FAQ Topic: Permits & licensing

What happens if my improvement cannot be permitted?

In many cases, the work can be permitted, however there is a possibility that the work cannot be permitted because of workmanship, setback violations, location in drainage ways or adding a second non-conforming residence. In those cases, a demo permit would be required to remove the unpermitted work to bring the property into compliance.

What type of work needs a permit?

Our adopted ordinance states: “The provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures”. Please see San Rafael’s Title 12 for a list of work … Continued

How long does it take to get a permit?

The time to get a permit issued varies. Some permits can be issued the same day, over the counter and others require that the plans be left for review.

How do I obtain a permit?

Please check our web site http://www.cityofsanrafael.org/building for the appropriate handout and application. If you have any questions, please call (415) 485-3367 and our staff will be able to assist you through the submittal process. There is a flow chart attached to this document for a typical permit process for work done without a permit.

What projects are covered by amnesty?

Currently this program is for residential homes only including single family, duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes. Multi-family and apartments over three units and commercial properties are not included in this program at this time.

Will my taxes increase if I permit this work?

The Marin County Tax Assessor generates their property valuations based on their own policy and procedures that include neighborhood reconnaissance and site evaluations of properties.  San Rafael does share complaint and permit information with the Assessor to generate site inspections.

Do I need a business license and how do I get one?

A business license is a tax required of most businesses that conduct business within the city limits of San Rafael, even if your physical office is located outside city limits. Business license taxes help to pay for street maintenance, police and fire protection, and other services that benefit businesses and the general public. You need … Continued

How do I get a liquor license?

To sell alcoholic beverages, you’ll need a liquor license. California has four types (3 for full liquor and 1 for beer & wine only). You can find information about buying a liquor license from the California Department of Alcohol & Beverage Control (ABC). The nearest local ABC office is in Santa Rosa, and you can call them … Continued

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