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Development Requirements

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Aerial Photo of Santa Cruz by Aaron Becker

The Development Section of Public Works is responsible for ensuring that new development projects, both commercial and residential, comply with all applicable regulations and provide the necessary public infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to: streets, sidewalks, storm drainage and sanitary sewers, trash enclosures, alleys, streetlights, and landscape strips along frontages.

Our goal is to work closely with Developers, Architects, Contractors and Property Owners to provide them with a thorough, accurate, and timely review and inspection of their projects and offer guidance when needed to help bring projects to fruition.

Private Development and Public Right-of-Way Requirements
The following document includes information to facilitate understanding and compliance with Public Works requirements for the development on private property in the City and for work in the public right-of-way that may be under the department's jurisdiction.
Private Development and Public Right-of-Way Requirements [PDF]
Subdivision Requirements [PDF]

Temporary Encroachment Permit
Temporary encroachment permits are required for projects when temporary occupations of portions of the public right-of-way are approved by the Public Works Department for construction staging purposes (such as construction fencing, signs, equipment, materials, etc.). This over-the-counter permit costs $357 and requires special commercial liability insurance. 

Please contact the Public Works Engineering office at 831-420-5160 to begin the process of procuring a Temporary Encroachment Permit.

Encroachment Permit
Encroachment permits are required for semi permanent encroachments in the right of way for things like fences, awnings and building projections. These permits are subject to the approval of the City Council and require a $535 application fee. An encroachment permit requires special commercial liability insurance.

Please contact the Public Works Engineering office at 831-420-5160 to begin the process of procuring an Encroachment Permit.

Utility Street Opening Permit Application form
Utility Street Opening Permit Application [PDF]

Residential Building Projects
New Construction, Additions and Remodels

Trash Enclosure Requirements
The Public Works department has new design guidelines for trash enclosures to comply with our Best Management Practices for the City's Storm Water Management Program.
Refuse Container Storage Facility Standard Design Policy [PDF]

Storm Water Requirements
State and federal storm water regulations require development and remodeling projects in the City to incorporate design standards and Best Management Practices (BMPs) in order to reduce storm water pollution and minimize the potential for erosion. The City developed mandatory BMPs based on (1) the minimum design standards from Chapter E.12.d. "Source Control Measures" of the State of California General Permit for Discharges of Storm Water from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (Water Quality Order No. 2013-0001-DWQ) and (2) the Central Coast Post-Construction Storm Water Management Requirements for Development Projects adopted by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Resolution No. R3-2013-0032), in order to reduce storm water pollution from development and remodeling projects.

Post-Construction Requirements are conditions the City must impose on new developments and redevelopment projects to incorporate low-impact development (LID) so that the property maximizes the infiltration of clean storm water into the ground and minimizes runoff volumes and pollutant loads. The Post-Construction requirements are tiered, with cumulative performance requirements based on the amount of impervious surface area created or replaced by a project. Both pollution prevention and LID BMPs should be addressed during the project’s initial planning process to ensure that they are incorporated into a project’s design from the beginning.

The Mandatory BMPs are separated into Chapters 6A and 6B. Chapter 6A covers requirements for incorporating LID in single-family home projects that create or replace less than 15,000 square feet of impervious surface. Chapter 6B covers the more complex and engineering-intensive requirements for all other private and public development projects.

Chapter 6A for single-family home projects:
Chapter 6A Storm Water BMP Requirements for Single-Family Homes (March 2014)
All new single-family home development or remodel projects must fill out a Storm Water and LID Checklist for Single-Family Home Projects (fillable PDF format)

Chapter 6B for public and private development projects:
Chapter 6B Storm Water BMP Requirements for Private and Public Development Projects (March 2014)
All new private and public development projects must fill out a Storm Water and LID BMP Requirement Worksheet (Excel spreadsheet format)

 slow spread sink

For practical and eco-friendly ways to protect your property and the environment from the effects of storm water runoff, please click on the link below for the brochure "Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! A Homeowner's Guide to Greening Stormwater Runoff" which was published by the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County. Home Drainage Guide

More information regarding storm water and LID requirements can be found on the City's Storm Water Development and remodeling information page (

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