Building Division Department Home

Permits & Applications

Building permits are required before you build, alter, repair or demolish any structure. This includes re-roofing projects, water heater and window replacements and other similar projects. Separate permits are required for electrical work, plumbing work, mechanical work, and pest control repairs.

If you know which permit you need, please click on the menu below. If you are not sure what you need, look at the list on your left to see if any of this information may help you with the process of getting a permit. The following documents are in the pdf format, please download Acrobat Reader if you are unable to view the documents. Adobe Acrobat Reader Download


Permit Application Information


For more information regarding Permit Services, you may contact the Community Development Department at 707.778.4301, email Permit Services at, request a permitting meeting (see below) or request information in person at:

Community Development Department,
11 English Street
Petaluma, CA


The Community Development Department's public counter hours are:

Planning's hours are 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm Monday through Thursday, closed between 12:00pm -1:00pm

Building's hours are 8:00am--4:00pm Monday through Thursday.

Closed on Fridays and observed City Holidays.


To view hidden information below, click on any of the headings to open the panel.

What Permits Do I Need?

The following is a partial list of projects that DO NOT require a permit. All work, regardless of whether or not a permit is required, shall comply with the State and Uniform Codes, City Municipal Codes and City Ordinances. Please check with other City of Petaluma Departments for their requirements. Departments may require approval and/or permits for work not mandated to have a permit by the Building Division.

  • Concrete Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Floor Covering
  • Clean Up Interior
  • Wall or floor tile
  • Concrete Patio
  • painting/wallpaper
  • carpet
  • French drains
  • door replacement
  • very minor sheetrock repair, such as small hole repair
  • play house/tree house
  • cabinet faces
  • Detached storage building having a floor area less than 120 square feet, no electrical, mechanical or plumbing installed, and no finish on interior walls such as wallboard or pegboard - these buildings will still need to meet zoning setbacks
  • Replacement of windows where size of opening remains the same (windows and doors for properties within the historic districts require planning approval)
  • Plumbing fixtures where plumbing is not changed
  • Plug cord connected spa/hot tubs
  • Electrical receptacles, lights, switches (replacement)

This is a comprehensive (but NOT complete) list of items or projects that DO NOT require permits. Other items not listed may or may not require a permit. Any project which is submitted to this office for review and approval could require the applicant to apply for one or more of the above mentioned permits.

A comprehensive (but not complete) list of items or projects that DO require permits is available for download in the .pdf format.

We hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to contact the Building Division regarding the need for a permit. We will answer specific questions about your project. We can be reached at (707) 778-4301 between the hours of 8am - 5pm Monday through Thursday. Walk-in counter hours are 8am - 4pm Monday through Thursday.

Permit History

The city has made an attempt to retain any and all building records for each property within the city limits. Any permit records prior to 2002 are located in various sites and the retrieval process can take from 2–4 weeks. The records may include building permits, calculations, plot plans, and occasionally soils reports and construction plans.


Simple permit searches (for permits from 2002 to present) can be done with our new online tool and without registering or logging in.


If, however, you would like more information such as property, zoning, plot plans,or building permits prior to 2002, you will need to fill out and submit an online Retention Request Form or come in to the counter to start the process.


Either complete the online form or download a copy of the Retention Request Form (87 Kb pdf) and choose the following:

  • Bring or mail it to our office:
    City of Petaluma Building Department
    11 English St.
    Petaluma, CA 94952


Once the research has been completed you will be notified. You then have the option of viewing the records here in our office or copies can be made for a fee. Copies of any documents or plans with a professional’s signature require written authorization from said professional before duplicates can be made (see policy below). Once written authorization is received copies will be made, fees will vary depending on media type that copies will be made from.

Policy For Signed Drawings:

Section 19851 of the Health & Safety Code of the State of California requires that building departments not release plans or documents prepared by a licensed, registered or certified professional, unless one of the following conditions exists:

  1. The written authorization from the original certified professional, or his/her successor AND from:
    • the original or current owner of the building
    • if the building is part of a common interest development, from the Board of Directors or other governing body of the association established to manage the common interest development.
  2. The records are subpoenaed for use in civil court cases.

Permitting Meetings
  • Pre-submittal meeting for new Projects
  • Pre-submittal meeting for addition, remodel and tenant improvement
  • Plan review meeting
  • Pre-construction meeting (Consultant)
Pre-submittal Meeting for New Projects

A preliminary meeting can be held prior to submittal to discuss the scope and nature of the proposed project and how best to proceed.

Pre-submittal Meeting for Addition, Remodel, and Tenant Improvement

The applicant, including the owner or tenant or their representative, and the designer-of-record can meet with the department staff before submitting the plans to determine if the project is conceptually appropriate for a submittal to the City, and to identify any potential problems, questions or concerns including submittal process.

Plan Review Meeting

In order to insure orderly and expeditious plan review process, after completion of first plan review, designer may request a meeting to go over plan check comments.

Permit Review Process

The extent of the review required to issue permits for a project depends upon the use or occupancy type of the structure, as well as its location and the impact of its construction on the environment.

The attached flow chart illustrates how the general review process works.

Please review the following checklists for accepting permit applications:

In order to expedite the review process please review the Plan Review General Information document (164 KB pdf).

Permit Plan Check Fees

Please see the following list for plan check submittal fees. This fee is due at the time of building permit submittal. Building permit applications will not be accepted without submittal of this fee.

Plan Check Fees 658 KB

The plan check fees are based upon the project’s construction valuation. The valuation shall be the total value of all construction work for which the permit is issued. This includes all finish work, painting, roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, elevators, fire-extinguishing systems and any other permanent equipment. See Building Valuation Table (pdf) for list of prices per square foot in order to help determine construction valuation.

To estimate the total for Building Permit fees, please see the attached worksheet.

Worksheet 18 KB

In order to determine the plan check fee for a specific project, look up the construction valuation on the left and the plan check fee for that valuation appears to the right.

Plan Check Turn-Around Time

The first review plan check takes approximately 15 working days for residential additions, remodels, new single family homes, grading permits, signs, retaining walls, trellis, pools, patio covers and minor tenant improvements. If a second plan check is required due to non-approvable plans, the second plan check is approximately 10 working days.

The first review plan check for all subdivisions, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, major tenant improvements, multi-family homes and all others takes approximately 20 working days. If a second plan check is required due to non-approvable plans, the second plan check is approximately 10 working days.

Permit Services will notify you when the plan check reviews are complete and when the application is approved and ready to use. Response time may vary according to the number of projects currently on file. For more information call 707.778.4301.






Contact Information

11 English St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 707.778.4301
fax: 707.778.4498

phone: 707.778.4301

Hours: 8am - 4pm
Monday through Thursday – Closed every Friday

phone: 707.778.4470

Hours: 8am - 5pm
Mondays through Thursdays, Closed Fridays

Contact a Planner

Planning Commission Meetings