We restrict development in environmentally critical areas (ECAs) and areas around ECAs called buffers. Examples of ECAs include landslide-prone areas, wetlands, land next to rivers and streams (riparian corridors), and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.
A small project waiver allows you to do some ground disturbance for new small structures or additions to existing structures in ECAs and ECA buffers. Our waiver limits ground disturbance to:
These limits on the disturbance area include the excavation area needed for construction as well as the area of the proposed structure, including any eaves and overhangs. You must include any development since October 31, 1992 in the ground disturbance calculation for your proposed project. Once you reach the square footage maximum, you can’t develop in the ECA or buffer through the small project waiver process.
If we approve your small project waiver application, you may still need an ECA review.
You can’t get a small project waiver for:
You must meet these criteria to qualify for a small project waiver:
Note: In landslide-prone areas, we may require a geotechnical report showing it is safe to build on your site.
Fees for most small project waivers are based on our hourly review rate.
You must receive a small project waiver decision from us before you apply for a building permit or master use permit. Your application for a small project waiver needs to be part of a specific project. You need to complete a pre-application site visit before you submit your application. We determine if you qualify during the permit application review.