Home Improvements and Custom Homes

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Home improvements normally involve separate approvals from the Planning Division and the Building & Safety Division of the Department of Environmental Services. Regarding custom homes, approval from the Department of Public Works may be required.

Home Improvements – How would you like to improve your home?

Add on to your home, such as for a room addition?
Replace windows?
Replace your water heater, furnace, or air conditioner, or perform other minor plumbing or electrical work?
Add a fence or wall?
Add a gas barbecue?
Add a pool or spa?
Install a paved driveway or patio on your property?
Install artificial turf on your property?
Modify the landscaped parkway in front of your home?
Add a guest house or Accessory Dwelling Unit?
Add a free-standing non-habitable accessory structure to your property, such as a gazebo, shed, carport, or garage?
Add a non-traditional accessory structure to your property, such as a rock type waterfall, waterslide, climbing wall, or skateboard ramp?
Install a second driveway access and driveway curb cut? 

Custom Homes

Would you like to build a custom home?

Would you like to add on to your home, such as for a room addition?

First, ensure your proposal meets the City’s standards by reviewing the Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks exhibit. Before you proceed, we recommend that you visit the Planning Division for a preliminary review of your proposed project. Our Planning staff will review your property’s characteristics and inform of your parameters, including setbacks, height, special conditions, and any additional circumstances to consider when preparing your proposal.  If you have any questions, please contact Planning at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  

Now that you know your parameters, you or your contractor/architect will need to prepare the plot plan, floor plan, and building elevations. Submittal requirements and sample plans can be found on the City’s Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks and Residential Addition Submittal Requirements.

When your plans are ready, you will need to bring them in to Planning, where a staff Planner will review them to ensure all zoning requirements and standards are met.  If they are, a Zoning Clearance will be issued. If changes are necessary, the Planner will work closely with you to ensure that your revised plans meet all City standards.

Now that you have your Zoning Clearance, your next step is to obtain a Building Permit.  You will need to submit an application with drawings and plan check and permit fees.  Specific submittal requirements can be found at Building & Safety Division.  Note that the plans you prepare for Building & Safety can also be used for Planning in obtaining a Zoning Clearance.  You may also contact the Building Division at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for information. Please note that certain restrictions may apply if you are in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Would you like to replace the windows in your home?

You will need to obtain a Building Permit from the Building & Safety Division.  First, complete an application and submit it to the Building & Safety Division with the plan check and permit fees. Please contact the Building & Safety Division at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for information.

A Zoning Clearance is not required for window replacement; however, we also recommend you contact your Homeowners Association (if applicable) for any additional restrictions.

Would you like to replace your water heater, furnace, or air conditioner, or perform other minor plumbing or electrical work?

You will need to obtain a Building Permit from the Building & Safety Division for the replacement, relocation, or installation of water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning units, electrical panels, or for any other minor plumbing/electrical work.  First, complete an application and submit it to the Building & Safety Division with the plan check and permit fees.  Please contact the Building Division at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

For replacement only of an existing air conditioning unit, you will not need Planning Division approval.  However, if you would like to relocate an existing unit or install a new one, you will first need to contact the Planning Division to verify if you need a Zoning Clearance.  You may need to prepare a simple plot plan showing that the unit’s location meets the City’s minimum setback requirements.  Refer to Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks for details, or contact Planning at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for assistance.

Would you like to add a fence or wall?

First, ensure your proposed fence or wall meets the City standards for location, type, and height by reviewing the Residential Fences and Walls Exhibit and SVMC Section 9-30.050 ”Height and Location Requirements for Fences, Walls, and Hedges."  You may also visit the Planning Division, and a staff Planner will assist you with options based on your individual property.  If your yard is adjacent to a major arterial street and/or a commercial/industrial zone, your property line wall or fence may be allowed to be up to eight feet in height.

Next, prepare a plot plan (refer to Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks) showing the location, type, and height of the proposed wall or fence, and submit it to the Planning Division.  If all requirements and standards are met, a Zoning Clearance is issued. For most residential fences and walls, a Building Permit is not required.  However, if you are planning to build a wall or fence over six feet in height or a retaining wall, a Building Permit may be required, in addition to a Zoning Clearance.  Please check with the Building & Safety Division at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to add a gas barbecue?

First, make sure the location of your new gas barbecue meets the City standards for setback requirements (refer to Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks).  Next, prepare a plot plan showing the location and setbacks for your new gas barbecue, and bring it to the Planning Counter to be reviewed to ensure all requirements and standards are met.  If they are, we will issue you a Zoning Clearance so that you may proceed to the next step. If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  

Once you have your Zoning Clearance, your next step is to obtain a Building Permit. The specific submittal and permit requirements, including the application, can be found at Building & Safety Division, or you may also contact the Building Permit Counter at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to add a pool and/or spa to your property?

First, make sure the location of your new pool or spa meets the City standards for setback requirements (refer to Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks). Next, prepare a plot plan showing the location and setbacks for your new pool or spa, and bring it to the Planning Counter.  A Planner will review your plan to make sure all requirements are met, and, if they are, we will issue you a Zoning Clearance so that you may proceed to the next step. If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.

Once you are issued a Zoning Clearance, your next step is to obtain a Building Permit. The specific submittal and permit requirements, including the application, can be found at Building & Safety Division, or you may also contact the Building Permit Counter at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to add a paved driveway or patio?

First, refer to the Front Yard Landscaping Requirements on Single-Family Lots exhibit to determine whether your proposed paving meets the City standards for maintaining the minimum landscaping in the front yard.  While paving in the side and rear yards does not require a City permit, paving anywhere in the front yard area does require a Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division; however, a Building Permit is not required.  The City standard requires that at least 50 percent of the front yard be landscaped.  Note that up to 100 percent of the required landscaping can consist of artificial turf, although the artificial turf appearance will be improved with some natural plantings mixed in with the turf.  Within the front yard, you are allowed to maintain, at a minimum, a driveway to the garage, a ten-foot wide strip of paving along side the driveway that is nearest to side property line, and a sidewalk to the front door.

Next, prepare a plot plan showing the proposed paving on your property, including how it complies with the requirements shown on the Front Yard Landscaping Requirements on Single-Family Lots handout. Lastly, bring your plan to the Planning Division for review, and, if the zoning standards and requirements are met, a Zoning Clearance is issued. It is recommend that you visit the Planning Division to allow a staff Planner to assist you with you design and options based on your individual property. If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  

Would you like to install artificial turf on your property?

First, refer to the Guide to Front-Yard Landscaping for Single-Family Lots brochure to help determine whether your proposal meets the City standards regarding the use of artificial turf in your front yard, such as location and minimum landscaping requirements (The installation of artificial turf within side and/or rear yards does not require City approval.). We recommend you visit the Planning Division, where a Planner will assist you with your options based on your individual property. If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  While paving in the side and rear yards does not require City permit, paving anywhere in the front yard area does require a Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division; however, a Building Permit is not required.  The City standard requires that at least 50 percent of the front yard be landscaped.  Note that up to 100 percent of the required landscaping can consist of artificial turf, although the artificial turf appearance will be improved with some natural plantings mixed in with the turf. Artificial turf may also be used in the parkway, with an Encroachment Permit from Public Works.  Within the front yard, you are allowed to maintain, at a minimum, a driveway to the garage, a ten-foot wide strip of paving along side the driveway that is nearest to side property line, and a sidewalk to the front door.

Next, prepare a plot plan of your front yard showing the location, size, and percentage of proposed artificial turf on your property, and how it complies with City requirements.  Then bring your plan to the Planning Counter for review, and, if all are standards and requirements are met, we will issue you a Zoning Clearance.  A Building Permit is not required.

Would you like to modify the landscaped parkway in front of your home?

First, refer to the Front Yard Landscaping Requirements on Single-Family Lots exhibit to determine if what you want to do meets City standards.  A parkway is the area between the public sidewalk and the street and is required to be landscaped.  This area is included in the calculation of the minimum required front yard landscaping.  Contact the Public Works Department at (805) 583-6786 for issues regarding trees within the street parkway.  Decorative pavers may be used in the parkway if they are integrated with the landscape design, as approved by the Deputy Director/City Planner.  Monolithic concrete paving may not be used in the parkway except as part of a driveway.  Artificial turf may be used in the parkway, with an Encroachment Permit from Public Works.  We recommend you visit the Planning Division, where a Planner will assist you with your options based on your individual property.  If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  

Next, prepare a plot plan showing the proposed modifications to the parkway, including how it complies with the minimum landscaping requirements shown on the Front Yard Landscaping Requirements on Single-Family Lots handout.  Lastly, bring your plan to the Planning Counter for review, and, if all standards and requirements are met, we will put an approval stamp on your plan for your records.

Are you considering adding a guest house or Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to your residential lot?

Please refer to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Handout (PDF) for new information on Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units.  For Guest Houses, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for additional information.

For both a guest house and ADU, you will need to submit for review a plot plan, building elevations, and floor plan. Please refer to the ADU Handout and Simi Valley Residential Design Guidelines for Accessory Structure exhibits for specific information and criteria.  Deed restrictions are required for guest houses and ADUs. Both a guest house and ADU also require a building permit. The specific submittal and permit requirements, including the application, can be found at Building & Safety Division, or you may also contact the Building Permit Counter at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to add a free-standing, non-habitable accessory structure to your property, such as a gazebo, shed, carport, or garage?

First, ensure the location of the proposed structure meets the City’s standards for height and setbacks from your property lines and other structures by reviewing Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks.  Certain types of accessory structures may also have special design standards, which are described in the Simi Valley Residential Design Guidelines for Accessory Structure exhibit.  Before you proceed, we recommend that you visit the Planning Division for a preliminary review of what you would like to do.  We can let you know your parameters based on your individual property, such as setbacks, height, special conditions, and any additional circumstances to consider before you proceed.  If you have any questions, please contact us at (805) 583-6769 or enviroservices@simivalley.org.  Once you know your parameters, you or your contractor/architect will need to prepare the plot plan and building elevations. Submittal requirements and sample plans can be found on the City’s Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks and Residential Addition Submittal Requirements links.

When your plans are ready, you will need to bring them in to the Planning Counter, where a Planner will review them to make sure the City standards are met.  If they are, Planning will issue you a Zoning Clearance so that you may proceed to the next step.

If your accessory structure is more than 120 square feet in size, you will need to obtain a Building Permit.  The specific submittal and permit requirements, including the application can be found at Building & Safety Division, or you may also contact the Building Permit Counter at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to add a non-traditional accessory structure to your property, such as a rock type waterfall, waterslide, climbing wall, or skateboard ramp?

First, ensure your proposed non-traditional accessory structure meets the City standards for location, setbacks, and height by reviewing Sample Plot Plan and Minimum Setbacks.  You may also visit our Planning Counter, and a Planner will help determine your options based on your individual property.  Next, prepare a plot plan showing the location, setbacks, and height (10-foot height limit for lots less than 20,000 sq. ft.) for your non-traditional structure, and bring it to the Planning Counter where a Planner will review it to make sure all requirements and standards are met.  If they are, we will issue you a Zoning Clearance so that you may proceed to the next step.

Once you have a Zoning Clearance, your next step is to obtain a Building Permit.  The specific submittal and permit requirements, including the application can be found at Building & Safety Division, or you may also contact the Building Permit Counter at (805) 583-6723 or enviroservices@simivalley.org for more information.

Would you like to install a second driveway access and driveway curb cut?

First, determine whether your proposal meets City standards. Refer to the Guide to Front-Yard Landscaping for Single-Family Lots for specific front-yard paving and minimum landscaping requirements related to your proposed driveway access.  We also recommend you visit our Planning Counter for a Planner to assist you with your options based on your individual property.  Because a driveway curb cut involves the public street right-of-way, you also need to visit the Department of Public Works to ensure the location and size of your proposed curb-cut will meet City standards regarding location and minimum distance between driveways.  An Encroachment Permit will be required from Public Works.  If you have any questions, you can reach Public Works at (805) 583-6786.

Next, prepare a plot plan showing the location of your proposed driveway access, as well as any other changes to your front yard.  You will need to show how any and all modifications comply with the City’s paving and minimum landscaping requirements.  Once completed, submit the plan to the Planning for review, and, if all are standards and requirements are met, we will issue you a Zoning Clearance.  A Building Permit is not required.  Lastly, visit the Public Works to obtain an Encroachment Permit for your proposed driveway access.

Do you want to build a custom home?

Information for building a custom home can be found under Land Development

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