Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
Permits are issued by the Building & Safety Division at the Community Development Department which is located at 250 Main Street. On some simple jobs, a permit can be obtained during the first visit. However, in most circumstances, more time will be needed to review the plans in detail prior to issuing any permits.
If you begin construction without the required permit(s), a "Stop Work" will immediately be issued by an Inspector. You will be required to apply for the permit(s) and pay fees (up to double the amount of the original fee). After the permit has been properly issued, you will then be required to uncover any work which has been covered so that it may be inspected prior to the release of the Stop Work. In some cases, regulations or codes may not permit the type of construction that has been done. In this case, you may be required to replace or restore the area to its original condition prior to your construction.
When applying for a permit, the following information is required to complete the permit submittal:
Permits may be issued to:
When a permit is issued, the signature and identity of the applicant must be verified. A California Driver's License, State of California Identification Card, or other positive identification will meet this requirement. Contractors are required to have a current City of Watsonville Business License and current State of California Contractor's License. If employees are to be used, Workers' Compensation Insurance Company and policy number must be supplied.
Permits are issued between 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Most major projects will require permits of some kind (building permits and/or planning permits). This is necessary to ensure that all buildings meet minimum standards which protect its occupants and neighbors in everyday living and in the case of emergencies or natural disasters. Some minor projects are allowed without obtaining building permits. However, depending upon the project, other permits (planning permits, encroachment permits, special activities permits, etc.) may be required. In either case, the construction of such projects should be in conformance with all applicable codes. Some of the projects which do not require a building permit are:
Minor improvements typically not needing a permit:
These examples are only some of the exempted projects which are listed in various code books. Not all exempted projects have been included. Contact the Building & Safety Division for additional information.
Building construction hours are as follows:•Monday through Friday – 7 AM to 7 PM•Saturday – 10 AM to 4 PMWork is not allowed on Sundays and/or any other time without prior approval from the Community Development Director.
Please call our main office at (831) 768-3050 during business hours to report illegal construction activity. You may also file a complaint online 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting our website and filled out the
The public service counter hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The counter is closed during lunchtime from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Over the Counter permit processing is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because construction and demolition materials are a significant and growing part of landfill waste in California, the City of Watsonville and the California Green Business Standards Code require recycling of at least 65% of materials generated at construction and demolition projects. The City has developed the Construction Waste Management Plan in order to help contractors meet the requirement.
For more information, click
You may make an appointment with a Planner by directly contacting a Planner 24 hours in advance or stopping by during drop-in counter hours. Drop-in counter hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday. Over the counter permit processing has been suspended due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Zoning Clearance is the procedure the City uses to determine whether a business meets the zoning requirements for a particular location and to approve the establishment of the business use at that location. The Zoning Clearance is a one-time clearance with a one-time fee to establish a business at a specific location.
The Zoning Clearance process gives the Planning Division an opportunity to verify that a proposed land use is allowed in the applicable zoning district and that the use complies with the development standards of the Zoning Ordinance. When a Zoning Clearance is requested, a staff planner reviews the business description and location and determines if the proposed use is principally permitted, subject to a Use Permit, or prohibited. The planner also reviews the proposed use for consistency with previous permits that may have been issued on the property.
Yes, the planner at the public counter can process a Business License application concurrently with your Zoning Clearance payment.
The City requires any food truck to obtain a Traveling Merchant Permit from the Watsonville Police Department to operate within the city limits. For more information on permit requirements, please read this memorandum on the matter.
Contact the Planning Division to find out what the Assessor Parcel Number is for your property. An Assessor Parcel Number is a unique parcel identification number assigned by Santa Cruz County to each parcel of record.
Fencing is not required in residential zoning districts but may be required in non-residential zoning districts. Review Part 14 (Fence Permits) of Chapter 14-12 (Zoning Permits) for Watsonville Municipal Code standards for fencing, including required setback from property lines, maximum height, and types of material allowed. Pursuant to Section 14-12.1400 and Section 14-32.020, and a Fence Permit is required for all fences constructed within the City of Watsonville in accordance with the design standards in Chapter 14-32 (Fences). A building permit is required for all fences greater than seven feet in height (where allowed).
Allowable home-based businesses are required to file a Home Occupation Permit application and a Business License application. A home occupation permit allows for business-related activities deemed to cause minimal impact(s) on neighboring parcels. Review the Chapter 14-12.1100 (Home Occupation Permit) for more information on home occupation permits.
A pre-application review process is recommended prior to the formal application of a development application. For a listing of associated fees, please review the Planning Fee Schedule. The cost of the pre-application is credited toward the formal application for the project.
Individuals may discuss proposals in person with a Planner at the Permit Center. For more information, contact the Planning Division at (831)768-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Plans are available for review at the Community Development Department. Interested individuals are welcome to contact the Planning Division at (831)768-3050 or email@example.com, or stop by to speak to the project planner regarding the proposed project.
You will need a sign permit, in addition to applicable building permits. For more information, please refer to Chapter 8-6 of the Watsonville Municipal Code or contact the Permit Center at (831) 768-3050.
Yes, a banner requires a permit and is only permitted on a temporary basis, limited up to four times a year, not to exceed a total of 30 days in a calendar year. Applications are available here.
Density represents the number of dwelling units per net acre of land. Dwelling units include all residential units having sleeping, eating, cooking, and bathroom facilities, including single-family homes, mobile homes, townhouses, condominiums, duplexes (and other "plexes"), and apartment units. Net land area is calculated by taking gross acreage and subtracting undevelopable lands (e.g., wetlands) and the area in rights-of-way for streets and roads.
Floor area ration (FAR) represents the total gross square footage of a building or structure, but not including any area within the building utilized for off-street parking. FAR is used to place a limit on the overall size of a building in square feet relative to the size of a lot. The total square footage of building area allowed on a lot is determined by multiplying the FAR by the square footage of the lot on which the building is located. This diagram illustrates the same floor area for a one, two and four story building on a lot with a maximum FAR of 1.