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Permits are required in all county zoning districts. There is no category of zoning called “agricultural” – agricultural uses are allowed in the “Rural” zoning districts. Agricultural uses are allowed in any zoning district with an Agricultural Exemption. Please call 602-506-3301 for more information.
The approved land use file must contain representation (on a site plan) of the improvements which qualify as exempt. Those that do qualify will not be required to get permits from Planning and Development. However, improvements which are not incidental to the exempted use require permits and must meet applicable regulations.
It may qualify, but minimum requirements have to be met. An application for an agricultural exemption must be processed and approved after obtaining approval from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office with an Agricultural Status. An agricultural exemption certificate may then be issued. This exemption certificate authorizes the approved use of the property to be exempt from the County Building Codes, Zoning Ordinance, and Drainage Regulations. However, other regulatory agencies such as Flood Control & Environmental Services still have the authority to regulate.
The land use application for an agricultural exemption certificate is available on the Planning & Development website. Select the “Information Packet & Application” on the Agricultural Exemption page.
To qualify for an agricultural exemption, the property must be a minimum of 5 contiguous commercial acres (175,000 square feet). More than one parcel is acceptable as long as they are contiguous. It must have an agricultural use classification assigned by the County Assessor's Office. To receive this, an application to the Assessor's Office is required and the use must qualify to be exempt as per the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance. You may then request an Agricultural Exemption Certificate to be issued by the Planning and Development Department.
The Zoning Ordinances states: This Ordinance shall not prevent, restrict or otherwise regulate the use or occupation of land or improvements for railroad, mining, metallurgical, grazing or general agricultural purposes, if the tract/s concerned is/are 5 or more contiguous commercial acres in size (Note: 1 Commercial acre = 35,000 square feet).1. Property is not exempt from the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance and/or Building Safety Ordinance unless and until the Maricopa Planning and Development Department has issued a certificate of exemption for that property. In order to secure a certificate of exemption, an applicant shall submit a zoning clearance application, including site plan and other reasonable supporting documentation.2. Only property classified by the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office or the Arizona Department of Revenue as property used for one of the purposes enumerated in the first paragraph of this section is eligible for exemption under this section. If property has been so classified, the property is exempt from the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance and/or Building Safety Ordinance, unless the Planning and Development Director independently determines that all or part of the property is not used primarily for one or more of the purposes enumerated in the first paragraph of this section.3. Any structures built under an exemption that do not meet the underlying zoning district and/or Building Safety Ordinance standards may be required to comply with said standards if, at a future date, the exemption is no longer applicable.
The Zoning Ordinance does not contain a definition for a “church,” although a “church” is included in the definition of “Places of Public Assembly.” A standard dictionary definition is acceptable; Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate dictionary defines “church” as “a building for public and especially Christian worship.”
A Compliance Inspection is a development permit issued to enable one inspection on one property. This type of permit is only used in specific circumstances. A Compliance Inspection does not authorize work; rather, it provides for a property inspection so the inspector may better assist a customer with the next step in the completion of their project.
There are 5 instances where a compliance inspection is appropriate:1. Final Inspection: This is used when a permit had been previously issued, passed all required inspections, except the Final(s), and has since expired. This is a one-time inspection and could be for a Final Building Inspection, a Final Drainage Inspection, or both. If both are necessary, then 2 Compliance Inspections are required with separate fees. Result: An inspection is either approved or denied. If denied, a new permit may be required.2. Fire Damage: One-time inspection where an inspector views the property and structures to determine the extent of the fire damage. Result: A field report is prepared and the customer is advised of the type of permit(s) required.3. Group Home: An inspection of an existing residential structure to ensure all requirements are met for occupancy as a group home with less than 5 occupants. A proper site plan, floor plan and Land Use Certificate application must be submitted for review. Due to the complexity, this permit is not issued over the Counter. Result: An inspection is either approved or denied.4. Code Compliance: An inspection of a building or structure to determine if it is in compliance with all county building codes. Result: An inspection is either approved or denied.5. Move On Structure: An inspection to ensure an existing structure intended to be moved into the County jurisdiction meets all structural requirements. Result: An inspection is either approved or denied.
In the five scenarios listed above, a Compliance Inspection is needed to have a Maricopa County Inspector advise you on the specific actions required for the completion of your project. This will help ensure; protection of your investment, protection for you and your family, protection of the public and future residents, and protection of the environment.
To request a Compliance Inspection, complete a building application and Contact Supplemental form; be sure to identify the type of Compliance Inspection you need. List any prior permits you may have, if applicable. The permit fee is $100 per Compliance Inspection, and there is also a $10 Address Verification. For a Compliance for Final, a compliance request form and compliance application is required. A review is conducted to see if the expired permit or work qualifies for a Compliance permit. Once approved, you will be notified to pay the fee(s) and the permit will be emailed to you with instructions. Be sure to post this permit at the work site and call for the inspection.You may retrieve these forms at our office location or online for your residential or commercial project: Building Services page.
If the property is located in the Unincorporated Areas of Maricopa County, you can call the Flood Control District’s Floodplain Division at 602-506-2419 and ask for floodplain determination. Prior to calling make sure you have the Tax Assessor Number. You may also check the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Maps
Whether a site inspection is needed or not depends on the location of the site and if the Engineering Division already has drainage information for the site. The Engineering Division Representative will determine if a site inspection is needed at the time of the plan submittal.
Yes, in most instances. Check the Drainage Matrix page
A Drainage Clearance is issued as part of the Building Permitting process. A site plan has to be submitted to the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department. The Plan is taken in and a decision is made whether a site investigation is required. If not, then the plan is either issued over the counter or sent to Engineering for further review. If a site investigation is required, the applicant is told to stake the property corners of the building location and call for the site inspection. Once the inspection is performed, the decision is made as to whether an engineer needs to be retained to provide hydrology and/or hydraulic information, or are we able to issue the Drainage Clearance only based upon minimal information such as drainage arrows and cross-sections.
Once the final plans are prepared and sent to the Engineering Division for review and, if all of the requirements are met, they are approved. When all of the reviewing agencies are satisfied that the plan meets their requirements, a Drainage Clearance is issued as part of the County’s Permitting Process. For further information call 602-506-3301.
Call the Maricopa County Planning and Development at 602-506-3301. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible, including the address or parcel number involved and a description of the suspected violation. If you choose to provide your name and phone number, efforts will be made to keep that information confidential. You may also report a violation online.
To know what needs to be shown, please review the section regarding Plan Submittal Requirements on the Drainage Review page.
After everything has been completed, all the concrete has been poured, all trenches have been filled, stockpiles/berms removed and the site has been rough graded. Call our inspection line at 602-506-3629. Inspections for the next day need to be called in prior to 2:30 p.m. (This is an automated system). You can also
Prior to pouring the stem walls, you must call for a stem inspection. Have the contractor set up the height of the stem walls for our inspector’s site visit. This should happen after the initial site plan has been approved. Call our inspection line at 602-506-3629. Inspections for the next day need to be called in prior to 2:30 p.m. (This is an automated system). You can also request an inspection online.
Yes. Community Residences fall into 2 categories in the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance: 1. Community Residences providing care for no more than 10 non-adjudicated patient residents (including live-in staff) are allowed in all zoning districts except for the C-O & C-S zoning districts. Community Residences are subject to conditions including a minimum a separation of 1200 feet and licensure or other certification requirements. 2. Homes providing care for more than 10 residents require a Special Use Permit or a Reasonable Accommodation.
The County will not reserve future properties for Community Residences, all applications are based upon a first come, first serve basis. Previous approvals may be revoked if the use is discontinued. New ownership or a new type of Community Residence requires a new Community Residence Application.
The applicant of a Community Residence is responsible for submitting a Community Residence Application that meets zoning ordinance and Staff application requirements. If approved, Staff will produce a Staff Report which will document approval of the land use. The Staff Report is the only documentation that you will receive for land use approval. After the applicant has received an approved staff report, the applicant is then responsible for applying for either a compliance inspection or residential alteration permit. Both permits require additional documentation separate from the Community Residence Application. Following an inspection, a Certificate of Occupancy may be obtained. You may then submit both the Staff Report and Certificate of Occupancy to the State. County Staff will not produce any other documentation such as letters or e-mails so that licensure may be obtained.
These facilities are not a category of Community Residences. They may be permitted via a Special Use Permit.
Yes, a compliance inspection is part of the process. For existing single family homes, residential building codes apply. If the home plans to have more than five residents, a fire sprinkler system is required. In the case of a new build community residence, the building code definition of a community residence applies. This requires the home to meet commercial group home building safety codes. Community Residences for more than 10 persons are subject to an Institutional Occupancy classification.
There are 2 types of home occupation definitions in the Zoning Ordinance:1. Residential home occupations, which are allowed as an accessory use in any rural or residential zoning district, subject to the conditions outlined in the Use Regulations of Chapters 5 and 6 of the Ordinance. Garage/yard sales or home parties that are held for the sale of goods or services are not considered a home occupation, provided these sales do not exceed 6 days in one year.2. Cottage industries are permitted in rural and residential zoning districts, subject to obtaining a Special Use Permit approved by the Board of Supervisors (as outlined in Chapter 13 of the Ordinance).
The Zoning Ordinance does not list businesses (i.e. commercial activity) as a permitted primary use in rural or residential districts; however, many accessory commercial businesses can be permitted under the residential home occupation definition or the cottage industry definition assuming the required standards dealing with the level of activity and effects on surrounding properties are adhered to.
Call 602-506-7170 for assigned inspector information; if unavailable, contact the Call Center at 602-506-3301 for immediate assistance.
These inspections are performed by separate divisions. Grading inspections must be performed first to ensure construction will be free of inundation. We are currently working on a program to permit 155 FF inspections and 110 inspections at the same time; the website will be updated when implemented.
Available inspections are listed on the permit, they may appear on page 2 or 3 of your issued permit.
Gas clearances are sent upon 900 Final inspection approval for safety reasons. The 819 inspection is usually just for the underground piping. Approval of the 819 inspection is normally just to backfill or cover the trench and not all final testing, connections or related permits are complete at this time. If the permit only requires a single inspection for a gas repair, a clearance would be sent at that time.
Temporary power is issued for construction of the project only, usually for limited GFCI receptacles. If it was approved early in the project and is not requested from the utility company until further along in the project, a final inspection would be required to verify the electrical installation that has progressed meets all applicable codes. There may be exceptions based on special circumstances, ex: service panel replacements, upgrades and PV solar installations.
Contact information must be given on each inspection request if you would like to receive a call from the inspector. Given the volume of inspections and area we cover, inspections are not available by appointment.
No. Approved plans, access to inspection site, and any special instructions must be provided for inspector.
All elements required by code or ordinances must be completed prior to final inspection. Cosmetic items such as paint and carpet do not need to be completed on residential projects for final.
A Residential Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) may be requested by submitting a request via our online inquiry system.
First, nonconforming means that the subject does not conform to current regulations; and therefore, is in violation of those regulations. In order to qualify as legal and still be nonconforming, the situation which does not meet current regulation must have lawfully existed before those regulations were effective. Once qualified, a legal nonconforming (grandfathered) situation exists.
Any building or structure in existence on a lot as of January 1, 2000 is considered legal nonconforming and will not be required to obtain a construction permit unless there is an observable defect or public safety concern.
The zoning district in which the property is located determines what uses are allowed on the parcel. A situation where the current use of that property or building(s) does not conform with the zoning, but has been an ongoing use (without an interruption of 12 months or more) since before the zoning regulations took effect on May 29, 1969, may qualify as a legal nonconforming use.
Staff researches legal nonconforming files located in the department to verify or find information on the use on the property. If we have no previous record or substantiation, the owner is required to provide independent third party documentation that the use is legal nonconforming. A site plan, indicating all uses and structures with setbacks, is also required. The information, when submitted and determined adequate, is retained in files and sorted by Assessor Parcel Number.
A public record must be documented and the burden of proof falls mostly to the applicant. A land use submittal for a Legal Nonconforming determination is required. For more information, access the Information packet and application (pdf).
Any rural or residential lot in the unincorporated area of the county may be issued a development permit for the placement of one single-wide or multi-sectional manufactured home built after June 15, 1976. The unit must be on a permanent foundation system, which means either on a slab/stem wall foundation or on a state approved system. Re-roofing, re-siding and structural additions must conform to the Maricopa County Comprehensive Building Code. Manufactured homes are also permitted in a mobile home park.
Mobile Home Parks are allowed in the R-5 Multiple Family Residential Zoning Districts and must adhere to the standards outlined in Section 1203 of the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinancy (PDF).
A multi-sectional manufactured home can be placed in any location in which a site-built home is permitted. A single wide mobile home can also be placed in any location in which a site-built home is permitted, in a mobile home subdivision, or in a mobile home park. All that is needed is a development permit.
Call 602-771-1000 to speak to Arizona Department of Housing, Manufactured Housing & Building Division or visit Manufactured Housing & Building Division | Arizona Department of Housing (az.gov)
Once a permit is obtained and a final inspection has been performed, the inspector will direct staff to contact the servicing utility company with a clearance number to initiate this process.
The online process follows the same path as paper submittals. The advantage of the online process is convenience for our customers by not having to make the trip into the office, and by not needing to print plans for review. Only one set of each required document is needed for uploading into the online software, currently ProjectDox. The turnaround times for plan review are the same as for paper submittals. View our permitting page.
Learn how to obtain a building permit and how to submit any plans on our informational resources page.
A Plan of Development (POD) is a site plan which describes how a parcel of land is proposed to be improved. It includes outlines of all structures and site improvements, including but not limited to:- Property lines- Setbacks- Driveways- Landscaping- Existing structures- Proposed structures- Utility connectionsTypically, a POD does not involve any entitlements – that is, there is no requirement to obtain additional approvals for the type of development proposed (i.e., zoning, variance, etc.). The POD review focuses on reviewing the entire project layout for basic design and compatibility and to ensure that a project meets applicable regulations and policies.
Often the term plan of development and site plan are used interchangeably. However, in the case of a POD, the site plan must convey the conditions that will ultimately exist at build-out, whereas the site plan submitted for building or construction permits may only consider existing structures and those contemplated by the particular permit.
A POD is required for all non-residential zoning districts, 2-family and multi-family developments, and all sites with a Unit Plan of Development (UPD), and Planned Area Development (PAD).
Yes. For any existing 2-family, multi-family, or commercial developments, an as-built POD (subject to certain conditions and to a zoning clearance review and fee) will be allowed for any development existing prior to September 22, 2008. Industrial developments have a similar allowance, but are subject to the existing effective date of October 15, 1984. An as-built POD is processed via a land use application, with the average process time of 2 to 3 weeks. For proposals on existing 2-family, multi-family, or commercial developments involving internal tenant improvements, additional wall signs, and other non-layout changes or minor permits, only building permits will be required.
Effective September 22, 2008, PODs are processed administratively by staff. Because this office has no control over the quality of submittals, nor the number of resubmittals required, or the time it takes an applicant to make such resubmittal(s), the average processing timeframe is 90 days. Additionally, a number of reasons could require the POD to be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors for review or appeal by either staff or the applicant, which may increase the time.
Yes. A POD may be processed through the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors concurrent with a Zone Change request (under the Zone Change application) or it may be processed administratively (under a separate POD application). All Zone Change requests that require a POD will be charged as a Zone Change with Overlay and a separate POD request will be charged accordingly. Therefore, if a Zone Change and POD are processed under 1 application at the same time, there is a financial savings.
Amendments to existing PODs may be processed administratively via a Major or Minor Amendment process if they do not change or alter the Board of Supervisors’ approved development standard or stipulation of approval. The main difference between a major and minor proposal is in scope of work proposed and required fees.
Yes. POD approvals are valid for 2 years, with a possible extension of 1 additional year. The POD approval will essentially “vest” with issuance of a building or construction permit.
No, however it is recommended. Pre-Application meetings are attended by representatives from Planning, Drainage review, Zoning review, Transportation, Environmental Services, and Flood Control. If the POD is submitted in conjunction with a request for a Zone Change, a pre-application meeting is required.
To learn the history, review our Permit Research options to see if there are any violations, expired and current permits, etc. on the property. If there is an available history of the property, there may be a zoning case, SUP, LU, etc. on the property. For more information, you may also view the PlanNet page
If you need to request any documentation that may assist you as new buyers, visit our public records page.
Our online database is not comprehensive and does not account for all local variations in gradient change which may meet the hillside definition: slope of 15% or greater within any 5 foot elevation change (See MCZO Section 1201). For an accurate picture of a particular lot, please consult with a registered land surveyor. You may view our online planning tool, PlanNet.
Building permits are required for all structures with the exception of a structure that is less than 200 square feet with no electrical, plumbing or mechanical. After speaking with your neighbor, if you feel a violation of the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance exists, you may submit an online code compliance violation complaint.
Maricopa County Planning and Development has no records of easements on individual lots that are not part of a recorded subdivision; a surveyor, real estate attorney, or a “schedule B” from a title company may be able to assist you with the location of easements. Recorded subdivisions may have easement information listed as part of the recorded plat. You may also research the county recorder office.
If you believe there has been a violation on a neighboring property, please contact the Code Compliance Team to report the issue. For an overview of the Code Compliance process, and the option of submitting a complaint online, view the reporting a complaint page.
All fencing over 1 foot in height requires a permit from the Planning and Development Departments. Fencing is classified as a “B-fence” requiring building and zoning clearances if it is located on a vacant property; serves as a pool barrier; is over 8 feet in height; is located on a hillside property; or retains soils (retaining wall). All other fencing would be classified as “D-fencing” and requires a drainage clearance. For more information, visit our Residential Construction page.
Fencing or structures should not cross an ingress/egress easement. The Planning and Development Department does not prohibit fencing or structures located in an ingress/egress easement, but relies on the customer to provide accurate information on the documents submitted for a permit.The Planning and Development Department is not involved with ingress/egress easement conflict as this is a civil concern and must be resolved as such. If you believe there has been a violation on a neighboring property, please contact the Code Compliance Team to report the issue. For an overview of the Code Compliance process, and the option of submitting a complaint online, view the reporting a complaint page.
Please read more about how to split (or combine) parcels of land on our informational Splitting Property page.
Learn more about the companies that provide service on our utility services page.
At the time a building permit is being obtained, construction power must be requested. If construction surpasses the rough topout state, construction power will not be issued. Temporary construction power may be secured for a residence at the time of permit application for the residence by mentioning to the building safety counter person that temporary construction power is needed.Once the building permit for the residence is issued, should the applicant need construction power, a “field change” may be issued by the building inspector. In either case, the applicant will receive instructions on setting up a temporary construction service and will be given the appropriate forms to fill out and sign. Temporary construction power for a business is left up to the discretion of the building inspector, since he/she will be more familiar with the project.
Certain uses are not allowed on a property but may be necessary or desirable for a limited period of time and these uses can be carefully regulated through the issuance of a Temporary Use Permit.
The uses are determined by the Zoning Inspector; typical uses include:- Temporary Housing- Caretaker’s Quarters- Temporary Events- Temporary Seasonal Sales- Underage Occupancy- Off-Site Construction Yard- Temporary Model Home Sales Complex
Yes, for up to 2 years if the owner is constructing or reconstructing a permanent residence on the site and the building permit for the permanent residence remains active.
The Ordinance also has allowance for emergency housing. An example of emergency housing is temporary shelter for persons displaced by fire, flood, etc.
Yes, with a statement from their physician. The Temporary Use Permit for the caretaker’s quarters must be renewed annually. The additional residence shall not be permanent in nature and must be removed once the need is no longer valid or necessary.
It depends on the specifics of the event and how large it may be, but generally yes, this permit is needed for a weekend or seasonal event. A Temporary Use Permit may be approved for temporary/special events limited to 30 event days within a 6 month period.
You will be provided an opportunity to present your case to the Board at a hearing.
Staff cannot answer that question since the Board is responsible for the final determination. If you do not agree with the Board’s decision, you have the right to file an appeal with the Maricopa County Superior Court within 30 days of the Board’s decision.
Typically 1 to 2 months if all the information is correct and revisions are not required. There are exceptions for hillside variances, drainage review, interpretations, and complex requests.
A pre-application meeting is highly recommended for variance requests. This allows the property and staff to evaluate the request(s) and to provide information on the variance application process.
For more information on the individuals or boards to contact, Planning and Development has made available a Pre-Application Meeting Packet (PDF).
Yes, based upon the following: Residential with violation $150, Residential without violation $50. The Pre-Application Meeting packet includes the fee schedule and the application materials required for submittal.
Deviations to the Zoning Ordinance with regard to applicable zoning standards (i.e. yard setbacks, lot coverage, lot area or width, etc.), hillside and drainage regulations, interpretations of the meaning of a word or phrase in the zoning ordinance, code compliance reviews, appeal of determinations and some temporary use permit requests.
A structure must be compliant with the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance, applicable building codes and all regulations before an approved building permit will be issued. All required inspections must be obtained before the structure receives a final inspection and/or a certificate of occupancy.
As the property owner, you are responsible for the zoning compliance of all structures on your property, whether you or a previous owner built it.
Yes, but the violation will be placed in administration remedy until the variance request has been heard by the Board.