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Los Altos Hills Building and Remodeling Information
Los Altos Hills prides itself as the smallest incorporated town in the state with 8.4 square miles and a population of about 8,700 (as of 2009). The town has a number of ordinances that preserve the beautiful rural atmosphere. For example, new home construction and major additions require a landscaping plan and deposit. Unique features of a property and its impacts might employ supplemental conditions that would not be applied to other properties. Thus the planning process can be more complex in Los Altos Hills than in other communities.
Go to City of Los Altos Building and Remodeling Information
Town of Los Altos Hills Building Department
The Los Altos Hills Building and Planning departments are located in the Town Hall (itself a product of a design competition and built in 2005)
26379 Fremont Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Green Building in Los Altos Hills
A new residence must attain either a minimum threshold in Build It Green’s GreenPoint rating system or US Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes checklists. The Green Building program is designed to be accessible, flexible and attainable, and encourages voluntary participation for remodels and additions. The town urges residents to recycle building material waste and offers a recylcing hotline: (800) 533-8414.
Building a Basement in Los Altos Hills
As of 2006, the Town of Los Altos Hills has a basement ordinance which applies to basement design of new custom home construction and home remodeling projects. Floor area that meets the criteria of a basement is exempt from floor area ratio (FAR) calculations. Depending on the natural grade, a portion of the floor area of a basement might not meet the basement criteria and shall contribute to the FAR. A basement design that is outside of the above-ground perimeter of a home can be built as long as it is approved by the Planning Commission. A daylighted basement must also comply with the Town’s grading policy. A referral for a geotechnical consultant is recommended early in the design phase when considering construction below grade or on a hillside.
Getting a Building Permit in Los Altos Hills
If you’re not sure whether your home improvement project requires a building permit, contact the Los Altos Hills building department. The Town of Los Altos Hills will charge a minimum of double the permit fees on work performed without permit. Also, when you sell your home, it is a good idea to show a record of your building permits. While the number of agencies and professionals involved obtaining a building permit can be daunting, having an experienced building professional on the job can make the process seem effortless. For example:
- A demolition permit also requires PG&E approval and a permit from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).
- Most home improvement projects that disturb land (new home construction, major addition, basements, and complex foundations) require a soils report. Careful planning is required to avoid grading between October 15 and April 15. The Town of Los Altos Hills can offer exemptions to do grading during this timeframe.
- Depending on the property location, elementary school fees and high school fees must be paid and proper paperwork must be submitted before Los Altos Hills will grant a building permit.
- While foundations are designed by a licensed structural engineer, some foundations, such as a pier and grade beam foundation, might also require a plan review letter from a geotechnical engineer.
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