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Creek Protection Permit Categories

The extent to which your development or construction will be regulated by this Ordinance depends upon the type of work you are doing and where it is taking place.

The following provides a brief description of the four categories of creekside work requiring a permit:

Creek Protection Permit Categories

  • Category 1: Interior construction and alterations including remodeling.
  • Category 2: Exterior work that does not include earthwork and is located more than 100 feet from the centerline of the Creek.
  • Category 3: Exterior work that is located between 20 feet from the top of the Creek bank and 100 feet from the centerline of the Creek; or Exterior work that includes earthwork involving more than three (3) cubic yards of material, beyond 20 feet from the top of the Creek bank.
  • Category 4: Exterior work conducted from the centerline of the Creek to within 20 feet from the top of the Creek bank.

Creek protection permits may be reclassified to a higher or lower category depending on potential project impacts. Apply for reclassification at the Building & Engineering Services Counter.

Application Documents

Site Plan: For projects that fall in category 2, 3 or 4, a site plan must be submitted with the permit application. The site plan should clearly illustrate the relationship and distance of the project to the creek centerline and top of the creek bank.

Notices: If your project falls into category 3 or 4 you will be required to post public notices within a 300 ft. radius of the project location. A category 4 permit will also require mailing of public notices.

Creek Protection Plan: If your project falls into category 3 or 4 you will be required to submit information for a Creek Protection Plan (see page 3 of the Creek Protection Permit Application) that describes how you will protect the creek, its banks, riparian vegetation, wildlife, surrounding habitat and the creek's natural appearance during and after construction.

CEQA: Category 3 & 4 projects will be reviewed for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Hydrology Report: Category 4 permits require a Hydrology Report (see page 3 of the Creek Protection Permit Application).

Permit Category

Criteria for permit approval includes whether or not the project will:

  • Cause discharge of a substantial amount of pollutants (i.e. dirt, pesticides or oil)
  • Cause substantial modifications to the natural flow of water or capacity
  • Cause substantial erosion or bank instability (as determined by a soils engineer)
  • Substantially adversely affect the riparian corridor, vegetation, or wildlife
  • Substantially degrade the visual quality and natural appearance of the corridor
  • Be consistent with the intent and purposes of the ordinance
  • Endanger public or private property or threaten public health or safety
  • See the Creek Protection Ordinance (.pdf format, 250k)

Some projects may have little or no impact on the creek. In that case, the permit may only require the property owner to read educational materials, provided by the City. Other projects may require that conditions be placed on project design.

Failure to apply for a Creek Protection Permit or failure to comply with permit conditions, could result in a stop work order, restoration of the site, fees, penalties and fines.