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Grading Permit Costs in San Diego County


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By Douglas in Temecula, CA on 4/16/2007


Hi Folks,

Has anyone applied for minor grading in San Diego County? I have heard rumors that a grading process costs up to $40K. What am I missing? The county fees are about $500 total (plan review and permit). If I draw the plans myself (CAD), am I missing some special study (endangered baby horn spider thingy) or something else? Please advise.


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By Cheri in Escondido, CA on 4/23/2007


Hi Douglas, 

I'm an owner-builder here in North County, San Diego... Elfin Forest. I've heard the grading permit and grading plan are not that expensive (approx. $1,500.) , BUT the grading can be. You don't need a permit or plan if you are moving less than 200 cu. yds. of dirt. Beware of many engineering firms that can sock you for soils tests and grading plan. I know one very fine, honest, inexpensive, experienced civil engineer who does the whole kit if you need it, not the grading itself: Nick Servin, Carlsbad, 760-931-1792. He used to work for the county so knows all the requirements. He's helping me with my site plan now and I'll be right where you are soon. Nick can no doubt help find reasonably priced reliable grading. 

My project is being held up because the designer got the elevations wrong. I'm building a Calif. ranch with prairie elements. Spent 6 mos. working out the floor plan. On Friday he gave me the elevations and they are CRAFTSMEN. Are you using a designer or architect and are you happy with him/her?

Cheri


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By Robert in Vista, CA on 5/16/2007


Hi Cheri, My name is Rob. I also am building in North San Diego. I just received my approved minor grading and septic design. Some people tell me I need a grading plan, some say that the approved plan is enough. Do you know? Thanks Rob.  P.S. Douglas, My wife and I paid $775 to the county for approval.


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By Cheri in Escondido, CA on 5/17/2007


Hi Rob,

If your construction docs and site plan show you will be moving more than 200 cubic yds. of dirt then the county requires a grading plan. If you have gone through your first plan check and the county did not say that you need a grading plan, why are you worried about it? The county has approved you for minor grading. Do you honestly feel more extensive grading is going to be needed? You don't want to make this a bigger deal than is absolutely necessary. Costs can snowball with a full grading plan which also requires a soils report, which alone costs $1,500-$2,000. It is good though to know what kind of soil you have. A visual inspection by a good surveyor or civil engineer familiar with your area can be sufficient to estimate if soil problems are likely, hence if a soils report is truly needed.

From what I have been told the county doesn't come out and count the amount of dirt moved anyway. I hope you have hired on an hourly basis a contractor consultant who is advising you on permitting process and perhaps also have available a civil engineer on an hourly basis for zoning, grading, surveying issues. This is money well spent. Buying quality advice upfront is cheaper in the long run than making a costly mistake down the line.

Good luck,

Cheri
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By Robert in Vista, CA on 5/18/2007


Thanks Cheri for replying! We do have a hourly contractor,
 which is helping us greatly. We found out that we still
need a grading plan with all the erosion barriers and such,
however we are excited that step one is complete. YEAH!!

Thanks for the tips, we'll let you know how things turn out.

Rob



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By Jan Scott in Fallbrook, CA on 10/8/2016


I need help, my neighbor, behind me on a slope has built a four-ft. retaining wall and adding fill, he lifted the land about three feet, and changed the watershed onto my property. I have filed a complaint with San Diego County Sept 15 and they have yet to come by. What can I do? My property will be flooded come the winter rains. He does not have permits nor a plan and the people doing the work are not licensed contractor.
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