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Frequently Asked Questions

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Welcome to the Community Development Frequently Asked Questions section.  To assist our customers with possible questions about the permitting, planning and licensing processes, a list of commonly asked questions have been compiled.  Since the list is lengthy, it has been divided into three categories:  General Questions, Building Questions, and Planning/Engineering Questions.  For questions about Business Licenses, please see the Business License Frequently Asked Questions page. 

If you have other questions, please give us a call at 775-334-2063 for Building questions, 775-321-8309 for Planning and Engineering questions, 775-334-2090 for Business License questions, or 775-334-4228 for Housing and Neighborhood Development questions.  Please leave a detailed message along with your contact information, and the appropriate staff will return your call.

These questions and answers were accurate when they were posted, however revisions may occur.  To ensure you have the most up to date information, please call the appropriate division's telephone number.  Thank you.

General Questions

Where is the Community Development Department located?
    Reno City Hall
    One East First Street, 2nd Floor
    Reno, Nevada  89501
    Directions

Housing and Neighborhood Development division address
    Reno City Hall
    One East First Street, 12th Floor
    Reno, Nevada  89501
    Directions

How do I find a permit application, case status or inspections?

Visit the online Virtual Permit Place anytime time of the day or night to search for building permits, planning cases, public work cases, engineering cases/permits or to schedule an inspection.

What if I do not have access to a computer? 
Not a problem.  Please call the interactive voice response (IVR) line at (775) 334-2396 for a building permit application status or to schedule an inspection.  After the inspection is scheduled and on the day of the scheduled inspection, call(775) 334-2060 between 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to  speak to the building inspector to ask any questions or obtain an approximate inspection time.  Please see the inspection list for the corresponding four (4) character codes.

Where do I find recent Planning and/or Engineering Cases and Projects?
The current Planning and Engineering cases/projects along with the Master Plan are available online. 

What if I have a question about Recent Administrative Interpretations?
For any questions about the administrative interpretations, please contact Claudia Hanson at (775) 334-2381. 

  • No. 13-02 RMC 18.06.405 (Special Use Permit) and RMC 18.24.203.1670 (Development)

What if I have a Fire Department question?
For information about the City of Reno Fire Department plan check comments or general fire questions, please call (775) 334-2300 or visit the Fire Department web pages.  The fire plans examiner's comments may also be checked on theVirtual Permit Place.

How do I find information about a particular parcel or address?
An online Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapserver is available along with the City's Annexation and Land Development Code which is included in Municode.  For any questions, please contact the planner of the day at (775) 321-8309.


When are building permit applications accepted?
Building permit applications are accepted at the Development and Business Services Center at One East First Street  at the 2nd floor counter from 8:00 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.  Monday - Friday except for holidays. 

Permits that are ready for payment and issuance are also available at the 2nd floor counter from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday except for holidays.

Revisions to permit applications or issued permits may be submitted at the Development and Business Services Center at One East First Street at the 2nd floor revision counter from 8:00 a.m. - noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday except for holidays.  Revisions for applications are to be properly collated into the submitted set of plans.  The revised sheets are to replace the incorrect sheets, and all markings and comments on the incorrect sheets are to be transferred to the new revised sheets.  Once all of the revised sheets are collated into the submitted set of plans, both the corrected set of plans along with the incorrect sheets are to be returned to the technician.  Please allow yourself sufficient time to complete this process of changing out the plan sheets. 

When are planning and engineering applications accepted?
Planning and engineering applications are accepted at One East First Street at the 2nd floor from 9:00 a.m. - noon, and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m except for holidays.  The type of application as specified in the Planning/Engineering Applications section will dictate when the application may be submitted for review.  Please see the Planning Intake Dates for more details.

When are business license applications accepted?
Business license applications are accepted at the Development and Business Services Center at One East First Street at the 2nd  floor from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday except for holidays.  For more information about the business license application process, please visit the Business License Division section.

How do I obtain copies of permits or plans for my house?
To have staff research for plans or permits, please complete and submit a Research Request rev 04-23-2013 form. 

Who do I call if I have any Community Development questions?
Building questions - please call 775-334-2063.  Due to the volume and complexity of calls, please leave a detailed message including contact information and staff will contact you.

Planning and engineering questions - please call 775-321-8309.  Once again, due to the volume and complexity of calls, please leave a detailed message including contact information and staff will contact you.

Business License questions - please call 775-334-2090 or visit the Business License section.

Housing and Neighborhood Development questions-- please call 775-334-4228 or visit the Housing and Neighborhood Development section.

Code Enforcement questions or complaints, please call 775-334-4636 or visit the Reno Direct section. 

A listing of Community Development personnel contact information is available on the Administration and Contact Information page.

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Building Questions

What types of construction or repairs require a building permit?
Please refer to the list of Common Projects rev 04-24-2013 requiring building permits.  If your type of project is not included in the common projects list, please call 775-334-2063 for further assistance.

Why do I need a permit for a fence or a shed?
Permits are required for these types of work to ensure the fences and sheds are constructed per code and are not a life safety issue.  Approval from the Planning division is required to build a fence or accessory structure even when it would not otherwise require a building permit. 

What is required for a building permit application?
The scope of work will dictate the required documents for submittal.  Please see the Plan Submittal Guidelines for more information.  A completed and signed application is required with all submittals.

Permits are required for fences and sheds to ensure that setbacks are met, the structures/fences are built to code, and to protect the lives and safety of the citizens. 

For Residential Fence Applications please submit two (2) sets of plans which include a site plan that shows the location of the proposed fence, existing structures, property lines with dimensions, all streets, easements, and setbacks.  The signed completed application and any other pertinent information such as the type of construction material and height of the fence are necessary for plan submittal. 

For Residential Shed Applications:  please submit two (2) sets of plans which include a site plan that shows the proposed and existing structures, property lines with dimensions, all streets, easements and setbacks.  A signed completed application along with any other pertinent information such as the type of construction material, size and height of the shed are necessary for plan submittal.   

What is the building type and group?
The type and group of a building refers to the type of construction, and the use and occupancy classification which is from the International Building Code.  For your convenience, please see the types of construction and occupancy groups listings.  Please see the Applications and Documents section for more information.

How long does it take to obtain a building permit?
The amount of time for reviewing building permit applications varies greatly depending on the scope of the work and other variables such as the completeness of the information submitted, the number of complete sets submitted, and whether any corrections are required by any of the reviewing disciplines. 

To shorten the length of time required to review a building permit application, complete multiple sets may be submitted.  For a multiple set submittal, four (4) sets for residential applications and six (6) sets for commercial applications are requested.  Multiple reviews may then be completed simultaneously with multiple sets of plans.  If only one (1) set is submitted, the review time will be longer because only one (1) discipline may review the plans at one (1) time.  Each discipline including fire, building, electrical, engineering, environmental control, health, mechanical, planning, plumbing and other areas generally have ten (10) working days to complete each discipline review. 

If corrections are required by any of the reviewing disciplines, revisions may not be submitted until all of the disciplines have completed their initial reviews.  All corrections must be submitted as one revision, and a cover letter specifying the revised items, additions and corrections must be included. 

Is expedited plan review available?
For expedited plan review, an Overtime Request Form must be submitted.  When the form is submitted, an hour of overtime for each requested discipline shall be paid.  If any review requires more than an hour of overtime, the overtime balance will be added to the permit fees due.  The submittal of the Overtime Request Form does not guarantee that personnel will be available for overtime.  The overtime plan review will be performed at the first available time, and overtime is not available for all disciplines including health, engineering and environmental control.

May plans and/or revisions be submitted by mail or the internet?
Currently, all plans and/or revisions must be submitted in person.  A representative for the applicant may submit the plans and/or revisions.  All revisions to any submitted plan set for review must be incorporated into the submitted set.  The old sheets shall be replaced with the revised sheets.  Both the revised plan set and the old sheets shall be returned to the routing technician. 

How much does a building permit cost?
The cost of the permit depends on the scope of work.  Please see the Fee Information section to find an estimation of fees.  If the application scope of work is for fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems or other fire suppression systems that are required to be reviewed only by the fire protection plans examiner, the online Fire Protection Fee System Estimator may be useful. 

Do I need a contractor?
The owner-builder takes full responsibility for the entire job.  Please see the Nevada State Contractors Board website for further requirements and duties of the owner-builder.  "An owner-builder is either building or improving his or her residential structure on the property for his or her own occupancy and does not intend to sell or lease the residence within one (1) year."  All owners-builders must complete the Nevada State Contractors Board Owner Builder Affidavit of Exemption form.  

Per the Nevada State Contractors Board website, you may be liable if an unlicensed contractor is injured on your property, and homeowners who use unlicensed contractors are not eligible for the Residential Recovery Fund.

All commercial projects require properly licensed contractors to accept responsibility for the work performed.

What is the status of my plan review?
To check the status of a particular plan review, please visit  the Virtual Permit Place,  Once in the Virtual Permit Place, click on either the tab labeled "Building" or click "Search Applications" in the blue box labeled "Building".  Both of these choices will take you to the screen "Search for Building Permits".  When this screen pops up, please enter the BLD or SGN number in the "Permit Number" box, for example enter BLD07-01234.  Delete the date in the "Start Date" field, and click the "Search" button at the bottom of the page.  If using the application number such as the BLD or SGN number for the search, it is not necessary to enter any other information before clicking the "Search" button. 

If the BLD or SGN number is not known, the search may also be executed with other information such as contractor information, address or parcel number.  These searches may be completed using the "General  Search"  screen.  Please delete the date in the "Start Date" field.  For the address, please enter the street number in the "Street No." field and the street name in the "Street Name" field.  Do not populate the "Direction" or "Street Type" fields.  Leave these two fields blank.  Once the street or contractor information has been entered, please click on the "Search" button at the bottom on the screen.  If the exact name of the contractor or the correct spelling of a street name is not known, the percent sign, %, may be used as a wildcard.

The results from the search should be listed below the "Search" button.  To view the details of a permit application or permit, please click on the permit number.  The next screen should display the details of the permit application.  To view more information, please click  the triangles to the left of "More Details" which is located in the section with the gray bar heading of "Building Details".  Inspections may be scheduled from the section with the "Inspections" gray heading bar, and the progress of an application may be viewed from the section with the "Processing Status" gray heading bar.  To print out an application status report, please click on the "Application Status Report" button located directly above the "Fees" gray bar.  This report will show the status of the permit application, any comments by the reviewers, and the report may be printed.

How do I schedule an inspection?
Inspections may be scheduled in a couple of different ways:  via online or the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR).  Inspections for the next working day may be scheduled until midnight.  To request an inspection time, please call the inspector directly or call the assistant at 775-334-2060 between 7:30 a.m - 8:00 a.m. on the day of the inspection.

Scheduling inspections online -
Registered contractors may schedule inspections online.  To establish a registered account, please visit the Virtual Permit Place, and click on the "Register for an Account" link.  Please follow the steps, and enter the required information.  For any questions, please call 775-334-2035.

To schedule an inspection, please click on the "Schedule or Request an Inspection" link below the "Inspections" heading gray bar.  After selecting the appropriate inspection, please click the "Continue" button.  Select a date and continue with the prompts.  To schedule a time, please refer to the next question.  Once the inspection is scheduled, it should be displayed below the "Schedule or Request an Inspection" link.  The scheduled date, the name of the inspection, and the name of the inspector should be visible such as the following example:

    03/23/2012 at TBD Scheduled F739 Rough Fire Alarm (1167741)
    Inspector:  Fire Inspector

A list of any completed inspections should be displayed below the scheduled inspections such as the following example :

    Completed (4)
    Cancelled - 1;  PASS - 2:  Rescheduled - 1

    Rescheduled B436 Frame (1167209)
    Rescheduled by:  ANONYMOUS_IVR on 3/13/2012 at 6:29 AM

    PASS B463 Sheetrock (1167262)
    Result by:  Developer Tim on 03/13/2012 at 2:36 PM

    PASS B436 Frame (1167265)
    Result by:  Builder Bill on 03/14/2012 at 2:42 PM

    Cancelled B552 Electrical Rough (1167738)
    Cancelled by:  Inspector Dave on 03/16/2012 at 6:46 AM

Depending on the number of completed inspections, there may be more than one page of listed inspections.  Please click on the number or "Next" below the displayed inspection list to view the other completed inspections.

Scheduling inspections using the IVR -
The Building division's automated telephone line at 775-334-2396 is available 24 hrs./day.  To schedule an inspection, please have the permit number and the inspection number readily available for entering into the system.  The required inspections are printed on the left side on the back of the permit.  For more information, please see the Automated Telephone System section.  Please see the next question to schedule a time with the inspector. 

What time is the inspector coming for my inspection?
On the day of the scheduled inspection, please call 775-334-2060 between 7:30 a.m - 8:00 a.m.  Please give the technician your building permit number, and the technician will transfer you to the appropriate building inspector who will be handling your inspection.  At  this time, the building inspector and you may agree upon a time period for the inspector to complete your inspection.  Due to possible unusual circumstances, the agreed upon time frame is only an approximation.

Is there a permit for a particular address?
To search for a City of Reno permit:  On the City of Reno home page click on either ONLINE SERVICES or BUSINESS at the top of the page, and select Virtual Permit Place from the drop down list.  The new "Virtual Permit Place" is where you may search for building permits and/or applications, planning applications and engineering permits and/or applications.  To search for a building permit, click on the tab labeled "Building" or click "Search Applications" in the blue box labeled "Building"'.  Both of these choices will take you to the same search screen.  When the "Searching for Building Permits" screen pops up, please use the "General Search".  In the first section below the "General Search" gray bar, there is a field labeled "Start Date".  Please delete the numbers in the "Start Date" field, and leave this field blank.  Keep scrolling below the gray "General Search" bar to the address section.  If possible, only enter the street number in the "Street No." field, and the street name without any prefixes or suffixes in the "Street Name" field.  For example, enter 123 East Fourth Street as 123 in the "Street No" field and 4 in the "Street Name" field.   Click the "Search" button at the bottom of the page, and the results should appear below the "Search" button. 

To view the details of any of the search results, click on the permit number, and the permit information should appear in the next screen.  Click on the arrows on the left side of the various gray bars to view more information, if available. 

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Planning/Engineering Questions

Since I am a Washoe County resident, why do I need building permits from the City of Reno?
The City of Reno manages land use permitting for properties within its Sphere of Influence.  If the property is within the boundary on the attached map, please contact the City of Reno Community Development Department for proper permitting.

What is my zoning?
Zoning may be checked by using the online mapping system.  To have full functionality on the GIS MapServer, pop-up blockers must be disabled.  This site utilizes pop-ups.  If a new user to the site, please first read the disclaimer and requirements. 

To check the zoning on a piece of property within the City of Reno, select "Zoning" below the "Reno Online Maps" blue heading on the left side of the page.  Once the map pops up, please select the binocular icon at the top left corner of the page.  When the fields pop up on the right side of the map, please enter the parcel number or the street name.  Do not enter any street address numbers.  Click the "Search" button after the street name or parcel number is entered in the appropriate field.  Select the appropriate address from the "Search Results".  Check the boxes on the left side of the map to turn on the various "layers" to display the data.  If the "Base Zoning Data" and "Base Zoning" boxes are checked, the zoning will appear on the map.  Do not forget to check the zoning overlay in the "General Overlay Zoning Districts".

Other type of maps available for use are the Property Map and Community Map which have their own boxes on the left side of the map.  The definitions for the various type of zoning may be found in TABLE 18.08-1:  BASE ZONING DISTRICT NAMES AND ABBREVIATIONS.  To locate Table 18.08-1 on municode, click on the yellow folder to the left of "CHAPTER 18.08 - ZONING".  A list of articles should now be displayed.  Click on the yellow folder to the left of "ARTICLE I: - OFFICIAL ZONING MAP AND ESTABLISHMENT OF ZONE DISTRICTS".   Below ARTICLE I, a list of Sections should appear.  Click on "Section 18.08.101 - Establishment and Purpose of Base and Overlay Zoning Districts". When this Section is clicked, the table should appear on the right side of the page.

Does the City of Reno provide zoning verification letters?
The City of Reno does not provide zoning verification letter, however, staff will gladly assist with general information on zoning inquires.  To research a parcel with the City of Reno, please follow the zoning instructions above, and contact the City Clerk's Office to request official ordinance adoption records.

What land uses are allowed with my zoning?
Permitted uses are listed in the Summary Land Use Tables located in ARTICLE II:  PERMITTED USES AND USE REGULATIONS of CHAPTER 18.08 - ZONING.  For Residential Zoning, please see  TABLE 18.08-4:  USES PERMITTED IN RESIDENTIAL BASE ZONING DISTRICTS.  For Commercial Zoning, please see TABLE 18.08-5:  USES PERMITTED IN NONRESIDENTIAL BASE ZONING DISTRICTS or for Mixed Use Zoning, please see TABLE 18.08-6A : USES PERMITTED IN REGIONAL CENTERS BASE ZONING DISTRICTS and TABLE 18.08-6B:  USES PERMITTED IN REGIONAL CENTERS BASE ZONING DISTRICTS.  For other Mixed Use Zoning, please see TABLE 18.08-7:  USES PERMITTED IN TOD BASE ZONING DISTRICTS.

To locate these tables, please visit the municode.  On the left side of the page, click on the yellow folder to the left of Chapter 18.08 - Zoning.  Once this yellow folder is clicked, a list of articles should pop up below Chapter 18.08 - Zoning.  Click on the yellow folder to the left of Article II:  Permitted Uses and Use Regulations.  After this yellow folder is clicked, a list of sections should appear below Article II:  Permitted Uses and Use Regulations.  Click on Section 18.08.201. - Permitted Uses by Base Zone District.  The screen on the right should display this section.  The first table in this section, TABLE 18.08-3: SUMMARY LAND USE TABLE CELL ENTRIES, contains useful information as to the abbreviations used in the other tables.  To view the other tables, please scroll down the page. 

What are the General Development and Design Standards including building setbacks on my property?
Design standards generally depend on the base zoning, which can be found in the Reno Municipal Code (RMC) RMC Chapter 18.12 Article I:Bulk/Dimensional, Density and Intensity Standards.  Please note these standards may be modified by applicable overlay zoning standards, which may be found in RMC 18.08 Article IV:  District Specific Standards - Overlay Zoning Districts

When using the online Reno Municipal Code (RMC), click the appropriate gold folder to the left of the title in the left column, and the list should expand to reveal more levels.  To view a section such as Section 18.08.203 Standards for Accessory Uses and Structures, click on the section name, and the details should appear in the screen to the right.  If the page to the left of the title is white, click on the name of the page to see the details in the screen to the right.  For assistance, please call 775-321-8309.

What are the regulations on signs?
Sign regulations may be found in the Reno Municipal Code (RMC) RMC Chapter 18.16 Signs.  Signs must also comply with any applicable building codes. 

When using the online Reno Municipal Code (RMC), click the appropriate gold folder to the left of the title in the left column, and the list should expand to reveal more levels.  To view a section such as Section 18.08.203 Standards for Accessory Uses and Structures, click on the section name, and the details should appear in the screen to the right.  If the page to the left of the title is white, click on the name of the page to see the details in the screen to the right.  For assistance, please call 775-321-8309.

Do I need a permit to build a fence or shed?
Approval from the Planning Division is required to build a fence or accessory structure even when it would otherwise not require a building permit. 

Please refer to "Fence and Walls" Standards in the Reno Municipal Code (RMC) RMC Chapter 18.12 - General Development and Design Standards, Article XIV:  Fences and Walls

Please refer to "Standards for Accessory Structures and Uses" in RMC Chapter 18.08 - Zoning, Article II:  Permitted Uses and Use Regulations, Section 18.08.203 Standards for Accessory Structures.

When using the online Reno Municipal Code (RMC), click the appropriate gold folder to the left of the title in the left column, and the list should expand to reveal more levels.  To view a section such as Section 18.08.203 Standards for Accessory Uses and Structures, click on the section name, and the details should appear in the screen to the right.  If the page to the left of the title is white, click on the name of the page to see the details in the screen to the right.  For assistance, please call 775-321-8309.

How do I obtain a flood elevation certificate for my property?
The City of Reno has most flood elevation certificates for structures built in a flood zone from 1994 to today.  To obtain a flood elevation certificate, please call 775-334-3858, and provide the site address that requires the flood elevation certificate and your contact information.  Staff will contact you.

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