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.
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.
Preliminary Sewer/Water tap Application
Conditional Use/Special Use
Short Term Rental Special Use Permit
Residential Building Permit Application
COMMERCIAL PERMIT APP
Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing-Irrigation-Fuel Permit Application
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.
- Replacing kitchen/bathroom cabinets (like for like) does not require a permit.