How do I know if I need a site plan?

A Site Plan is needed when building a house; setting up a mobile, manufactured or modular home; remodeling an existing structure; adding a garage; building, rebuilding or adding on to a deck; and any other improvement to your property that requires a Building Permit.

A site plan may also be needed when applying for special use and driveway permits.

Where might I find a Site Plan of my property?

There are various locations a copy of a site plan may possibly be found. There is no guarantee a site plan exists. If a site plan cannot be not found, the applicant is responsible for creating their own site plan (see What is a Site Plan and what must it show?) and for the accuracy of the information provided on the site plan.

• The Planning and Community Development Department (PCD) may have a copy of a site plan for your property in the EDARP internet system. If a site plan was required for a project after the year 2006, it may be possible one may be found in EDARP. When searching in EDARP for a site plan, it is best to use the El Paso County Assessor ten-digit schedule tax number (also known as a parcel number). The general public have access to EDARP and can be used without creating an account.
NOTE: EDARP is the same system we use to search for site plans.

• The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) system may have a copy that may be found by doing a search for permits. For certain project types, a site plan may exist if it had been scanned in when a permit was issued.
NOTE: You will be required to create an account to be able to retrieve a copy.

• When you purchased your home, there may be a document called an Improvement Location Certificates (ILC). The ILC is a type of site plan of your property. For legal reasons we cannot accept the document as written; however, we will accept a modified copy of an ILC where all seals, signatures, and the words “improvement location certificate” are removed.

• You may create a site plan by pulling together information from various sources. The El Paso County Assessor website Property Search function is a good source. After finding a property, then by clicking the link “My Community”, the system will bring up a full view of the property. The satellite view shows a picture view of the property. There is a measurement function where approximate measurements can be found. The GIS parcel property lines shown are approximate and may be shifted from the actual property lines.

• For subdivision plat information, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorders Office should have copies. Newer plats may be found in EDARP. A plat will show the dimensions of subdivision lots and many time special easements and setbacks will be noted.

What is a Site Plan and what must it show?

At this time site plans do not have to be drawn to scale but they do have to be a full, accurate, and legible representation of the parcel showing the property address; parcel/schedule number¹; property lines; property line distance measurements¹ ²; significant easements² and setbacks³; any existing structures; driveway access locations; adjacent street/roads; proposed structure with the shortest distance measurement from at least two property lines; the proposed structure footprint dimensions or square footage including structure height³.

A Site Plan is a drawing of a lot or parcel showing, at a minimum, the property address, the schedule/tax number, all existing structures, easements, rights-of-way, setbacks from the property lines to the existing structures (if any), the location of the lot in relation to abutting streets, driveway/access location(s), and dimensions of the proposed structure and of existing structures, including height; retaining walls .

If your property is a platted lot in unincorporated El Paso County, the lot dimensions on the Site Plan should match the dimensions on the subdivision plat and show any additional requirements written in the plat notes (e.g., a setback that is more than required by the County Land Development Code). Plat copies are available to view, and copies may be purchased, at the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Dimensions of unplatted lots may be found in a Survey Plat, the Legal Description of your property, or at the El Paso County Assessor’s Office. A Survey Plat may be required in some cases. Professional surveyors can be found in the yellow pages of your local telephone directory.

see Land Development Code: table 5-1 Principal Uses, table 5-2 Accessory Uses, table 5-4 Density and Dimensional Standards
see EDARP for plat and PUD zoning district documents
see El Paso County Clerk and Recorder for plat and PUD zoning district documents

¹ Site plan for construction of a principle structure, such as a house.
² Plat or deed may specify property line distance measurements as well as no-build, drainage, utility, access and special easements.
see EDARP or the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder for plat documents
³ General and Special Zoning districts set the dimensional and use standards.
see Land Development Code: table 5-1 Principal Uses, table 5-2 Accessory Uses, table 5-4 Density and Dimensional Standards
see EDARP or the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder for PUD zoning district documents

May I prepare a Site Plan myself?

You may prepare a Site Plan yourself. The El Paso County Land Development Code (LDC) requires the Site Plan to be prepared in a manner consistent with regulations.

What is a setback? How may I find out what mine are?

A setback is the minimum distance from the front, side and rear property line to any existing or proposed structure. Setback distances required may vary by Zone District and type of structure.

View Setbacks for each Zone District: Land Development Code, Table 5-4. Density and Dimensional Standards for Agricultural, Residential and Special Purpose Districts

To find which zone you are in: El Paso County Assessor Property Search.

What is an Easement?

An Easement is an area which is reserved for a special purpose; e.g., public utilities and drainage easements.

You own the property, but it is set aside for use as needed by the easement holder (by recorded plat, etc.) to use it. You are not allowed to build a structure in an easement.

Easements are usually shown or specified in the notes on each individual subdivision plat.

How do I determine building height?

Maximum building height: The vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the finished grade adjoining the building to a point on the roof: for a flat roof the highest point of the roof surface; for a mansard roof to the deck line of mansard roofs; for gable, hip and gambrel roofs the mean height level between eaves and ridges.

Height limits are not applicable to architectural features. The maximum height limitations of this Code do not apply to church spires, belfries, cupolas, chimneys and other similar design or architectural features or other appurtenances that are usually installed above roof level.

The maximum height of structures is listed in the Land Development Code book (Table 5-4 and 5-5).

Must my deck meet setback requirements?

Attached decks over 18 inches in height from finished grade to finished floor shall meet the same setbacks as the principal structure.

Detached decks over 18 inches in height from finished grade to finished floor shall meet the principal structure setbacks unless separate accessory structure setbacks are set zoning district. A detached deck is not connected to the principal structure, or located within 9 inches of the principal structure.

Decks, slabs, or patios, whether attached or detached 18 inches or less in height from finished grade to finished floor are not considered structures.

I want to put up a fence: what are the height requirements?

Fences may be up to seven (7) feet in height. Any fence over seven (7) feet is considered a structure and need a building permit. The structure must meet Pikes Peak Regional Building Department construction requirements and El Paso County accessory structure requirements.

*NOTE: If you live on a corner lot, fences must be shorter if there is a corner easement for sight visibility for the road.

You may put a fence on your property line, even though property lines are frequently the middle of an easement (most easements have the same amount of property set aside on each side of a lot line). If easement is needed by the easement holder, the dedicated easement holder may remove or move your fence and is not required to put it back.

What is required to build a retaining wall?

Building code requires walls greater than four (4) feet in height and must.retaining walls be engineered and a permit obtained

A retaining wall four (4) feet in height or greater needs Planning & Community Development Department and Pikes Peak Regional Building approval, and must meet the accessory building setbacks. If there is no special accessory building setback, then the regular setback requirements apply.

Any wall that retains surcharge (pressure) requires engineering and permits, no matter what the height.

A retaining wall less than four (4) feet in height needs no approvals, unless it retains surcharge