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Frequently Asked Questions


Agricultural Exemption FAQS
Q: My property is zoned agricultural. I don't need permits, do I?
A: 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.

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Q: My property is used for agriculture, is it exempt?
A: 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.

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Q: What qualifies my property for an agricultural exemption?
A: It must be a minimum of five (5) contiguous commercial acres (175,000 square feet). More than one parcel is okay 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. The use must qualify to be exempt as per the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance. An Agricultural Exemption Certificate must be issued by the Planning & Development Department.

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Q: Once I have received an exemption certificate, do I need permits in order build?
A: 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 & Development. However, improvements which are not incidental to the exempted use require permits and must meet applicable regulations.

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Q: How do I apply?
A: 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.

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Q: What is an agricultural exemption?
A: 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.

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Commercial FAQS
Q: What is the definition of a church?
A: 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.”

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Q: When/where is a church allowed?
A: Churches are permitted in rural and residential zoning districts as well as the C-1, C-2 and C-3 zoning districts.

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Q: When is a church school allowed?
A: Private schools with a curriculum customarily given in public schools, which applies to most church schools, are permitted in any zoning district where a public school is permitted. This includes any rural or residential zoning district and the C-1, C-2, or C-3 zoning districts.

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Compliance / Special Inspection FAQS
Q: What is a Compliance Inspection?
A: A Compliance Inspection is a development permit issued to enable one inspection on one property. This type of permit is used in five specific instances. A Compliance Inspection does NOT authorize work. Rather, it provides for a property inspection so that an inspector may assist a customer with the next step in the completion of their project.

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Q: When do I need a Compliance Inspection?
A: There are five instances where a compliance inspection is appropriate
  1. Final Inspection: This is used when a permit had been previously ISSUED, but has since EXPIRED. This is a one-time inspection and could be for a Final Building Inspection OR a Final Drainage Inspection. If both are necessary, then two Compliance Inspection permits are required. Result: An inspection is either approved or denied.
  2. Fire Damage: One time inspection where an inspector views property and structures to determine the extent of the fire damage. Result: A field report is prepared.
  3. Group Home: An inspection of an existing residential structure to ensure all requirements are met for occupancy as a group home with more than 5 occupants. A proper site plan, floor plan and Land Use Certificate application must be submitted for review. 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 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.

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Q: Why Do I Need a Compliance Inspection?
A: To have a Maricopa County inspector advise you on the specific actions required in 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.

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Q: How do I obtain a compliance inspection?
A: Complete a building application and contact supplemental form. You may retrieve these forms at our office location or online at under “Building Services.” Be sure to identify the type of Compliance Inspection you need. List any prior permits you may have, if applicable. With the exception of the Group Home, Compliance Inspection permits are issued over the counter. Please allow approximately one-hour to complete the process. The permit fee is $110 per Compliance Inspection. Once you have paid the fee(s), you will receive your issued permit. Be sure to post this permit at the work site and call for the inspection.

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Drainage FAQS
Q: Am I in a floodplain?
A: Check the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Maps or 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.

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Q: Do I need a site inspection?
A: 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 downtown will determine if a site inspection is needed at the time of the plan submittal.

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Q: Do I need an engineer to prepare my plans?
A: Yes, in most instances. Check the Drainage Matrix page.

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Q: How do I get drainage clearance?
A: 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 can we 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, they are reviewed 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 information call (602)506-3301.

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Q: How do I report a violation of the Drainage Regulations?
A: 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.

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Q: How far away from the wash does my house need to be?
A: The location of the structure in proximity to a wash is dependent on the size of the wash, the amount of flow the wash carries, and if any bank stabilization is required. The Engineering Plan Reviewer will determine if a location is acceptable during the plan review. In general, stay away from all major washes. A good rule for proposed structures within twenty feet would be to provide bank protection and set the footers below the bottom elevation of the wash. For larger washes, a civil engineer will need to determine appropriate erosion control. Erosion control may need to meet Arizona State Standard 5-96.

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Q: What needs to be shown on the site plans?
A: Review the section ”Plan Submittal Requirements”.

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Q: When do I call for a final inspection?
A: 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 request an inspection online.

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Q: When do I call for a stem inspection?
A: Prior to pouring the stem walls. 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.

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Group Home FAQs
Q: Are group homes allowed in County Jurisdiction?
A: Yes. Group homes fall into two categories in the MCZO.
  1. Group Homes providing care for no more than ten non-adjudicated patient residents (plus live in caregivers) are allowed in the rural and residential zoning districts. Group homes are subject to conditions including a minimum a separation of 1320 feet and licensure requirements.
  2. Homes providing care for more than ten residents require a Special Use Permit.
The County will not reserve future properties for Group Homes, all applications are based upon a first come, first serve basis. Previous approvals may be revoked if the use is discontinued.

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Q: How do I start a group home for no more than ten residents?
A: Complete and submit a "Land Use application for a group home". It is always a good idea to call the zoning information line before making major commitments to a location. Staff can research the location to make sure the separation minimum is met.

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Q: The Arizona State Health Department requires that forms be signed by the zoning and building officials in order to get my license. How do I get them signed?
A: The Land Use application provided to Planning & Development requires the forms be a part of the submittal. Upon approval, the forms will be signed and returned to you. They then may become a part of your application to the State.

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Q: What if I want to provide care for troubled teens, recovering drug addicts, alcoholics, or just provide day care?
A: These facilities are not a category of Group Home. They may be permitted via a Special Use Permit.

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Q: Is an inspection required?
A: 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 group home, the building code definition of a group home applies. This requires the home to meet commercial group home building safety codes. Group Homes for more than ten persons are subject to an Institutional occupancy classification.

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Home Occupation FAQS
Q: Where/when can a business be operated from a residence?
A: There are two 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 & 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 six 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.

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Q: What determines if the activity occurring is a business?
A: 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.

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Legal Non-Conforming FAQs
Q: What does legal nonconforming mean?
A: 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.

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Q: This building is over 30 years old, is it legal nonconforming?
A: 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.

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Q: What is a legal nonconforming use?
A: 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 on going 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.

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Q: How do you determine if a use is legal non-conforming?
A: Staff researches legal non-conforming 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 non-conforming. 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.

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Q: What do I need to do to establish a legal nonconforming use or circumstance?
A: 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. Select the “Information Packet & Application” on our website.

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Manufactured Housing FAQS
Q: Where can I place a manufactured home?
A: 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, residing and structural additions must conform to the Maricopa County Comprehensive Building Code. Manufactured homes are also permitted in a mobile home park.

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Q: What is the procedure for developing a mobile home park?
A: 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 Ordinance.

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Q: Where can I put my manufactured home?
A: 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.

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Q: How do I contact the State Office that regulates mobile and manufactured homes?
A: Click on the link provided: www.dfbls.az.gov.

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Permit FAQS
Q: Where do I obtain a Building Permit or submit my plans?
A: Building Permits and Plans submittals are to be taken to 501 North 44th Street, Suite 200. For questions regarding Building Permits submittals, call (602) 506-3301. Applications and information regarding the submittal of building permits can be obtained from the Planning and Development website. Status of building permit applications can be obtained online at Citizen Access page. The permit Tracking Number, or “B” number, is the best method of searching for information on a specific permit. Certain permit types may also be submitted online. The permit types are outlined on Online Permit Manager page. On the Citizen Access home page, instead of selecting “Search Applications and Permits”, select “Submit an Application”. An account must be created for this purpose, so click on the “Register” link at the top right of the page to create the account. Once an account has been created, login to begin the application process.

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Q: How does the Online process work?
A: 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. Be sure to check your computer systems to be sure they are compatible with our website and online software. The Notice below is updated as compatibility parameters change.
This Website is compatible with IE 6 to IE 10, Firefox 27 and Chrome 33. Please click the link below to view a possible compatibility solution for IE 11. IE 11 Compatibility View Settings

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Q: What is the Fast Track Program?
A: The Fast Track program offers a more expedient review process for many simple projects. Those projects are ones that have no dominant zoning, environmental, drainage or floodplain concerns and can be processed the same day while customers wait or return to the office later the same day. If a project would have originally been Fast Track eligible, modifications are also accepted with certain restrictions. Please inquire at time of submittal.

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Plan of Development FAQs
Q: What is a Plan of Development (POD)?
A: A Plan of Development (POD) is a site plan which describes how a parcel of land is proposed to be improved. It includes the outlines of all structures and site improvements, such as property lines, setbacks, driveways, landscaping, existing structures, proposed structures, utility connections, and more. Typically, 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.

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Q: What is the difference between a POD and site plan submitted for a building permit?
A: 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.

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Q: When is a POD required?
A: A POD is required for all non-residential zoning districts, two-family and multi-family developments, and all sites with a Unit Plan of Development (UPD), Planned Area Development (PAD), and Planned Development (PD) overlay.

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Q: Do I need a POD if I’m expanding a site that is already developed?
A: Yes. For any existing two-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 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 two to three weeks. For proposals on existing two-family, multi-family, or commercial developments involving internal tenant improvements, additional wall sign, and other non layout changes or minor permits, only building permits will be required.

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Q: What is the POD process and how long is it?
A: 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.

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Q: May I process a POD with my Zone Change request?
A: 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 separate POD request will be charged accordingly. Therefore, if a Zone Change and POD are processed under one application at the same time, there is a financial savings.

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Q: How do I amend an approved POD?
A: Amendments to existing PODs may be processed administratively via a Major or Minor Amendment process if they do not change or alter a Board of Supervisor’s 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.

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Q: Does a POD expire?
A: Yes. POD approvals are valid for two (2) years with a possible one (1) year extension. The POD approval will essentially “vest” with issuance of a building or construction permit.

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Q: Is a pre-application meeting required for a POD?
A: 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.

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Property Research FAQS
Q. Should I buy this property?
A. You can check on the property and check our records (AA, permits plus, building blocks, etc.) to see if there are any violations, expired permits, etc. Check the PlanNet webpage which offers history of property if there is a zoning case, SUP, LU, etc. on the property. Our public records webpage is available if you need to request any documentation that may assist you as new buyers.

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Q. Tell me about the history of this property – or – How do I research the history of this property?
A. Check our record’s (AA, permits plus, building blocks, etc.) to see if there are any violations, expired permits, etc. and current permits on the property. Check the PlanNet webpage which offers history of property if there is a zoning case, SUP, LU, etc. on the property. Our public records webpage is available if you need to request any documentation that may assist you as new buyers.

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Q. How can I tell if my property has hillside on it?
A. The online planning tool, PlanNet, can provide information on known hillside areas. However, this online database is not comprehensive and does not account for local variations in gradient change which may meet the hillside definition: slope of 15% or greater within any 5’ elevation change (See MCZO Section 1201). For an accurate picture of a one particular lot, please consult with a registered land surveyor.

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Q. My neighbor has erected several structures without a permit – what should I do?
A. 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 enforcement violation complaint.

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Q. How do I find out about the easements located on or near my property?
A. Maricopa County Planning and Development has no records of easements on individual lots not part of a recorded subdivision; A surveyor, real estate attorney, or a “schedule B” from a title company may be able to assist with location of easements. Recorded subdivisions may have easement information listed as part of the recorded plat. You may want to check with the county recorder office.

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Q. I want to split my property and need to know how to do this?
A. Splitting a parcel (or combining and splitting multiple parcels) into five or less parcels is considered a minor lot split. Splitting a parcel (or combining and splitting multiple parcels) into more than five parcels is considered a subdivision and must be approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. For a specific determination if a proposed lot split is considered a minor lot split or a subdivision contact the Arizona Department of Real Estate, 2910 N 44th Street, Suite 100 Phoenix, AZ 85018 or at www.re.state.az.us. The Maricopa County Planning & Development Department does not review, approve or regulate minor lot splits. Minor lot splits are considered a civil matter. It’s highly advised to contact a surveyor, title company and/or real estate professional to complete a minor lot split. When creating a minor lot split record new deeds with the new, separate legal descriptions for each lot at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office (111 S. 3rd Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003; 602-506-3535 or www.recorder.maricopa.gov) Request certified copies of the new deeds at the time of filing and take these to the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office (301 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85003; 602-506-3406 or mcassessor.maricopa.gov) to request new tax parcel numbers (APN) for the newly created lots. Please be aware that lots that are split must meet the zoning requirements for the zoning district in which they are located, including minimum lot area and minimum lot width. In addition, any existing buildings or structures on the lots must meet the allowed uses; minimum required building setbacks, maximum lot coverage and related zoning requirements.

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Q. My neighbor’s fence, chickens, horse looking over the fence at me, smell, etc. is bothering me, what are you going to do about it?
A. If you believe there has been a violation on a neighboring property, please contact the Code Enforcement Team to report the issue. They can be reached at: 602-506-3301. There is also the option of submitting a complaint online. This link also provides an overview of the Code Enforcement process.

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Q. Who provides electrical, sewer, water service to my property?
A. Electrical services are provided by either Salt River Project (SRP – www.srpnet.com or 602-236-0777 or 602-236-8888) or Arizona Public Services Co (APS – www.aps.com or 602-371-7171 or 800-253-9405) depending on your location within the County. Contact either APS or SRP with an address or location and they will let you know who services the area. For water and sewer services, contact the Arizona Corporation Commission/Utilities Division-Consumer Services at 602-542-4251, 1-800-222-7000 or go to www.azcc.gov and click on Utilities Division. They can provide information about available water or sewer service companies for a given area but you must supply them with an Address or a legal description of the property. If there are no services, then you should contact Arizona Department of Water Resources (www.azwater.gov) for ground water/well drilling information and Maricopa County Environmental Services (602-506-6666 or www.maricopa.gov/EnvSvc) for information regarding septic system installation and permitting.

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Q. Do I need a permit for a fence or to increase the height of the fence and I want to put up a fence to block my neighbor from using the easement, do I need a permit?
A. All fencing over 1ft in height requires a permit from the Planning and Development Departments. Fencing is classified as 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. Our Residential Construction page has more information.

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Q. My neighbor is blocking my easement, what are you going to do about it/what can I do about it?
A. Fencing or structure 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 does not get 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 Enforcement Team to report the issue. They can be reached at: 602-506-3301. There is also the option of submitting a complaint online. This link also provides an overview of the Code Enforcement process.

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Residential FAQS
Q: What is the definition of an accessory building?
A: Section 202 of the Zoning Ordinance, defines an accessory building as: “A building or manufactured/mobile home which is subordinate to and the use of which is incidental to that of the principal building or use on the same lot."

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Q: What determines if a building is an accessory?
A: The first criteria is that a lot must have a permitted primary use established (usually a dwelling unit). Next, the proposed accessory building must be clearly incidental to the established primary use (e.g. detached garage, home workshop, etc.)

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Q: Where should an accessory building be located on a property?
A: On any lot, an accessory building can be located at any location that the primary building can be located. In addition to the regular location standards, detached accessory buildings are permitted to be constructed/placed at a minimum three foot setback in any location other than the required front yard. Accessory buildings cannot occupy more than 30 percent of the required rear yard or side yard. Finally, if the detached accessory building is a garage entering an alley, it must be a minimum of ten feet from the alley line.

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Q: How do I get electricity during construction of my home/business?
A: 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 instruction 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 will be more familiar with the project.

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Q: What is the procedure to have electricity turned on?
A: 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.

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Temporary Power FAQS
Q: How do I get electricity during construction of my home/business?
A: 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 instruction 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 will be more familiar with the project.

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Q: What is the procedure to have electricity turned on?
A: 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.

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Temporary Use FAQS
Q: Why do I need a Temporary Use Permit?
A: 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.

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Q: What uses typically require a Temporary Use Permit?
A: Temporary Housing, Caretaker’s Quarters, Temporary Events, Temporary Seasonal Sales, Underage Occupancy, Off-Site Construction Yard, Temporary Model Home Sales Complex, and other uses as determined by the Zoning Inspector.

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Q: Can a property have Temporary Housing?
A: Yes, for up to two 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.

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Q: My parents are ill and need my care. Can I place another residence on my property until their condition changes?
A: 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.

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Q: Is a Temporary Use Permit necessary for a weekend or a seasonal event?
A: It depends on the specifics of the event and how large it may be, but generally yes. A Temporary Use Permit may be approved for temporary/special events limited to 30 event days within a six month period.

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Variance FAQS
Q: I own the property, so why can’t I build what I want and where I want it?
A: 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.

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Q: Will the Board of Adjustment consider my request?
A: You will be provided an opportunity to present your case to the Board at a hearing.

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Q: What are my chances of getting approved?
A: Staff is not allowed to answer that question since the Board makes the final determination. If you do not agree with the Board’s decision, you have the right to appeal it by filing an appeal with the Maricopa County Superior Court within thirty (30) days of the Board’s decision.

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Q: I don’t see why I have to do anything about an existing structure, since it was on the property when I purchased the site.
A: 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.

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Q: How long does it take for a case to be heard?
A: Typically 1 to 2 months if all the information is correct and revisions are not necessary. There are exceptions for hillside variances, drainage review, interpretations and complex requests.

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Q: There is a violation on my property. Does it continue while I have applied for a variance?
A: Yes, but the violation will be placed in administration remedy until the variance request has been heard by the Board.

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Q: Do I have to have a pre-application meeting?
A: 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.

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Q: Whom do I contact for the pre-application meeting?
A: A pre-application meeting packet is available on the Planning and Development website.

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Q: Is there a fee for a variance pre-application meeting?
A: 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.

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Q: What types of cases are heard by the Board?
A: 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, code compliance reviews, appeal of determinations and some temporary use permit requests.

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