Jefferson County has two types of land disturbance permits associated with site grading and excavation for new homes and structures, a Notice of Intent (NOI), and a Grading Permit. These permit sets include site, grading, and erosion control plans. In the past, most homes EVstudio worked on were permitted under an NOI, but recently Jefferson County has changed their requirements for an NOI. These permit changes in Jefferson County will likely cause more homes to need to be permitted as a Grading Permit instead.
What are the changes?
Under the old requirements, a project could be permitted as an NOI if the land disturbance was under one acre if the k-factor (a measure of the site’s soil erodibility) was under 0.23, or under 0.5 acre of disturbance if the k-factor was higher. Otherwise a Grading Permit was triggered. With the requirement change, any project exceeding 0.5 acres of land disturbance will automatically require a Grading Permit. This will impact a lot of future construction in Jefferson County.
What’s the difference between permits?
The most notable difference between the two permits is their review times with the county. The NOI permits are signed & stamped by the engineer, and it is on them to ensure that the proposed plan conforms to all of Jefferson County’s requirements. Therefore, the county review is only an administrative review to ensure that all of the required documents have been submitted and are complete. This review process typically takes one to two weeks from the submission date before we are able to pull the permit from the county. Rarely do we have any comments to address in an NOI.
Grading Permits go through a formal review with the county, which can take up to 3-4 months from submittal date before we receive comments back from the county. The comments will need to be addressed by the engineering team and submitted back to the county for review or approval. The Grading Permit may have multiple rounds of review and comments before it is approved.
What are the factors?
The land disturbance for a new house can be affected by numerous factors: lot size, house size, location of house on lot in relation to road access, if there is an existing driveway, overall driveway length, if utilities are existing on site, and challenge of existing slopes. In the past, many houses that we have permitted under an NOI have been in the 0.5-1.0 acre range of land disturbance, especially if the construction of a septic system and driveway is included under the same land disturbance permit.
We also receive many questions about the N-2 form: I need it to get my C/O, what is it? How do I get one? Who fills it out?
A N-2 form is required to close out the NOI permit and certifies that the grading and erosion control was constructed and installed according to plan. Once the project is nearing the finish line, the engineer who stamped the plans for the permit will need to come out and inspect the site to ensure that all grading is complete, drainage features were constructed to plan, and erosion control measures are put into place. The engineer will then either list items that need to be corrected, or if there have been no deviations from the plans they can sign off on the N-2 form. It is important to communicate with the engineer during construction if there will be any deviations from the original plans so there will be fewer issues during the N-2 process. The form can then be submitted to Jefferson County to close out the NOI permit.
What do permit changes mean for my project?
While the plan sets for the two permits are very similar, when a Grading Permit is triggered, there may need to be additional sheets showing detailed grading and profiles of the driveway, and a detailed drainage report depending on the total impervious areas. The extra time should also be factored into project schedules, and the extra rounds of review need to be accounted for in budgets.
For more information on land disturbance permits, links to forms, and current requirements, check out Jefferson County’s Engineering and Earthwork page here.
At EVstudio, we make it our business to know the municipalities where we work most frequently inside and out, and we’re always ready to take on new municipalities to deliver the best client experience possible. Ready to work with a dedicated team ready to make your vision a reality? Contact us today so we can get started. With these new permit changes, we’ll need all the time we can get!