Follow the instructions in the Zoning District Handout to determine what zoning district your property is in.
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A deck under thirty (30) inches above existing or finished grade, whichever is lower, may encroach into any required setback. A deck greater than 30 inches above grade must maintain a minimum 20' setback from any street frontage and a minimum 5' side and rear yard setback. A deck that is greater than 6' above greater and more than 200 square-feet in size will require an Elevated Deck Permit .
A deck does not require a building permit if it meets all of the following criteria: Decks pertinent to R3 and U occupancies not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30” above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling, and do not serve the exit door required by code. See the Construction Work Not Requiring A Building Permit list for more information.
A shed is referred to as an accessory structure in the Orinda Municipal Code. A shed must meet the accessory structure setbacks, based on the setbacks for the primary residence. See the Development Standards Handout to determine what your property's setbacks are. A shed less than 120 square-feet with no plumbing or electricity does not require a building permit. All sheds, even those that do not require a building permit, must conform to the setback requirements.
A retaining wall greater than 3' in height will require a building permit. A retaining wall shall be limited to four feet if it is: (1) within ten feet of any property line; or (2) in the minimum required yard setback for the subject lot, whichever is greater. Elsewhere, a retaining wall shall be no higher than eight feet. Unless there is a minimum horizontal separation of at least four feet between individual retaining walls or fences and retaining walls, a grouping of walls and a grouping of one or more walls and fences shall be seen as a single structure for determining height limits. A retaining wall that will exceed the maximum height requirements will require an Exception Permit.
A pool must maintain a minimum 5' side and rear yard setback. Pool equipment must be located closer to the subject property than adjacent properties. A building permit is required for a pool.
Sports courts must meet the following requirements:
Yes, you may add a second story to an existing single-story residence. A new second story requires Design Review.
Yes, you will need a Encroachment Permit from the Public Works Department if your property is on a public street.
Depending on the type of creek or water channel, there will be a 0-45' setback measured from the top of bank. See Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.4.6 for a description of the creek types and applicable setbacks. If you have a potential project, you may request a Creek Setback Determination.
Use the Development Standards Handout to determine what your property setbacks are.
For properties of 20,000 square-feet or greater, the maximum floor area is 20% of the total property size up to a maximum of 7,000 square feet. For properties under 20,000 square-feet in size, see Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.6.8 to determine the maximum floor area based on the lot size. See Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.6 for more information on how floor area is calculated. If a proposed project will exceed the maximum floor area for the property, Design Review will be required.
There is a maximum 27' building height and a maximum 35' aggregate building height. See Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.4.19 for graphics of how height is measured. If your project will exceed the maximum building height or aggregate building height, an Exception Permit will be required.
A Certificate of Compliance is required in order for the City to confirm if the parcels were legally created through the Subdivision Map Act.
Contact Central Contra Costa Sanitary District for questions regarding the sewer system.
Contact Central Contra Costa Sanitary District for questions regarding septic tanks.
Contact PG&E for setting up gas or electric service to a vacant property.
Contact EBMUD to set up water service.
Some properties in Orinda are categorized as "unbuildable" by the Contra Costa County Assessor's Office. This designation is made by the County Assessor’s office and does not impact whether a site is actually buildable from a planning and zoning perspective. These sites are legal, potentially buildable lots.
Yes, there is no limitation on the type of construction. Contact Contra Costa County Building Department for building code requirements related to manufactured homes.