Solar Construction Permits Overview (6)
Construction Permits Overview Process
6.1 to 6.2 – Will the Activity Require Transporting Construction Equipment or Materials on State Roads?
State and local governments require transportation permits for transporting oversized equipment and construction materials on public roads. For specific requirements by state see:
6.3 to 6.4 – Will the Activity Encroach on a State or Local Highway Right of Way?
State and local governments require an encroachment permit for any object placed in, over, or under a local or state highway right-of-way (i.e. towers, poles, pipelines, fences, and other structures), as well as when a private access road or driveway joins a public road.
6.5 to 6.6 – Will the Activity Cause Storm Water To Disturb the Soil?
If the project will cause storm water to disturb the soil, the developer will need a state construction storm water permit.
It is also important to consider the impact of the construction on the floodplain.
The Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration, a component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), manages the National Flood Insurance Program. Nearly 20,000 communities across the United States voluntarily participate in the NFIP by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. Buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP building standards suffer approximately 80% less damage annually than those not built in compliance. The NFIP also identifies and maps the nation's floodplains. Mapping flood hazards creates broad-based awareness of the flood hazards and provides the data needed for floodplain management programs and to actuarially rate new construction for flood insurance. Some state agencies help to develop suggested minimum guidelines that can be adopted by local communities to manage their stormwater and floodplains and to meet the FEMA NFIP requirements (e.g. Colorado Water Conservation Board's Floodplain and Stormwater Criteria Manual). Review of local floodplain management ordinances is typically incorporated into the local building permit process, so no additional permits are required. See Step 9 for more information. Some things to consider when submitting your permit application:
- Is the site in the mapped floodplain?
- Is the site in the mapped floodway?
- Have other state and federal permits been obtained?
- Is the site reasonably safe from flooding?
- Does the site plan show the Base Flood Elevation?
- Will new buildings and utilities be elevated properly?
- Do the plans show an appropriate and safe foundation?
- Has the owner submitted an Elevation Certificate? (the FEMA form can be found in the FEMA Library website by searching for "Elevation Certificate".)
Local ordinances are also developed to ensure that floodplains remain as floodplains. Floodplain fill can alter valuable floodplain functions, including wildlife habitat and wetlands and increasing future flooding risk. Floodway fill is allowed only if an engineering evaluation demonstrates that "no-rise" in flood level will occur.
6.7 to 6.8 – Will This Project Provide Non-Municipal Drinking Water?
If the project will provide non-municipal drinking water, then developer should consult the Drinking Water Flowchart applicable to the state which the project will take place.
6.9 – See Additional State Construction Permits
Developer should reference any other construction permit applicable to the state in which the project will take place.
6.10 to 6.11 - Does the Activity Involve Construction of a Power Plant?
If the project will involve construction of a power plant, then the developer should consult the Power Plant Construction Flowchart applicable to the state in which the project will take place.
6.12 to 6.13 - Has a County Use Permit Been Obtained?
If a county use permit has not been obtained, then the developer should consult the County Use Permit Flowchart applicable to the state in which the project will take place.
6.14 to 6.17 - Will the Project Require Demolishing an Existing Structure, Building a New Structure, Grading Land, Installing Plumbing, or an Exception from Local Zoning Regulations?
Local governments require a demolition permit prior to the removal or demolition of any building, structure, or part thereof. Additionally, Local governments require developers to obtain a building permit for all new constructions or alterations to existing structures. Solar projects, which include earthmoving and grading activities, usually require a grading permit from the local government. Local governments require plumbing permits for underground piping, piping inside of walls, above ceilings, and beneath floors. Finally, a conditional use permit (CUP) allows a local government to consider special uses that may be essential or desirable to the local community through a public hearing process that are not allowed under the local governments zoning regulations. Local governments may also use CUPs to control certain uses which might have negative effects on the community.
6.18 - No Permit Needed; Continue with Project
If no permit is needed, then the developer may continue with the project.
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