YCCA: Unincorporated areas have their own permit requirements

Permitting processes are designed to ensure that all applicable federal, state and city regulations as well as local building codes and safety standards are enforced. This week, we are going to review items that do not require a building permit within the boundaries of the unincorporated areas in Yavapai County. Next week we will discuss the items that do require a building permit in the unincorporated areas. Contact Development Services for to discuss your particular needs at (928) 771-3214.

All of our municipalities are currently working under the 2006 International Residential Building Code. These codes are national standards, developed by the International Code Council, and are reviewed on a three-year cycle. Our municipalities unanimously agreed not to adopt the 2009 codes and will review the 2012 code at the next cycle.

Each municipality then has the ability to modify the International Code standards based on individual geographical and climate conditions and environments, and then adopt specific criteria to accommodate any of these conditions. For example, the International Residential Code requires a minimum size of 120 square feet for a detached accessory structure. The City of Prescott though, through an ordinance change, declared the minimum to be 200 square feet for a detached structure within the City of Prescott limits. The unincorporated area of Yavapai County, through an ordinance change, has declared the minimum to be up to 400 square feet. The decision on larger square footage for Yavapai County reflects the larger size of rural acreage conditions. So you can see how each municipality has the authority and the ability to adopt ordinances to best reflect the area. This example represents why it would be difficult to have one set of standards for the building code throughout all of Yavapai County. Our jurisdictions do attempt to standardize, making codes easier to accommodate the individual needs of our residents in the various communities.

Building permits in the unincorporated boundaries of Yavapai County are not required for the following:

• One-story new residential structure and/or detached residential accessory buildings on residential property being used as tool/storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, if the floor area does not exceed 400 square feet under the roof.

• Freestanding masonry or concrete walls not over 4 feet high on residential properties.

• Fences not over 6 feet high.

• Oil derricks. This should bring a smile to your face - maybe there is oil in the unincorporated areas of Yavapai County. Think about what that would do for economic development.

• Moveable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet, 9 inches high.

• Retaining walls not over 4 feet high, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall. A permit is required if these walls are supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids.

• Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2-to-1.

• Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work.

• Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.

• Window awnings supported by an exterior wall when not projecting more than 54 inches. There are special groups and occupancies that are affected by this nonrequired permit, so check with Development Services.

• Prefabricated swimming pools in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and is installed entirely above ground. There are special groups and occupancies that are affected by non-required permit, so check with Development Services.

• Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes and not including service systems.

• Swings and other playground equipment accessory to one- and two-family dwellings.

• Re-roofing with no sheathing replacement.

• New windows and doors; replacement must be the same size and type.

• Remodels that are nonstructural with no increase in square footage, no plumbing, electrical or mechanical.

• Barns, sheds, animal shades and detached carports that do not exceed 400 square feet under roof on residential properties. Any plumbing, mechanical and electrical to these items will require a building permit.

• Concrete flat work, driveways, walkways and pads not to be used in connection with a structural component.

• Plumbing accessory replacements that do not alter the existing plumbing system.

• Connection of temporary lighting.

• Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, however the outlet cannot be reworked.

• Repair or replacement of fixed motors, transformers or fixed appliances, all of the same type.

• Temporary wiring for experimental purposes.

• Portable motors or other portable appliances energized by a cord or cable as long as the attachment plug is connected to an approved receptacle.

• Removal of electrical wiring.

• Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.

• Electric and gas water heaters as long as this is a like-for-like replacement.

• Any plug-in heating appliance.

• Replacement of any minor part of equipment that does not alter the equipment or make such equipment unsafe, such as a burner replacement on a hot water heater.

• Any moveable plug-in device.

• Internal replacement of parts on any heating or cooling equipment or appliance.

• Installation of portable evaporative coolers. Any plug-in cooling/heating unit.

• Installation of self-contained refrigerating systems that contain 10 pounds or less of refrigerant.

Each jurisdiction is the statutory authority that oversees the building control in their respective areas and ensures safety, livability and sustainability of our built environment, and regulates building practices, provides services to the consumers and builds a stronger leadership and brings better building practices to our area.

As with all jurisdictions, going hand-in-hand with permitting are the planning and zoning ordinances. These provisions are deemed to be the minimum requirements to govern the division and use of land in order to secure safety from fire, panic and other dangers; provide adequate light and air, prevent overcrowding of land and avoid undue concentration of population in certain areas; facilitate adequate provision of transportation, water, sewage, schools, parks and other public requirements; and maintain and promote stable values of land and structures.