According to the Maricopa County Planning and Developing Department, a site plan must be obtained almost any time a building permit is required.
We reached out to various building departments, and their representatives said that a site plan is required for any alteration larger than upgrading an electric panel. This general principle holds for all major cities and smaller towns in Maricopa county. You can always contact your local building department to determine if your proposed project requires a permit and/or a site plan.
This guide will help you get a site plan that Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Temple and other metropolitan cities in Arizona require for developing or altering property. If your city doesn’t have a planning department, then a Maricopa County site plan is needed. The terms “site plan”, “plot plan” and “concept plan” are used interchangeably. — You will likely encounter the terms when reviewing the documents or hear it when discussing your plans with an architect or public official in Arizona.
The topics covered in this guide:
- What a site plan is
- When to get a site plan
- Where to submit the site plan
- What a Maricopa County site plan or local city site plan must include
- How to get a site plan or plot plan
- Getting your site plan approved
What is a Site Plan?
The details are spelled out below in the Requirements section, but in short, a site plan or plot plan is a scale drawing of your property, its boundaries and structures and other natural and man-made features. The purpose of the site plan is to depict proposed changes to show that they will meet codes and other requirements.
While having a site plan created for your property, submitting it and waiting for approval may seem like a major hassle, an approved site plan or will protect you against future complaints from neighbors, the city or county.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to create your own site plan. One can be produced for you quite affordably by professionals specializing in site plans. This ensures your site plan meets the strict Maricopa County site plan requirements and those for local cities. That gives you peace of mind and prevents delays in the planned property improvements and alterations.
When to Get a Site Plan
According to the Maricopa County Planning and Developing Department, a site plan must be obtained almost any time a building permit is required. A representative said that a site plan is required for any alteration larger than upgrading an electric panel. This general principle holds for local cities too. Contact your local building department to determine if your proposed project requires a permit and/or a site plan.
Where to Submit a Site Plan
Where you submit the site plan is quite simple with one small exception. If your city has a planning department, that’s where you should submit the site plan. The department might be called “planning and development,” “planning and zoning” or similar terms.
If your city doesn’t have its own planning department, then a Maricopa County site plan is needed. The exception mentioned above is known as a “county island” a term referring to a tiny section of a city, sometimes just a street, that has not been annexed by the city, either due to an oversight or the fact the city is growing beyond its boundaries and the new area hasn’t yet been annexed. There are hundreds of county islands in Maricopa. Your city office or the Maricopa County Planning and Development department can tell you where you should submit the site plan.
Most major cities in the county have a planning and development department including Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Glendale. Many towns such as Fountain Hills have a department too. Some cities and unincorporated areas in the rural northern and eastern parts of the county do not have building departments, so a Maricopa County site plan is required. If your city has an office, just a quick call or contact will tell you whether you need a local or county site plan.
What a Site Plan Must Show/Site Plan Requirements
A Phoenix AZ site plan and those for the county and other cities must show similar details including these where applicable:
- A North arrow to orient the site plan
- Vicinity map (not to scale) showing major cross streets and your property’s location
- The scale used to create the plot plan such as 1”=30’ (the maximum scale for a Phoenix AZ site plan is 1”=40’)
- The lot drawn to scale with the dimensions of each side
- A box in the margin with each structure and its dimensions listed separately
- Another box showing the address or parcel number
- The location of all structures including home, detached garage, outbuilding and/or deck, with labels for each
- The location, dimensions and shape of any driveway labeled with the material used in it such as concrete or asphalt
- Distances between buildings
- Setbacks surrounding structures
- Storage tanks with setbacks
- The location and size of a septic tank and disposal field
- Perc test holes where land is or is not suitable for a disposal field
- Proposed well site or site of proposed water line
- Proximity of a drain field or well to those on adjoining parcels
- Utility easement
- The location and general size of a water wash
From this list alone, it’s easy to see why most homeowners use a professional service to produce their Maricopa County site plan. Your site plan must be submitted to the Planning and Development department along with building plans that meet another set of specific requirements.
How to Get a Site Plan
You can successfully produce your own site plan, but keep in mind that it must be accurate, drawn to scale and include a long list of components. A partial list of site plan requirements for Maricopa County, Phoenix and surrounding cities is shown below. Getting anything incorrect will cause a rejection or delay in your project plans.
Most homeowners have their site plan professionally produced. Site plan services are offered by some architects and civil engineering firms, but the cost is typically $600 to $1,200 due to hourly rates for these services of $100 to $200 per hour. A more affordable way to have a site plan for Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, Tempe, etc., produced is to get one online.
Getting your Site Plan approved
There are a few hoops to jump through to get an approval of a site plan in cities with their own planning and development department. The steps vary slightly from city to city and the county, but most look something like this:
- Obtain a residential site plan/plot plan submittal checklist (See below for a sample)
- Gather the documents required including a description of the type and scope of the project
- Have a site plan created
- Submit the site plan and documentation, along with required fees, to the P&D department
- Once the site plan and documentation are reviewed, the application will be approved or returned to you for corrections or modifications required to meet local codes
- If the project is a new single-family home or multi-family residential structure, a construction plan must be submitted
- Once the project is fully approved and necessary permits are obtained, the project is given the green light to begin
- These steps are for residential projects and small commercial projects. The requirements for large commercial and industrial projects include additional steps
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