Site Plan Checklist

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The following list is intended generally for homes and smaller buildings. Additional City regulations may apply for larger building sites.


  • Verify that building is shown correctly on site plan. Check against building plans.
  • Check for proper setbacks measured from building lines (including overhangs) to property lines.
  • Garage door should be at least 22 feet from nearest street improvement unless an automatic garage door opener or carport is installed. Garage setbacks will be governed by the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Check building type, size and location against Zoning Ordinance or approved maps, plans and conditions of approval.
  • Check that building and site improvements do not interfere with existing easements. Are all easements shown on site plan?
  • Check that building does not exceed height limitation (Planning).
  • Check for required parking spaces (covered and uncovered).
  • Finished floor grades to be shown for garage and all levels of lower floor.
  • Check highest allowable outside grades at foundation line (ground to siding).
  • Check for proper grades at entries, steps, porches, and across entry walks. (Will walkways trip water against foundation?)
  • Scale lot line dimensions.
  • Check that building foundations/overhangs do not encroach into easements or property lines.


  • Show grades along both sides of driveways.
  • Check driveway drainage. Minimum 2 percent from AC and 0.5 percent for PCC.
  • Maximum grade for AC is 20 percent and 25 percent for PCC.
  • Check need for swales. Flowline grades shown in swales.
  • Minimum structural section is 2-inch AC over 6-inch Class 2 AB or 4-inch PCC.
  • Check PCC driveway design for adequate weakened plane joints. Joints required at center of driveway, and at grade breaks. Joints should create slabs approximately 8 feet to 10 feet square.
  • Check for correct grades within 8 feet of the driveway approach.
  • Check for correct grades within 8 feet of the garage door.
  • Maximum grade break is 5 percent.
  • Minimum length between grade breaks is 8 feet.
  • Vertical curves with proper lengths are required for grade changes in excess of 5 percent as per the Development Standards Ordinance.
  • Driveway profiles as required. (See City Std., Dwg. A104)
  • Driveway approach to be shown correctly, and the design to be called for correctly on plan.
  • Check if paved driveway is required for existing house.


  • Check for minimum 1 percent surface drainage from highest grade at building foundation to street or drainage facility.
  • Structure to have proper setback from tops or toes of banks as per the Grading Ordinance. (5 feet minimum or one-half the vertical bank height of banks between 10 feet and 20 feet high, whichever is greater. The maximum setback required is 10 feet.)
  • Clearance from driveway to top of bank = 2 feet minimum.
  • Clearance from driveway to toe of bank = 1 feet minimum.
  • Clearance from on-site walks to tops or toes of banks should be at least 1 feet.
  • Check for adequate retaining walls considering expected design life of wood walls.
  • Concrete walls or concrete block walls required when supporting structures, streets, driveways, utilities, etc., and where replacing wood walls in the future would be difficult.
  • Check against any previously approved grading plan.
  • Check graded banks and retaining walls for height/slope requirements.
  • Grading in excess of 200 CY requires bond as per City Code Section 6-15.
  • Erosion, sedimentation and pollution control shall be provided in accordance with ABAG's Best Management Practices (BMP), current edition.


  • Check need for sidewalk underdrains.
  • Check soils report for requirement to dispose of storm water with underground drainage.
  • Require underground disposal of storm water for houses on steep slopes and for all developments more intense than single-family residential.
  • All rain water leaders to be shown where underground disposal of storm water is necessary.
  • Six-inch-diameter PVC may be required after the flow from two or more rain water leaders is collected, unless hydraulic calculations prove otherwise.
  • Flexible pipe is not allowed.
  • Minimum pipe slope is 1 percent.
  • Subsurface foundation drains shall be in a separate system from storm drainage facilities.
  • Provide drop inlets or cleanouts for maintenance of storm drain pipes at angle points in the pipes.
  • Check the design of yard drains and drop inlets.
  • Check outlet design of storm drain facilities (erosion protection).
  • Check that at least two 2-inch-diameter drain holes are installed in the foundation to drain the lowest subgrade under the building. If outlets are exposed, rodent netting is required.
  • Check that foundation does not trap water.
  • Check that no diversions or concentration of water occurs.


  • Flood elevation certificate by R.C.E. or L.S.
  • Flood venting of exterior walls.
  • Improvements exceeding 50 percent of the value of existing structure shall have the lowest floor elevated above base flood elevation.
  • Any new structure shall have the lowest floor above base flood elevation.

For further information, please contact the City of Novato Department of Community Development at:

922 Machin Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 899-8989