Constructing a Retaining Wall on Your Property
When you install a retaining wall you will be changing the grading of the land. Therefore, unless you are applying for a Pool, or Sport Court Permit, you will have to file a Grading and Clearing Permit application. This Application is available from the Engineering Division and is also available in the Forms, Permits and Licenses section of the Home Page listed as Grading and Clearing. There is a fee of $100 per each 50 linear feet of retaining wall proposed required with the application. The retaining wall location, size and type of material being used to construct the wall will have to be shown on the application documents. Walls which measure over thirty inches (2 and 1/2/ feet) at its highest point require engineering drawings produced by a licensed professional engineer, architect or landscape architect, and a safety barrier. The intent of the safety barrier is to prevent children from falling over the wall. The safety barrier must be four feet high, impenetrable by children, and located at the outer edge of the wall for its entire length. Landscaping does not constitute a safety barrier.
Wall systems consisting of two or more tiers must have an Engineer's safety review if the total drop of the system exceeds thirty inches (2 and 1/2/ feet). Landscaping walls (those measuring under thirty inches) require engineering drawings if located at a distance less than twice their height from a public right-of-way. Walls which measure over thirty inches in height must be offset four feet from a property line for every foot of height above the natural grade.
If you are constructing a retaining wall in conjunction with the installation of a pool or sport court, then you do not need to obtain a separate Grading and Clearing Permit as long as you clearly indicate on the survey or grading plan attached to your permit application the location of the retaining wall you intend to construct. For retaining walls over 30" in height, include the wall design certified by a licensed professional engineer.