Community Development

Patios & Decks

Patio or Deck Covers

Patio and deck covers are structures that cannot exceed 12 feet in height. They may be a simple structure consisting of a roof and supporting members only or they may be enclosed. Patio covers may be freestanding (detached) or attached to the house.

Enclosed Patios

Patio enclosure walls may have any configuration, provided the open area of the longer wall and one additional wall is equal to at least 65% of the area of the two walls below a minimum of 6 feet 8 inches of the two walls measured from the floor. Openings may be enclosed with insect screening or translucent or transparent plastic that is readily removable and not more than 0.125 (1/8) inch in thickness. Enclosed patios shall not cover the required egress window of a bedroom.

Patio and deck covers shall be used only for recreational outdoor living purposes and not as carports, garages, storage rooms or habitable rooms.

Sunrooms

Sunrooms are glassed-in enclosures and are allowed if certain conditions are met:

  • The door leading into the sunroom from the house is left in place.
  • The sunroom is not heated and utilized as habitable space.
  • The sunroom does not cover the required egress window of a bedroom.
  • The sunroom does not alter the natural lighting and ventilation requirements of the adjacent rooms.

Permits Required

Decks
A permit is required for all decks constructed at or above grade.

NOTE: Decks built within 6 inches of the ground should be constructed of redwood or pressure-treated lumber to avoid dry rot.

Patio or Deck Covers
A patio cover, regardless of size or of roof covering, requires a building permit. Community Development Department approval for placement on the lot is required for structures of 60 sq. ft. and larger.

Required Drawings

  • Plot Plan - Showing the size and position of the patio or deck in relation to the existing buildings, property lines and public utility easements.
  • Framing Plan & Elevation - Showing the size of rafters, beams or girders; the distance between supporting columns; the method of attachment to the house and foundation; the type of foundation used, and the materials used to construct the patio or deck.

Handrails & Guardrails

Decks that are constructed 30 inches or more above ground are required to have a guardrail surrounding the deck and a continuous handrail along the flight of stairs serving the deck.

The top of the guardrail shall be not less than 42 inches. Open guardrails shall have intermediate rails or ornamental pattern such that a sphere 4 inches in diameter cannot pass through.

Handrails are required on stairs that have four or more risers. The top of the handrails shall be placed not less than 34 inches nor more than 38 inches above the nosing of treads. They shall be continuous for the full length of the stairs and the ends shall be returned or terminate in newel posts. The handgrip portion of handrails shall not be less than 1 1/2 inches nor more than 2 inches in cross section with an adequate smooth gripping surface with no sharp corners and spaced 1 1/2 inches from an adjacent wall.

Permit Application

When applying for a permit, certain information is required to complete the permit application:

  • Description of the work
  • Location of the project
  • Legal owners' name, address and phone number
  • Valuation of the proposed work
  • Other information as may be required

The owner/contractor or an authorized agent is the only legal person who can sign the building permit application. Upon approval of the application and issuance of the permit, the permittee has 180 days to commence work on the project, otherwise the permit automatically expires.

Planning & Development Requirements

A patio/deck cover less than 60 square feet with an open lattice roof and open on 3 sides may be located anywhere on the lot, no closer that 3 feet to any property line and not in the front of the setback area. Patio/deck covers not meeting these criteria require Planning & Development approval and must be consistent with the following regulations:

  • The structure must be on the rear half of the lot.
  • The structure may not cover more that 20 percent of the rear-yard setback area.
  • The structure may be no closer than three feet to any property line.
  • If the structure is placed between the home and any side property line, the structure must meet the setback requirements for the home.
  • If the structure is placed on the corner property, the structure shall observe the same street side-yard setback as that required for the home.
  • Contact the Department of Planning & Development at 707.428.7461 to inquire about setback requirements or any other questions related to these regulations.

Inspections

Deck

The following inspections are made only if a permit is issued for the deck:

  • Footing - To be made after pier holes are dug and prior to concrete placement.
  • Final - To be made after girders are set and the deck and handrails and stairs, if used, are installed.
Patio or Deck Cover
Due to the nature of the structure the frame and final inspections are completed at the same time unless the patio walls are enclosed. If the walls are to be covered on both sides, and the framework has electrical wiring, and inspection of the frame is required. A final inspection is made when the patio cover walls are enclosed and the cover is completed.

When To Call For An Inspection

An inspection request recorder is available on a 24-hour basis by calling 707.428.7570. Requests received before 3:00 pm will be scheduled for the following day. All calls received after 3:00 pm will be scheduled 2 business days later. Morning inspections are made sometime between 8:00 am - 12:00 pm, and afternoon inspections between 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm. The approved plans and the inspection card that is issued should be on the job site and available to the inspector at the time of inspection.