One of the most common questions we hear from our land planning clients in Idaho is whether or not their particular project must undergo the site plan review (SPR) process before they’re able to get a permit. In most cases, the answer is yes.
Permits that require SPR
The SPR process is required for issuance of any building permits on any vacant parcels of land, as well as for increases in floor areas of more than 1,000 square feet (for either residential or nonresidential projects) over what was on the parcel as of September 8, 1998. The process is also required for cumulative increases in residential square footage creating a size greater than 125 percent of the median residential floor area for the neighborhood in which that parcel is located, and for any changes in use of the parcel, unless it is to a residential use.
Outside of building permits, the process is required for grading permits (except when the grading is part of standard mining or agricultural practices) and for certain floodplain development permits and access permits.
Projects that require SPR
SPR may also be required on a project-by-project basis. Certain types of projects will require SPR regardless of the permitting issues. For example, telecommunications facilities that are to be located on an existing structure and meet the zoning district’s height limit will need to undergo SPR. Any development that is to occur within a Natural Area, Natural Landmark, Conservation Easement or Rural Community District must undergo SPR, as must any development geared toward wildlife rehabilitation for more than 20 non-domestic animals.
When is SPR not required?
There are some circumstances in which the SPR process may not be required. If the permit is only needed for any of the following, you will not need to go through SPR.
- Construction of accessory structures that are less than 1,000 square feet in size
- Construction work that does not involve changing the use of the parcel or increasing the existing floor area by 1,000 square feet or more over what existed on September 8, 1998 (unless the project exceeds the size limitations set in place for the neighborhood)
- Any earthwork that is part of agriculture or mining practices outside of floodplains
- Restoring buildings that were destroyed or damaged by natural disasters like fire, explosions, tornados or floods, or by riots, acts of war or other accidents of any kind, so long as the replacement or repair occurs within a year of the damaging event
- Development in subdivisions that were approved after February 22, 1994
- Development in Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts in accordance with their plan
These are just a few of the most important considerations relating to SPR that you must take into account for new developments. For more information about what you should know about land planning in Idaho, we encourage you to contact the team of professional civil engineers at Mason & Associates today. We’d be glad to answer any questions you have about the various services we offer.