Informal/Preliminary Review
City staff encourages all property owners and architects to share preliminary/informal plans of any addition or new construction with Planning and Public Works staff prior to drafting plans for building permit review. Initial review by a Planner and Public Works Engineer can save time and money, as city staff will verify the proposed work complies with the required development standards and ensure the proper information is included on the plans. This informal review is free of charge and can typically be done in a single visit to City Hall, though may take additional time if a property has a unique feature that requires additional staff review. No appointment is required, as your plans will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis at the counter.
Planning Permit

The City of Mountain View does not have discretionary design review for single-family home development nor requires noticing of adjacent neighbors of construction activity, as an effort to reduce costs, time and process for homeowners. As long as a remodel, addition or new construction of a home complies with the development standards of the zoning district in which the property is located, then no permit is required by the Planning Division, except for the cases listed below. Development standards include required setbacks from the property lines, height restrictions, floor area restrictions, minimum yard requirements, etc.

Permits are required by the Planning Division in the following cases:

  • For an exception to the development standards, including variances and floor area ratio exceptions;
  • For any conforming addition to a nonconforming home;
  • For an addition or new construction of a home with a lot of 10,000 sq. ft. or more located adjacent to a creek;
  • For any exterior changes or additions to a historic home;
  • For a new flag-lot development; and
  • For a new subdivision of 5 or more homes.

More information on application materials and fees are available here.

Even if a planning permit is not required, your plans will need to be reviewed by a planner at the public counter before you can submit for building permits. You should always have a Planner and Public Works Engineer review preliminary plans of your project prior to drafting plans for Building permit review to ensure no issues arise when you are trying to submit for building permits.

Building Permits

Building permits are required for most construction activities to confirm the work being completed is built to the current California Building Code and City standards. Permits are not required for some minor repairs or modifications, such as repairing dry wall, painting and carpeting. However, permits are required for work that involves installing/replacing equipment and upgrading or replacing structural or building components of the home, such as, but not limited to, reroofing, replacing a porch, installing an AC unit, replacing a water heater, installing new windows, etc.  

Call to confirm if a building permit is needed for your project at (650) 903-6313.

Specific information and materials are required to be submitted to the Building Division for building permit review. For information on requirements and review timelines for single-family homes, visit the Building Division's single-family home new construction page or addition/remodel page.

Construction Thresholds

Construction thresholds for additions, remodels and new construction, which may add additional cost or scope to your proposed project include:

  • For a new single-family home or any addition of 500 or more habitable sq. ft. to an existing single-family home may be subject to school impact fees. Properties are given credit for existing legally-constructed building square footage.
  • Any addition, or equivalent remodel, of 600 sq. ft. is subject to Public Works review, where one or more of the following improvements may be required (some of which may require a sidewalk or excavation permit if located in the public right-of-way):
    • Inspection and replacement of the sanitary sewer lateral;
    • Replacement of the driveway apron to meet accessibility requirements;
    • Reconstruction of a portion of sidewalk, if there are major cracks or breaks;
    • Upsizing the water service and meter, if a fire sprinkler system is installed.
  • Any addition of 1,000 sq. ft. or more must comply with the Mountain View Green Building Code.
    Any new living unit (new construction of a single-family home) may be subject to the Park Dedication In-Lieu fee collected by the Public Works Department. The fee ranges between approximately $15,000 to $30,000. To determine if your new construction is subject to the fee and for a fee estimate contact the Public Works Department at (650) 903-6311.
  • A residential fire sprinkler system is required with: (1) any new construction home, (2) any addition that results in a total size of 4,100 sq. ft. (new + existing sq. ft.), and (3) any addition which doubles the size of an existing home.
  • Any new addition or remodeling of an existing home built pre-1978, where children or pregnant women reside during construction, must comply with the US EPA regulations for prevention of lead poisoning.