Building Code Enforcement
Construction is allowed between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday only two people can perform work (the property owner plus one). Heavy equipment usage is not permitted weekends. Two one-day exceptions may be requested per year. View our Construction Hour Site Posting (PDF) for more information.
Fence & Retaining Walls
Planning Department approval is not required for new and reconstructed fences Section 17.4.27 of the Municipal Code. Fences within 5 feet of a street abutting property line are limited to 4 feet in height and must be visually open. Fences more than 5 feet from the front property line may be up to 6 feet in height, must be screened with landscaping and may be constructed of a solid material.
Fences may not be constructed in the public right-of-way without the approval of a revocable encroachment agreement. Because the public right-of-way is almost always wider than the paved roadway width and the pavement is not always centered in the right-of-way, a property line survey may be required. For additional information, please review Section 17.15.3 of the Municipal Code.
Protected trees cannot be removed without a permit. Trees are protected if they are:
- On vacant property and are 6 inches or more in diameter as measured at 4.5 feet above grade (diameter breast height (DBH)), regardless of species
- On developed property and are 12 inches or more DBH and are an oak species
- A riparian tree 4.5 inches DBH within 30 feet of the bank of a water course
- Regardless of size, required as condition of development approval
Work Within Riparian Zones
Section 17.4.6 of the Orinda Municipal Code states that no structure may be built in the setback required for creeks, streams and watercourses unless City Engineer approval has been obtained under Municipal Code section 16.64.220.C and design review approval has been obtained under Municipal Code section 17.30.5. The City Engineer review ensures the safety of the structure and design review ensures that the site and landscape plan "retains, enhances and restores appropriate riparian vegetation." A Creek Protection Report prepared by a City retained biologist is required. A natural drainage course will be considered a creek, stream, or watercourse if an incised channel is present. If you are unsure whether the setback applies, you may request a site visit by City staff.
To report a suspected code violation, print and submit the Orinda Code Violation Form (PDF).
If you have a question about whether or not an action violates the code, the information on this page outlines the most common infractions for your convenience. If your question is not answered here, you can browse the Orinda Municipal Code for complete details. If you would prefer to speak to a Planner about the suspected infraction, please feel free to contact the City of Orinda Planning Department at 925-253-4210 or by email.