will enhance the physical appearance and attractiveness of the community while protecting public safety and welfare.

Projects reviewed under the Site Plan Review process must meet all applicable standards of the Exeter Zoning Ordinance.  Interested persons can obtain a copy of the ordinance, for a fee, at the Exeter City Hall.  The Zoning Ordinance is a set of laws governing land use and the development of property within Exeter.  The Zoning Ordinance was passed into law by the Exeter City Council.

Site Plan Review permits are required for multiple family dwellings, commercial and industrial buildings, and public and quasi-public buildings.  Site Plan Review is also required when any of these types of uses are expanded by 50% or more.  Site Plan Review is not required for single family homes.

Applicants are encouraged to meet with the City Planner prior to submitting a Site Plan Review application.  This can be done by telephone or by visiting City Hall.  You can reach the City Planner at 559.592.5558 or 559.734.8737

During this meeting, you can discuss the process and important development standards (setbacks, parking, landscaping, etc.) that will apply to your project.  You can also determine whether your project is subject to environmental review (see Environmental Review below).  Such a preliminary meeting will help to streamline the development process.