Building Permit Application Terms

“building height”:

The vertical distance of a building measured from the lowest grade adjacent to the building to the highest point of the roof, fascia, or parapet. *** Please note: There are two different definitions that are codified by the City, one taken from the International Residential Code and one from the City’s Zoning Code. Since the City’s Zoning Code definition is the most restrictive, it is the definition that will be enforced.

“building official”:

The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code. In order to hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official relative to the application and interpretation of this code, there shall be and is hereby created a Board of Appeals.

“building setbacks”:

The minimum allowable horizontal distance from a given point or line of reference to the vertical wall or other element (exterior post/beam plane) of a principal building or structure as defined in the City’s Zoning Code. The point or line of reference will be the lot line. The building setback distance is regulated in the front, rear and side yards and this distance may not be reduced without an approved “zoning variance” from the City’s Board of Adjustment.

“drop off permits”:

These are building permit applications, which normally will require Design Review Board review and building plan review, and may require Board of Adjustment review. The building permit application process time varies between 2 and 25 business days depending on the type of construction project, refer to Building Permit Questions and Concerns.

“express permits”:

These are building permit applications, which normally will not require Design Review Board review, Board of Adjustment review nor building plan review, allowing the City to issue the building permit over the counter on the same day of application.


The lowest point of elevation of the finished surface of the ground, paving or sidewalk within the area between the building and the property line, or when the property line is more than five feet from the building, between the building and line five feet from the building.

"lot coverage”:

That portion of the lot that is covered by buildings and structures.

"site plan":

For a detailed description, as well as frequent questions regarding a "site plan," please see the "Site Plan" page.

"square footage, net":

The net square footage is determined by subtracting from the total square footage of the parcel that area deemed necessary for street dedication and that area used for private streets and common driveways, if any.

“total valuation”:

Is the total value of all work (including materials and labor) for which a building permit is being issued, such as structural (framing), electrical, gas, mechanical, plumbing, interior finish and normal site preparation work.

“zoning variance”:

Written permission by the Board of Adjustment to differ from the City’s zoning regulations.