FAQs  | Forms and Downloads | Fees and Deposits | AsBuilt Drawings | Water Consultant List

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Can the County of Ventura require a natural geologic hazard to be mitigated by the property owner(s)?

A:  If the property has not been improved where the geologic hazard is located or entitled for development, the County does not have the power to order the owners of the parcels to do or not to do any specific act as to natural conditions.

The County’s nuisance abatement ordinance defines public nuisances as conditions of real property that exist in violation of any of the laws, statutes and ordinances within the power of the County to enforce.  (Ventura County Ord. Code, div. 13, §13050.)

As to the ability of the County to initiate a lawsuit under the general laws of the state, we are not aware of any grounds to bring a nuisance abatement action based solely on the existence of natural conditions on a parcel of land.  (See Civ. Code, § 3479.)

While a landowner’s failure to exercise ordinary care with respect to dangerous natural conditions on his property might form the basis for tort liability (Lussier v. San Lorenzo Valley Water Dist. (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 92), that does not give the County authority to coerce the property owner to take remedial action in advance of a storm or other event.

Moreover, if neighboring landowners believe that a nuisance abatement action is possible under such circumstances, they are free to bring their own public nuisance abatement actions.  “[A]ny person whose property is injuriously affected or whose personal enjoyment is lessened by a nuisance as defined in the Civil Code may bring an action to enjoin such nuisance, whether it be a public or a private nuisance.”  (47 Cal.Jur.3d (2015) Nuisances, § 63.)

The County’s policy with respect to hazardous geologic zones is to educate the residents about the hazardous conditions, and notify them of potentially dangerous weather conditions.  If warranted, the County’s emergency agencies implement voluntary and/or mandatory evacuation orders to protect life and property.

Even if permitted by the landowner, it is the County’s policy not to make physical alterations to privately owned land to mitigate dangerous natural conditions.  Especially with respect to areas with geologic hazards, it is not economically or practically feasible to make improvements sufficient to prevent all future adverse events.  Aside from the economic issues associated with spending vast sums of taxpayer money to benefit a few, such actions would expose the County to tremendous potential liability.  Persons harmed by future events would almost certainly claim that the County’s actions contributed to the future harm, or redirected the harm from one neighbor to another.

Local government simply does not have the powers or resources to effectively ensure that residents in or near a geologic hazard zone will never suffer damage due to the geologic hazard.

Q: Why is Grading Regulated?


A: Grading is regulated because it can cause serious problems when not done properly and can result in damage to your property or other property or result in the deposition of sediment or debris on public right of way, private property, streams or natural water courses, or otherwise cause a nuisance. Newly exposed soil subjected to the elements of the weather can erode easily, moving from areas where you want it (e.g., on the hill behind your house) to areas where you don’t want it (e.g., up against your house, in a street or natural water course, or on a neighbor’s property).

If native soil underlying a new building pad is not adequately compacted or if the soil density varies too much, the building may settle and suffer structural damage. Excessive grading may cause loss of natural vegetation, accelerated erosion potential, habitat intrusion, soil instability, and visual scarring and may also damage other natural resources for years to come. Even minor grading can change the way water drains across a property, which can cause erosion problems that may affect existing drainage patterns, road access to a home or even an entire community.

A grading permit is required for all but a limited scope of earth-moving operations so that these problems can be prevented. Even when a permit is not required, you should still use great care in grading construction to preserve your own property and to protect adjoining properties and public roads. You may be asking yourself when is a grading permit required, the Ventura Building Code Appendix J provides specifics for when a grading permit is required.

Q:  My neighbor’s is moving a lot of dirt on their property. I am concerned that it is not legal. I would like to know if there is a permit, who can I check with to see if it is permitted?

A: If the amount of grading is significant, the contractor should be working under the provisions of a Ventura County Grading Permit. Please fill out a grading complaint form and provide picture of the disturbed area. If the amount of dirt is less than 50 Cubic Yards or meets the exemption criteria in the Ventura County Building Code Appendix J, the Contractor may be exempt from obtaining a grading permit. If you are unsure please contact Development Inspection Services.

Q. What is a Floodplain?

A. A floodplain is any land or area susceptible to flooding from creeks, ponds, lakes, or any other water body. Floodplains are mapped by FEMA to show areas potentially flooded by a 100-year storm (or a 1 percent chance of occurring every year) as well as areas flooded by a 500-year storm (or a 0.2 percent chance of occurring every year).

Q. Why are the floodplain maps changing?

A. Floodplain maps need to be updated on a regular basis as more land is developed, as additional flood protection facilities are built, and as more scientific information becomes available. Since technology has improved and methodologies have changed, it is possible to more accurately map the floodplain areas. Consequently, the floodplain maps are changing – and will continue to change in the future – as new improvements are made and development occurs.

Q. If I am not in the floodplain, will I be required to buy flood insurance?

A. We have been advised that mortgage lenders will require you to purchase flood insurance if your property is in a 100-year floodplain. If it is in a 500-year floodplain, you also may be required by your lender to purchase flood insurance. It is the lenders decision, flood insurance is available through your insurance agent. If you do not have federally-related financing (i.e., if you do not have a mortgage, loan, etc.) you are not required by federal regulations to have flood insurance – although it is available for you to purchase.

Q. Where do I purchase flood insurance?

A. Flood insurance is available through your insurance agent. The premiums are relatively consistent because they are set through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Q. How much flood insurance can I purchase and what are the yearly premiums?

A. The maximum flood insurance you can purchase for your property is $250,000. Insurance costs vary between $300 and $1,800 annually and are dependent upon a variety of factors; i.e., deductible, location, occupancy, type and age of structure(s). You may find it advantageous to purchase flood insurance 30 days prior to the date of a the new DFIRM takes effect. The DFIRM may become final as early as September 2006. Flood insurance for some properties may triple after the proposed maps are adopted. In some cases, purchasing insurance before the new maps are adopted may lock in lower rates.

Q. What is the County doing to help?

A. We will continue to construct drainage facilities and/or collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies to construct flood protection facilities in and around unincorporated properties within the floodplain. Construction of these types of facilities will remove properties from the floodplain.

Q. What do I do now?

A. If your property is in an unincorporated area of the County of Ventura, you may want to visit the Watershed Protection District’s website at to review proposed floodplain revision maps to determine if your property is, or will be, in a floodplain. You may also want to contact your insurance agent to discuss flood insurance coverage.

Forms and Downloads

Need to Know when a grading permit is required and what grading activities are exempt? Download the following Handout: When is a grading permit required? You can also view when a grading permit is required in the 2019 Ventura County Building Code.

Grading Permit Application

Floodplain Development 

  • Floodplain Development Permit Application Floodplain Development Permit applications are required by the Land Development Services Division of the Public Works Agency for habitable and non-habitable structure construction in a FEMA designated 1% annual chance floodplain.



DS-49 Subdivision Improvement Cost Estimate .  This worksheet used to calculate Public Works fees and deposits, and to establish surety amounts.(XLS , PDF)

Public Works questionnaire. This form will be used when applying for soils report reviews, acreage assessment fee, floodplain clearance, will serve letters, and WAL reviews. (PDF)

Fees and Deposits

07/01/2020- 07/01/2021

50 cubic yards or more (3 Plan Reviews) $3,875.00
 Pay-As-You-Go Plan Check                                      Total for 3 plan reviews is $3,875.00    1st Plan Check $2,135..00 Deposit
   2nd Plan Check $1,160.00 Deposit
   3rd Plan Check $475.00 Deposit
Complex or Specialized Grading Projects (3 Plan Reviews) $4,520.00
Pay-As-You-Go Plan Check                                       Total for 3 plan reviews is $5,375.00    1st Plan Check $2,490.00 Deposit
   2nd Plan Check $1,350.00 Deposit
   3rd Plan Check $680.00 Deposit
 Additional Grading Plan Check (after 3rd) $475.00 Fee or Deposit
Grading Permit – Plan Check –Fast Track(Review within 7 business days)
Single Lot Grading (Not for complex or multiple pad projects) $4,385.00 *Fee
*The fast track fee includes the cost of a soils or geology report review
Grading Permit – Inspection
Up to 500 cubic yards $4,355.00 **Deposit
Over 500 cubic yards $6,415.00 **Deposit
**$800.00 of the deposit will be kept in trust to close the project.
Grading Permit – Agricultural and Oil Field
 Includes plan review and inspection $3,105.00 Deposit
Grading Permit – Remove and Recompact
 Includes plan review and inspection $1,940.00 Deposit
*Does not include the cost of soils/geology report review
Grading – Temporary Stockpile
 50 cubic yards or more, 9 month maximum $2,070.00 Deposit

07/01/2020- 07/01/2021

Geotechnical Report – Standard Review
   Initial and one follow-up review $1,050.00 Fee/†Deposit
   Each subsequent review or a special meeting to discuss report. $330.00 Fee/†Deposit
Geotechnical Report – Fast Track
   Initial and one-follow-up review $1,260.00 Fee
   Each subsequent review or a special meeting to discuss report $240.00 Fee
†If a soils/geology report review is determined to be complicated the applicant will be required to pay for the actual cost of the review.

09/01/2020- 09/01/2021

Floodplain Zone Clearance $355.00
Floodplain Development Permit:         Residence and/or Detached Garage        (B&S Providing Plan Check Services) $680.00
Floodplain Development Permit:                Non-Residence & Floodproof Certificate    (ex: bridge, barn, water tank) $1,110.00
Floodplain Development Permit:             Simple Projects w/ Floodproof Cert (ex: Carports, wall, pool, shed, septic tank) $950.00
Floodplain Development Permit:                 Fast Track (Residence / Non-Residence) $1,090.00
Floodplain Development Permit:                   50% Substantial Improvement Review (including Permits or Clearance) $520.00
Annual Floodplain Dev Permit:                         Ag and Non-Ag $1,280.00
Flood Elevation Certificate Review & Inspection $655.00
Review Only $440.00
LOMR-F or CLOMR-f Review & Processing submittal to FEMA, included Inspection $1,115.00
Hollywood Beach/Silver Strand Flood Drainage Determination $355.00
Applicant Meetings (beyond standard information) Actual cost based on time by staff.
Wave Run Up Study Review $955.00
Sea Wall Review New Wall or Repair $1,065.00
Record or Release of Notice of Flood Hazard or Floodplain Violation $360.00
Floodplain Violation Fee Actual cost based on investigation time by staff.
Research Actual cost based on research time by staff.
Preliminary Design Assessment $330.00
General Meeting Request Per Hour $275.00
Preliminary Design Subsequent Review $275.00

Asbuilt Drawings

1)  All revisions to the approved Grading plans since the issuance of the original grading permit must be documented on the As-Built plans.

  • If there have been changes to the plans since the last approval, process a Change Order Request before or concurrently with the submittal of the As-Built plans.
  • List all changes to the plans in the revision block on the plan sheets along with the dates of approval, and accompanied by the initials of the civil engineer.
  • Locate the changes on the plan with a delta symbol containing a capital letter corresponding to the revision block.

2)  The civil engineer must sign and stamp the Rough Grade Certification on the as-built cover sheet.

3)  The civil engineer must sign and stamp the Final Grade Certification on the as-built cover sheet.

4)  The soils engineer must sign and stamp the Soils Engineer Rough Grade Certification on the as-built cover sheet.

5)  The engineering geologist must sign and stamp the Engineering Geologist Rough Grade Certification on the as-built cover sheet.

6)  The grading contractor or the owner must sign the Contractor Certification on the as-built cover sheets.

7)  The words:  “As-Built” or “Record Drawing” must be printed in the lower right-hand corner of each sheet of the grading plan, accompanied with the date and signature of the civil engineer.

8)  Submit two sets of plans, one of which is wet stamped and signed, the second set may be a copy of the signed and stamped set.

Watercourse Consultant List









Ventura (V)

Public Works Agency
  • Floodplain Clearances / Permits
  • Floodplain Development Permits/ Information
(805) 654-3027
Public Works Agency

  • Grading Permit
(805) 654-2030
Watershed Protection District
  • Watercourse / Encroachment Permits
(805) 650-4060






Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Streambed Alteration Agreement
  • Endangered Species Permit/MOU

State & Regional Water Quality Control Board

  • Water Quality Certification
  • Waste Discharge Requirements

(213) 576-6600 (LA)

(805) 549-3147 (Ventura)

California Coastal Commission

  • Coastal Consistency Certification
  • Coastal Development Permit

South Central Coast Office89 S California Street #200, Ventura, CA 93001

(805) 585-1800








U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Section 404 of CWA Permit
  • Section 10 of RHA Permit
Los Angeles District 915 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90017213-452-3333 (LA)

Ventura Field Office

(805) 585-2140;

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

National Marine Fisheries Service

  • Section 7 Consultation (USFWS or NMFS)
  • Section 10 Incidental Take Permit (USFWS or NMFS)

(805) 644-1766

(562) 9980-4020

Note:  See the Wetland Project Permitting Guide published by the Ventura County Planning Division here.

For discretionary grading permits public notices please follow this link.

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