I’m thinking about renting, purchasing, or renovating a commercial proper. What do I need to be aware of in regards to City requirements?

When considering opening a business in Mill Valley, it is wise to contact the Planning and Building Department regarding zoning ordinances, use permits, etc. as part of planning your business model. It is highly recommended this consultation take place before entering into any sort of lease or purchase agreement. Once it is determined that the endeavor is feasible, the next stop should be Building if any sort of alteration to the interior or exterior of the structure that houses the business is being considered. At this juncture, we can advise you as to other departments or agencies that may be involved in the approval process, as well as which building codes and ordinances may be applicable.

A major consideration on the Building Department side is accessibility. Accessibility is defined in the California Building Code as: "the combination of various elements in a building, facility, site, or area, or portion thereof which allows access, circulation and the full use of the building and facilities by persons with disabilities." Almost any type of alteration will trigger the requirement for some degree of accessibility upgrade to the building or site.

Accessibility is an extremely complicated and potentially litigious subject. The importance of retaining experienced and competent accessibility consultants and/or design professionals as an integral part of your potential alterations and how they impact your overall business model cannot be overstated. While Building staff can advise on applicable code interpretations, we cannot act in the role of a consultant. Competent professionals may be worth their weight in gold in this arena.

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1. My neighbor's construction project is making a lot of noise - what is allowed?
2. Do I need a building permit?
3. What are the dangers of mold and mildew and whom do I call if I encounter this problem?
4. It seems like almost anything I improve, repair, or replace on my property requires a permit. Why is this?
5. OK, I think I’m ready to apply for a permit. What information does the City need to begin the process?
6. How long will it take before I can get my permit?
7. Can I get started on the project before I actually obtain my permit?
8. What are these additional charges that don’t seem relevant to the scope of my project? What is a Road Impact Fee? Drainage Fee?
9. Does my project need to be completed within a certain time?
10. I’m thinking about renting, purchasing, or renovating a commercial proper. What do I need to be aware of in regards to City requirements?
11. How far in advance do story poles have to be put up? How long do they stay up?
12. I don’t understand how getting a permit for my project will actually benefit me; it just costs me money. What happens if I just do the work, and don’t bother with a permit?
13. I’m a property owner and I'd like to get a copy of the original set of building plans for my house. Do I still need approval of the design professional?
14. Why should pools be maintained and what should I do if I know of someone with a pool that is not being maintained?
15. I’m a new business owner and will be replacing the old sign with my new name. Do I still need a sign permit?
16. What days are no-construction work days?
17. I’m considering a home improvement/repair project, and I’m not sure where to start. What’s my first step?
18. Is there any way to expedite my approval, especially if it is a small project?
19. What do I do if I own or know of a vacant, unsecured substandard structure?
20. How does the inspection process work?
21. How do I report a code violation?
22. I can’t decide whether to hire a licensed contractor, or be my own contractor and manage the project myself to save money. What are the pros and cons of each?
23. RBR (re-sale) inspection - If unpermitted work or expired permits are discovered, what do I do?
24. How much will my building permit cost?
25. I am concerned about hoarding – what do I do?