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Building Permit Information - FAQs
Driveway or Approach

Where can I put a driveway on my property?

New residential driveways must be located one foot off the property line.  A boundary survey is required to verify property ownership, lines, and dimensions of the lot.

Existing driveways may be reconstructed in the same location.
Ordinance Amended 2016

When do I need to get a permit?
Resurfacing an asphalt driveway or parking lot requires a permit, and one inspection.  Pouring concrete requires two inspections (form and final).  No permit is required if driveway is constructed out of brick pavers. The approach will still require a permit. Approaches can be concrete or asphalt.

What is required for a permit?
• Application Fee: $90.00
• A set of drawings of the proposed driveway or approach, showing location and type of material are required upon submittal of the permit.

Note: A mechanical permit is required if radiant heat is installed into a slab, along with the building permit. The mechanical permit fee for a boiler or water heater is an additional $50.00.

Other Requirements:
• Driveways must be 4 inches thick and made of asphalt or concrete
• 4 inch base of gravel or other porous material (e.g. sand)
• Approaches must be 6 inches thick.
• A new residential driveway shall be a minimum of 9 feet wide


Where can I place on a fence on my property?

• The fence may not be located right on a lot line. A fence may go in a vacated alley if it the alley is included in the legal property description.
• Fences can be on the lot line if both neighbors sign the permit application. Otherwise, the fence shall be only on the property of the applicant.
• A side fence or fence between lots cannot extend into the front yard farther than the front of the house or the required minimum front yard (whichever is greatest).
• When a side yard faces directly on a street, the area shall not be less than the front yard required by the zoning code and no fence shall project beyond this line.
• In industrially zoned areas, fences are only allowed in the front yard of areas larger than 10 acres, unless special approval is granted by the Planning Commission.

How tall can a fence on my property be?
• In residential areas it shall not exceed 30 inches within a front yard, or 6.5 feet in a rear or side yard.
• In business zoned districts it shall not exceed 6.5 feet.
• In industrial districts it shall not exceed 8 feet.

Note: There is a corner clearance which does not allow a fence to exceed 30 inches in height above the average adjacent gutter grade for safety reasons. A fence may not interfere with visibility from a driveway, alley, or intersection: 25 feet in each direction for a street corner and 15 feet for a driveway or alley.

Can I put up a solid fence on my property line?
Yes, the material must withstand rust/deterioration for at least ten years. Wrought iron, metal, picket fences, masonry, stone, and vinyl are permitted. Electric fences are not permitted for public safety reasons. This excludes underground electric pet containment fences.

What is required for a permit?
• Application Fee: $60.00
• Plan Review: $15.00
• A boundary or mortgage survey must be provided prior to application submittal to verify property ownership, lines, and dimensions of the lot.
Note: Only one inspection is needed for height, location, and type of fence.

Other requirements:
• Holes dug for the posts should be half the depth of the height of the fence.
• Posts and finials may extend no more than 6 inches above the maximum permitted height of a fence.
• Solid masonry walls must be built on a continuous foundation at least 42 inches below grade.
• 25 degrees and rising is the lowest temperature concrete can be poured at.

Deck or Porch

When do I need a permit?

No permit is required to replace deck boards, steps, or railings. If new steps are being built then a permit is required.

Where can I build a deck on my property?
Decks must be 6 feet from the side lot line and 35 feet from the rear lot line. If the deck is attached to the main structure and it is 30 inches above the finished grade, then it must be 10 feet away from the garage. Deck supports (posts) shall have a 42 inch footing.  

Where can I build a front porch on my property?
Porches must be 6 feet from the side lot line and 25 feet from the front lot line unless a front yard setback worksheet has been completed and approved.  Covered porches contribute to total lot coverage, which cannot exceed 35%, while uncovered porches do not contribute to lot coverage.  The front yard setback is measured from the foundation to the front property line.  

What are the guardrail/handrail requirements?
A deck can be a maximum height of 30 inches above ground before it requires a guardrail. Residential guardrails can be at minimum 36 inches tall, and commercial guardrails are at a minimum 42 inches tall. Handrails and guardrails cannot allow the passage of a 4 inch diameter sphere between rail spindles. Handrails must be 34-38 inches above tread with ends returned to posts, sloping down.

What materials can I use?
All hardware must be galvanized or stainless steel. Pressure treated southern yellow pine, western cedar, and composite decking are all commonly employed materials.

What is required for a permit?
• Application Fee: $100.00
• Plan Review: $75.00
• 3 sets of drawings (folded and stapled), depicting deck or porch location, setbacks, size, total square feet, height off the ground, and type of material, are required at the time of application submittal.
Note: For safety reasons, a deck may not be occupied or used until final inspection and approval have been obtained from the Building Inspector.

Other Requirements:
• Posts are required to be 42 inches below grade
• Posts must be 4 by 4, or larger pressure treated lumber
• Maximum post height is 14 feet measured to the underside of the beam
• Posts shall be centered on the footing
• Cut ends of the post shall be field treated with an approved preservative
• Rim joist must be attached with three 10d threaded nails or three #10 minimum wood screws
• Stairs with four or more risers must have a handrail on at least one side

Shed, Detached Garage, or Accessory Structure

Where can I build an accessory structure (detached garage) on my property?

The accessory structure must always comply with all zoning requirements within any given zone. The structure must be at least 3 feet from the rear and/or side property line(s). The zoning code requires the structure to be a minimum 10 feet away from the house.  An accessory structure may not be constructed in an easement.
When the side lot line aligns with the front lot line of the house to the rear the accessory structure may not project beyond that required front yard.

Where can I build shed on my property?

The accessory structure must always comply with all zoning requirements within any given zone. The structure must be at least 3 feet from the rear and/or side property line(s).  A shed can be constructed next to a detached garage.

What are the height limitations?
The structure may not exceed 1 1/2 stories or 15 feet in height (average height of eave and ridge). If a dormer is added the dormer will dictate the height if it is over 10 percent of the total area of the garage roof. This is the average roof height of the dormer, or the total height of the ridge and height of the eave divided by 2. For dormers on sheds the height shall be the average of the dormer to the ridge of the garage A garage cannot cover more than 35 percent of rear yard, or the house and garage together cannot exceed 35 percent of the total lot area.

Is a rat wall required?
For accessory structures under 200 square feet a rat wall is not required.  If the accessory structure is between 200 and 600 square feet then the rat wall must be 4” by 24”. If the accessory structure is larger than 600 square feet, an 8” by 42” footing is required.

What is required for a permit?
• Application Fee: $100.00
• Plan Review: $75.00 (not required for sheds under 200 SF)
• A boundary or mortgage survey must be provided to verify property ownership, lines and dimensions of the lot.
• Along with the application, a set of drawings for the accessory building is required showing location, size, height, and square feet.

Other Requirements:
• No more than 2 detached accessory structures are permitted on any one residential lot.
• Detached accessory buildings may not be habitable spaces. They may not contain sleeping or cooking facilities.

What is required for demolition?
Documentation of the shut offs must be provided to the Community Development Department.
Proof is needed that all taxes, water bills, and other outstanding fees are paid in full.
Must notify and disconnect all public utilities:
• Consumer’s Energy: 800.477.5050
• DTE Energy: 800.477.4747
• City of Plymouth Municipal Services: 734.453.7737

How much is the permit fee?
Residential Dwelling Units: $150.00 per unit plus $2,000 bond*
Accessory Building (no bond required): $75.00
Commercial, Industrial, and Multi-Family: $.30 per square foot ($400 minimum) plus $2,000 bond*
Interior: $100.00
Deposit will be returned within 14 days of satisfactorily completed work
*The bond money must be Money Order or Cashier's Check from a bank, no personal or company bank accounts

Driveway or Approach


Deck or Porch

Shed, Detached Garage, or Accessory Structure


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