Community Development Agency 

 

Development Services Division-Planning

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

 

 What is my parcel's zone district? – or – What is the zoning designation of my parcel?  

 Where can I find a “plot map” for my parcel?

 What are the setbacks on my parcel? – or – What are my building setbacks?

 Where do I measure my building setbacks from?

 How do I contact Planning Services?

 My parcel is in Flood Zone _____. What does this mean?

 What are the allowed uses for my parcel?

 Can I camp on my property?

 Can I grow grapes/have a vineyard on my property? Can I sell grapes? Can I operate a winery?

 Can I have horses or farm animals on my property? How many?

 Can I have a granny flat or guest house on my property? What is the difference between a granny flat and a guest house? What is the maximum size? What are the permit costs?

 What is the allowable TRPA coverage for my parcel?

 What is a hardship mobile home and under what conditions is it allowed?

 Can I split my parcel? If possible, what is the process/fee?

 How do I merge my parcel with an adjourning parcel? How do I apply for a Boundary Line Agreement (BLA)/Lot Line Adjustment?

 Can my structure(s) be rebuilt if destroyed?

 Is my parcel "buildable"? Are there any development restrictions?

 

Q:     What is my parcel's zone district? – or – What is the zoning designation of my parcel?               [Top

A:     Specific zoning information can be found on the Planning Services web page, Parcel Data Lookup screen. You will be asked to supply the parcel’s APN or Assessor’s Parcel Number. If you do not have the APN, select APN Lookup.

On the Parcel Data Lookup screen, enter the APN and click “submit.” The Parcel Data screen will display with information such as, Acreage, Census Tract, Fire District, Flood Zone, General Plan Land Use, Rare Plate Mitigation, School District, Supervisorial District, Water District and Zoning. Click the section heading “ZONING INFORMATION” for a link to the Zoning Ordinance and information on the zoning district, allowed uses, required building setbacks and specific development standard. For questions regarding your parcel’s zoning, you may contact Planning Services at (530) 621-5355.

 

Q:    Where can I find a “plot map” for my parcel?               [Top]

A:     You may obtain a copy of an Assessor’s Parcel Page, containing a general outline of your property, by contacting the County Assessor’s office at (530) 621-5719. You may also obtain a copy at the Development Services public counter. This diagram may provide the information you need. However, please be advised the Assessor’s Parcel Pages are not surveys; they are prepared by the Assessor’s office for tax assessment purposes only. NOTE: Due to county regulations, electronic copies of Assessor’s Parcel Pages are not available at this time.

For some parcels, official recorded maps may be available in public records, including Record of Surveys, Parcel Maps and Subdivision Maps. For information regarding recorded maps or to obtain copies of recorded maps, you may contact the County Recorder-Clerk’s office. Planning Services can also provide 8 ½ x 11 reductions of available maps at the Development Services public counter.

Building permit records may also include a map of your parcel. Please contact the Building Safety Services Unit for building permit research.


   

Q:     What are the setbacks on my parcel?   – or – What are my building setbacks?               [Top]

A:     Minimum building setbacks for each zoning district are outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. In order to find the specific setbacks for your zone, you will need to know your specific Zone District (i.e. R1, RE-10, CP, etc.). See “What is my parcel’s zone district?” above.

If you already know your parcel’s zoning district, go directly to the Adopted Zoning Ordinance, scroll through the Contents page and click your zoning designation. Setback information is contained in the Development Standards section. Please Note: Before beginning any project, contact Planning Services for additional special setbacks. Setbacks for agricultural, timber, water resource and/or wetland protection may also apply.


  

Q:     Where do I measure my building setbacks from?               [Top]  

A:     Minimum building setbacks are required for all permitted structures, or additions to existing structures, exceeding 30 inches in height. Setbacks are measured from the closest portion of the structure to either the property line or the edge of the County road and/or private road easement, whichever is closer to the project. Note: A project may have more than one front yard (road) setback. For more details, please refer to the handout: “Measuring Building Setbacks.”

 

 

Q:     How do I contact Planning Services?               [Top]

A:     Click here for Planning Services location, contact information and hours. Note: As all land use information is parcel-specific, it is strongly recommended that you provide either the Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) or numerical street address(es) of the parcel(s) you are inquiring about. If you do not have an APN or street address, you may contact the Assessor’s Office for this information. You may also click APN Lookup to help you find your parcel number.

 

 

Q:     My parcel is in Flood Zone _____.  What does this mean?               [Top]

A:    Flood Zone information on a parcel can be found on the Planning Services web page, Parcel Data Lookup screen. You will be asked to supply the parcel’s APN or Assessor’s Parcel Number. If you do not have the APN, select APN Lookup first, then proceed to Parcel Data Lookup.

Parcels in El Dorado County have been assigned Flood Zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Click here for a listing of Flood Zones and definitions. This information may also be accessed by clicking Flood Zone Information on the Parcel Data screen. For more information, please visit FEMA’s FAQs. Also included at this link is information on how to request a review of determination that your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

In coordination and consistent with FEMA requirements, the County of El Dorado regulates development in flood hazard areas through implementation of the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, Chapter 130.25 of the El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance. For additional flood zone questions, please contact Planning Services at (530) 621-5355.


   

Q:     What are the allowed uses for my parcel?               [Top]

A:     Allowed uses for your parcel are determined by the zone district. Specific zoning information can be found on the Planning Services web page, Parcel Data Lookup screen. You will be asked to supply the parcel’s APN or Assessor’s Parcel Number. If you do not have the APN, select APN Lookup first, then proceed to Parcel Data Lookup.

The Parcel Data screen displays information such as, Acreage, Census Tract, Fire District, Flood Zone, General Plan Land Use, Rare Plant Mitigation, School District, Supervisorial District, Water District and Zoning. Click the section heading “ZONING INFORMATION” for a link to the Zoning Ordinance and information on each zoning district, allowed uses, required building setbacks and specific development standards.

If you already know your parcel’s zoning district, go directly to the Adopted Zoning Ordinance, scroll through the Contents page and click your zoning designation. Allowable uses within each zone district are typically grouped into two lists, “Uses Permitted by Right” and “Uses Requiring Special Use Permit”.

The first list shows uses that are allowed on your parcel. The second list shows uses that are allowed by Special Use Permit (SUP). These uses are NOT allowed by right. A SUP is considered a “discretionary” action, and, therefore, all SUP requests are individually evaluated and heard at a public hearing. The final outcome (i.e. conditional approval, denial, etc.) of any SUP request will be determined by action(s) taken at the hearing. Click here for more information regarding Special Use Permits and to download a copy of a Special Use Permit application packet.

NOTE: A building and/or grading permit may be required for new use(s) on your parcel. For building or grading permit information, please contact the Building Safety Services Unit.


   

Q:     Can I camp on my property?               [Top]

A:     The El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance is a permissive ordinance. This means that if a particular use is not listed under “Uses Permitted by Right” or “Uses Requiring a Special Use Permit,” it is not allowed. See What are the allowed uses for my parcel? (above) for instructions on finding your zoning designation and its allowed uses.

No residential zone district allows camping by right or by special use permit. Selected commercial, agricultural and recreational zone districts allow campgrounds with an approved Special Use Permit. Camping is allowed in the Timber Preserve Zone District (TPZ) with some restrictions.


Q:     Can I grow grapes/have a vineyard on my property?  Can I sell grapes?  Can I operate a winery?               [Top]

A:     The El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance is a permissive ordinace. This means that if a particular use is not listed under “Uses Permitted by Right” or “Uses Requiring a Special Use Permit,” it is not allowed. See What are the allowed uses for my parcel? (above) for instructions on finding your zoning designation and its allowed uses.

If the growing of grapes for commercial purposes/cultivation of a vineyard is permitted on your parcel, the zoning definition will contact language in the “Uses Permitted by Right” section such as “…the cultivation of tree and field crops…”

If the sale of grapes is permitted on your parcel, the zoning definition will contain language such as “…the sale of such goods when produced on the premises and when in conformity with…”, and/or “…[p]acking and processing of agricultural products produced on the premises without changing the nature of the products…”

The El Dorado County Winery Ordinance, Chapter 130.14.200 of the Zoning Ordinance, regulates the operation of wineries on parcels. Winery-related uses and development standards are parcel-specific and are based upon many factors, including but not limited to your parcel’s zoning designation, its location and adjacency to other parcels, size and complexity of winery uses and activities proposed. As always, if you have additional questions, please contact Planning Services.


 Q:     Can I have horses or farm animals on my property? How many?               [Top] 

A:     Most residential or agricultural-zoned parcels containing at least one acre may keep horses or farm animals. Exceptions include a very small number of County parcels that are zoned R-20,000, where horses/farm animals are NOT permitted, regardless of lot size. In addition, parcels that are zoned RE-5 or RE-10 allow the “raising and grazing of domestic farm animals” by right and may keep horses or farm animals regardless of lot size. To find the zoning designation of your parcel, please see the previous section, What is the zoning designation of my parcel? As always, if you have further questions, please contact Planning Services for more information.

NOTE: The Zoning Ordinance does not specify the number of horses/farm animals that may be kept on a qualifying parcel. Reports/inquiries regarding animal waste should be submitted to County Environmental Management. Incidents of animal neglect and/or abuse should be reported to Animal Services.


Q:     Can I have a granny flat or guest house on my property?  What is the difference between a granny flat and a guest house?  What is the maximum size?  What are the permit costs?               [Top]

A:     The terms Granny Flat, Mother-in-Law Unit, Guest House and Second Residential Unit are often used interchangeably. However, the El Dorado County Zoning Ordinance provides distinctions and design criteria.

Second Residential Units – often called Granny Flats or Mother-in-Law Units – are defined and regulated by Chapter 130.15 of the Zoning Ordinance. Second Residential Units are permitted on all lots zoned for single-family residential uses, unless the parcel is encumbered by a Williamson Act Contract.

A freestanding Second Residential Unit cannot exceed 1,200 square feet, as measured by its exterior dimensions. Building setback requirements apply. A Second Residential Unit may also be constructed as an attached unit to the main house. In this design, the attached Second Residential Unit cannot exceed 30 percent of the square footage of the primary dwelling, excluding garages, patios and decks.

Second Residential Units cannot be added onto or otherwise increased in size beyond 1,200 square feet. Either the primary residence or the Second Residential Unit must be occupied by the property owner. Only one of the two residences may be rented.

For information regarding building permits or permit fees for Second Residential Units, please contact the Building Safety Services Unit. Click here for Transportation Impact Mitigation (TIM) Fee offset information.

Please Note: A Guest House is NOT a second residential unit and is limited to 400 square feet in size. It is structure accessory to the residence that provided temporary sleeping quarters for guests. As it is not intended as a residence, it may not include kitchen/cooking facilities. Building permit fees for guest houses can be found on the Building Safety Services web page, Building Permits, Residential Accessory Structures.


Q:     What is the allowable TRPA coverage for my parcel?               [Top]

A:     Due to water quality concerns within the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) requires all new development in the Lake Tahoe Basin to comply with lot coverage limitations.

For undeveloped lots, maximum allowable coverage has been previously calculated by the TRPA as part of the Individual Parcel Evaluation System (IPES) scoring process. For IPES scores and allowable coverage for undeveloped parcels, refer to the TRPA IPES web page, http://trpa.org/ipes/. Either a numerical street address or Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) is required in order to access IPES information for a particular parcel. For more information about vacant lots in the Tahoe Basin, you may also contact the TRPA at: (775) 588-4547 or visit the TRPA website, http://www.trpa.org.

For developed lots, a TRPA Site Assessment is typically required in order to determine allowable coverage. To determine whether a TRPA Site Assessment is required for your parcel, or to obtain information regarding the Site Assessment process, please contact Building Safety Services. Click here for Building Safety Services location and hours.


Q:     What is a hardship mobile home and under what conditions is it allowed?               [Top]

A:     A Temporary Mobile/Manufactured Home (“Hardship Mobile Home”) is allowed, in addition to permanent dwelling(s), for a limited period of time and only under certain conditions. Uses of a Temporary Mobile Home include but are not limited to: A temporary residence for dislocated family member(s), caretaker(s) to assist an elderly or handicapped homeowner; caretaker of a school or church; temporary housing for agricultural employees. A Temporary Mobile Home Application (TMA) is issued by Planning Services for a two-year period. TMA’s may be renewed for additional two-year periods as needed.

Please Note: A TMA for a recreational vehicle and/or “fifth wheel” travel trailer (currently licensed by the DMV) can also be allowed, but its use is limited to one year, with a one year possible time extension.

See Zoning Ordinance Section 130.52 and Temporary Mobile Home Application for more information. Planning fees for Temporary mobile Homes can be found on the Planning Fee Schedule. Building permit fees can be found on the Building Fee Schedule.


Q:     Can I split my parcel?  If possible, what is the process/fee?               [Top]

A:     A parcel can only be subdivided if a future subdivision would be consistent with all applicable Title 120 and Title 130 regulations (Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances), including but not limited to Zone District Development Standards, minimum lot sizes, parcel configurations, utility/water/waste regulations, Fire Safe regulations and road development standards. A potential subdivision must also be consistent with the parcel’s General Plan Land Use Designation (LUD) and other applicable General Plan Policies. Subdivisions must also be consistent with the State Subdivision Map Act and regulations from other agencies.

Note: All subdivision requests (i.e. Tentative Subdivision Map or Tentative Parcel Map) are considered “discretionary” actions, and, therefore, subdivision requests will be individually evaluated and heard at public hearing. The final outcome (i.e. conditional approval, denial, etc.) of any subdivision request will be determined by action taken at the hearing. For more information and subdivision requests or to obtain subdivision application materials, please click on the following links:
If requesting four parcels or less, you will submit the Parcel Map, Tentative, application.
If requesting five parcels or more, the Subdivision Map, Tentative, is required.

For additional information, please contact Planning Services staff. Click here for contact information and hours.


Q:     How do I merge my parcel with an adjourning parcel?  How do I apply for a Boundary Line Agreement (BLA)/Lot Line Adjustment?               [Top]  

A:    Lot Line Adjustments or Boundary Line Agreements (BLA) are applied for when adjustments are requested between two to four existing adjacent or adjoining parcels. In a Lot Line Adjustment, lot lines are either adjusted between adjacent or adjoining parcels, or up to four adjacent parcels under one ownership can be merged into one parcel. In no instances is a new parcel created in the BLA process.

A BLA requires the approval of the Development Services Division, County Surveyor and the County Treasurer/Tax Collector. The initial application is submitted to Planning Service to determine consistency with the Lot Line Adjustment Ordinance (see Chapter 120.53) and other applicable regulations. If consistent, your project will be approved and the application forwarded to the other County departments. Click here for the application, project requirements, instructions for submittal and fees.


Q:     Can my structure(s) be rebuilt if destroyed?               [Top]  

A:     In general, legally permitted structures may be rebuilt if replacement structure(s) and associated use(s) will be consistent with applicable zoning regulations. Possible exceptions can be found in Adopted Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 130.20, Nonconforming Uses.

To determine if a structure was legally permitted, please contact Building Safety Services for building permit research. A research fee may apply.


Q:     Is my parcel "buildable"?  Are there any development restrictions?               [Top]

A:     While Planning Services is not able to verify actual building conditions of a particular parcel (i.e. lot slopes, access to building site(s), type and location of vegetation, etc.), Planning Services staff can assist you with specific land use and development research to help you plan your project. For example, staff can review public records and determine if a parcel qualifies for development permits (building permits, grading permits, etc.), and if you development project may have significant Zoning Code or General Plan-imposed restrictions (i.e. flood zones, wetland areas, cemeteries, etc.). For more information, please contact Planning Services. Click here for contact information and hours.