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City of Modesto :: Development Center :: Permit Exemptions

Development Permits : Permit Exemptions

Dept/Div. Contact:  Building Safety - (209) 577-5232

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Description:  Most projects require permits before the start of construction. However, work which is cosmetic, (such as painting, replacing floor coverings, trim work, etc.), does not require permits.

Examples:  The following is a list of items that do not require permits:

  1. One-story detached accessory structures less than 120 square feet of floor area.
  2. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall on a dwelling unit, when not projecting more than 54 inches.
  3. Fences less than six (6) feet high. (Setbacks still apply)
  4. Retaining walls less than 4 feet high with no surcharge (height is measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall).
  5. Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
    Note: For driveway aprons and approaches and for repair of public sidewalks, contact the Public Works Department for requirements. The phone number for Public Works is (209) 571-5569.
  6. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches high
  7. Painting, papering & similar finish work.  

For more information, please contact our Building Development Services Division at
(209) 577-5232.

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