What are permits and why do I need one?
(Frequently Asked Questions Below)
Permits are the way that the City of Alpine ensures all construction or improvement projects meet the applicable rules and regulations . The process certifies all construction in the city is properly complete for the safety of building occupants. City of Alpine Ordinance- Building Permits
In addition to Alpine codes, there are federal, state, and local laws governing construction. Based on the type of construction, there are several categories of permits. Most home improvement projects require a combination of permits.
Conditional Uses or Special Uses
Certain building uses are not permitted without Planning and Zoning and City Council approval.
Some of the most common Conditional Uses are:
Alcohol beverage sales/service, restaurants with outside dining or drive through, outside storage, automotive repair, outside sales, retail sales of secondhand goods, outdoor speakers, call centers, wineries/wine tasting.
If the property has not previously received a Conditional Use Permit, and you are anticipating one of these uses, please be aware that the Conditional Use process requires extensive plans and must go through the public hearing process (this process is typically 45 days or longer).
If you are contemplating one of these uses, or if you are planning to use the building in any manner in which it was not previously used (i.e. – warehouse to retail) please contact the Building Services Department.
Homeowners considering a remodel for their home, or adding other improvements such as decks, roofs, a garage, or retaining walls, often have questions about building permits.
Home Improvement and Renovations that Always Require a Permit:
- Fence installation and repair • Window and siding installation • Installing a shed (larger than 80 sq. ft and/or higher than 6 ft.) • Plumbing work maintenance projects (like installing a new water heater) • Electrical work • Structural changes • Many HVAC • Additions and remodeling projects (even including large/pre-fab sheds and garages)
This information is designed to help homeowners know when construction permits, and other approvals are required by the City of Alpine.Permit Applications may be found below. Please send the completed form by email to email@example.com. Alternatively, you may drop off completed forms in person at:
- Single Family
- Mechanical (HVAC)
- Roof (Minor exterior work only to include roof overlay or re-roof)
- Sewer repair/new
- Window Replacement (only)
- Temporary Use
- Special Events
- Underground and Above Ground Fuel Tanks
- Commercial/Multi-family Building
- Fire Protection Systems Construction Application
- Fire Alarm
- Fire Sprinkler
- Land Use
- Low Voltage Electrical - Commercial
- Plumbing/Electrical/Mechanical Plan Review
- Single Family Building Addition or Remodel
Once submitted, your application has not yet been approved. Please wait for us to contact you to process and collect fee, if applicable.
How long is the wait?
The amount of time varies based on the complexity or the work. Generally, you can expect residential building permits to take up to ten business days: commercial building permits may take up to thirty business days. These estimates do not include the time required by the applicant to make corrections requested by the building official.
Most Electrical, Plumbing, Irrigation, heating and Air Conditioning Permits will be available over-the counter from the Building Services Department.
What is my first step?
Obtaining the actual permit is not the first step in the process. First, thoroughly define the project.
What do I need before I make any additions/renovations to my home or property?
Contact Building Services before any changes are started for information on possible permits and other important information on ordinances.
How much does a permit cost?
Because the scope of a construction project can vary widely, so do permit costs. Please refer to our permit fee schedules.
How do I Obtain a Building Permit?
An application, which is available from the building services department, must be submitted along with construction plans, survey or plot plan and other documents, depending on the scope of your project. Plans must be drawn to scale, dimension and of sufficient clarity to be read easily. All utility easements, building lines, and drainage easements must be shown.
When do I need a construction permit?
All new construction and interior remodels require a construction permit. Replacing, adding or extending a deck, roof or fence also requires a permit. Repairing fixtures in the same location most likely will not need a permit. If, however, you are making additions or changes to an existing system, such as plumbing or wiring, you need a plumbing, electrical, or mechanical permit. Moving and/or adding an electrical outlet is an example that requires an electrical permit. When constructing a remodel, a Hazardous Materials Survey is typically required. Information regarding a Hazardous Materials Survey is located here. https://pscleanair.gov/185/Asbestos
Who should obtain the permit?
It is the responsibility of the property owner to obtain all proper permits. Contractors licensed by the State of Texas, or an agent, can obtain the permits on your behalf.
Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?
As the property owner, you can do the work yourself, and follow the same codes and regulations a contractor would. The state does require that you reside in the home you are working on (Homestead). A contractor is required if you plan to rent, sell, create an accessory dwelling unit or turn the residence into another use.
Who draws up the plans?
Plans for projects such as room additions can usually be drawn up by qualified individuals such as a draftsman or by the homeowner. Other projects may require plans prepared and signed by an architect or engineer licensed by the State of Texas.
What about inspections?
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that inspections are requested and obtained at specific times during construction. You may have your contractor make the call, but it is still the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the inspections are made. Depending on the work that is being performed, inspections are made during certain points in the project. Inspections of foundation footings, for example, need to be made after forms are set and steel is placed, but before pouring the concrete.
Am I required to have an inspection?
Yes. All permits require inspections. The project is not legally complete until it passes the final inspection.
What if I have a permit but never called for an inspection?
For the project to be complete, it must pass final inspection. If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of City codes. Generally, permits expire after 180 days if no inspections have been made. If you would like to reactivate your permit, please submit in writing to a permit specialist or email a request for extension, supplying a valid reason for failure to schedule an inspection. Once the permit has been reactivated, or a new one has been issued, a final inspection can be requested.
What about mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits?
A licensed and bonded plumber must complete the work. Permitted work must comply with all city codes and inspections are required. Plumbing permit examples: addition, installation, or replacement of water heaters and shower pans. Installation of new electrical outlets, moving electrical outlets or switches, adding or replacing circuits, adding or replacing phase services, installing a temporary power pole, or adding new "hard wired" electrical appliances or fixtures.
“I’m just removing/remodeling a wall. Do I need a permit”?
If you are taking down a wall to change a room size or its use, you need a permit. If the wall has a plug and a light switch, you need an electrical permit as well. If you plan to install insulation or drywall in a large area, or put in replacement windows/siding, you need a permit. Any change of use, such as remodeling a garage into a living space, calls for a permit. Removing sheetrock and/or exposing studs in a wall DOES require a permit.
What is the Extent of an ETJ?
The extent of an ETJ is dependent on the population size of the municipality (The City of Alpine has a one (1) mile radius for the ETJ). A municipality’s population only incorporates those within the City Limits and does not include the residents within the, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). It refers to cities, having the legal capability of a municipality to exercise authority beyond the boundaries of its incorporated area. In the US, Texas is one of the states that by law allow cities to claim ETJ to contiguous land beyond their city limits.
Each municipality is afforded an ETJ by the Texas Local Government Code as a method of defining potential growth and future service boundaries.
The city may abate any public nuisance in the ETJ if it is a danger to the public health. Such nuisances typically consist of dumping, noxious odors, and junk vehicles.
“What if I don't get a permit?”
Failure to obtain a permit before construction begins is a violation of the City’s codes and regulations. This could subject you to fines and penalties.
Finish work/small cosmetic jobs DO NOT require a permit:
- Wallpapering, painting, carpet or similar.
- Platforms and walks less than 30 inches high above grade (not over a basement)
- One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses (provided the floor area does not exceed 80 square feet and no side wall exceeds six feet in height)
- Repair of fixtures, such as changing water faucets or replacing switches (up to five), does not normally require a permit.
Provide the appropriate seals.
Signatures are not required on Preliminary Plats.
Replacing kitchen/bathroom cabinets (like for like) does not require a permit.
DO YOU NEED A PLAT?
All property located in the City of Alpine and/or within its Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (EJT) must be plated in conformance with the current zoning of the property prior to the issuance of any building permits for said property.
The Platting Process for the City of Alpine was established to subdivide, plat, or re-plat land and to prepare infrastructure for development in a comprehensively planned manner. A plat is a legal document by which land is subdivided or combined. It establishes a legal building site and is generally required before a building permit or certificate of occupancy can be issued.
IS A CONCEPT PLAN REQUIRED WITH YOUR PLAT?
Submission and approval of a Concept Plan shall be required in connection with any application for platting of land with the following zoning: R-3, R-4MHP, M1, C-O, C-1, C-1a, C-2, C-2a. Concept Plans are to be submitted to, and reviewed by, the Building Services Department.
WHAT TYPE OF PLAT DO YOU NEED?
TYPES OF PLATS
- Preliminary Plat is required when a tract of land is being subdivided into five (5) or more lots. This type of plat shows the street layout, lots, drainage and utility easements and other needed information to ensure that the subdivision design conforms to the requirements of the City of Alpine’s Code of Ordinances. A preliminary plat requires the approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.
- Final Plat is required when a tract of land has never been platted and is generally the next step in the development process after approval of a preliminary plat. The final plat must be in substantial compliance with the approved preliminary plat and may constitute all or a portion of the preliminary plat. A final plat cannot be submitted for approval until engineering construction plans have been approved by the City of Alpine’s Building Services Department. A final plat requires the approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.
- Replat is required when the property has already been platted and changes are requested including, but not limited to the creation of new lot lines, removal of platted building lines or the removal of dedicated easements. A replat requires the approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.
- Minor Plat is required when a tract of land is being subdivided into four (4) or fewer lots. All lots must front onto an existing street and no public improvements or extension of municipal facilities are required. A minor plat is approved administratively by Staff.
- Minor Replat is required when the property has already been platted and the request is to replat into four (4) or fewer lots where all lots front onto an existing street and no public improvements or extension of municipal facilities are required. A minor replat is approved administratively by Staff.
- Amending Plat is required when a property has already been platted and changes are requested including, but not limited to the relocation of lot lines, the combining of lots or the correction of an error. An amending plat is approved administratively by Staff.
A Preliminary Plat is required in addition to a Final Plat or Replat if any of the following apply:
- The subdivision contains two (2) or more lots.
- The total acreage of the subdivision is greater than five (5) acres.
- City owned utility extensions are required.
- The subdivision requires street improvements.
Approval of the Preliminary Plat expires at the expiration of twelve (12) months unless a Final Plat or Replat has been submitted for approval.
A Final Plat is required if the following applies:
- The property has never been platted.
A Replat is required if the following applies:
- Any portion of the property being platted has previously been Final Platted.
The Owner/Applicant should consult with the Building Services Department prior to applying for a Replat.
An AMENDED FINAL PLAT shall be approved if one or more of the following apply (Staff must approve prior to application):
- The Plat corrects an error in any course or distance shown on the prior Plat.
- The Plat adds any course or distance omitted on the prior Plat.
- The Plat corrects an error in the description of the real property shown on the prior Plat.
- The Plat corrects any type of scrivener or clerical error or omission; such errors and omissions may include, but are not limited to: lot numbers, acreage, street names, and identification of adjacent recorded Plats.
- The Plat is to relocate a lot line in order to cure an inadvertent encroachment of a building or improvement on a lot line or on an easement.
- The Plat is to relocate one or more lot lines between one or more adjacent lots, where the owner or owners of all such lots join in the application for the Amended Final Plat, providing that such Amended Final Plat does not:
- Attempt to remove recorded covenants or restrictions; or
- Increase the number of lots.
- The Plat is to make necessary changes to the prior Plat to create six (6) or fewer lots in the subdivision covered by the prior Plat if:
- The changes do not affect applicable zoning and other regulations of the City;
- The changes to not attempt to amend or remove any covenants or restrictions; and
- The area covered by the changes is located in an area that the City Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council have approved, after a public hearing, as a residential improvement area.
PLEASE CHECK WITH THE CITY OF ALPINE'S BUILDING SERVICES DEPARTMENT TO CONFIRM WHAT TYPE OF PLAT IS REQUIRED.
WHO PREPARES THE PLAT?
The Plat must be prepared by a Registered Public Land Surveyor (RPLS) licensed to practice surveying in the State of Texas. It is advisable that the RPLS preparing the Plat arrange to meet with the Building Services Department to discuss the Plat prior to preparation of the Plat document. This can save an unnecessary loss of time and effort.