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The maximum number of dogs permitted over six months of age cannot exceed four and a conditional use permit is required to operate as a dog fancier. In order to apply for a dog fancier’s permit you must live on land that is zoned open space or single-family residential 1 dwelling units per acre (DUA) and 2 DUA and any other residential land use district where the applicant’s lot is at least 20,000 square feet in area.
The parcel of land on which livestock are kept shall not be less than 40,000 square feet in single fee ownership. No more than one head of livestock is maintained per twenty thousand square feet of area. In the residential land use districts a conditional use permit is required to keep livestock.
Small farm animals defined as “small un-hooved animals, including, but not limited to, chickens, doves, pigeons, quail, game birds, rabbits and honey bees” may be kept on parcels within the 1-DUA, 2-DUA, 3-DUA, 6-DUA, Study, Institutional, MOSO or non-MOSO open space zoning districts as accessory to an existing permitted single-family residence, duplex, triplex or fourplex. The number of small farm animals (excepting bees) permitted on a given lot is based on gross lot area as follows:
Small farm animals (excepting bees) must be fenced at all times and have access to a coup cage or similar structure, which:
The keeping of honey bee colonies is also permitted at the following densities, based on gross lot area:
One nucleus colony may be kept for each honey bee colony permitted on a parcel.
To review all of the small farm animal keeping regulations, please refer to Moraga Municipal Code Section 8.92 “Animal Keeping”.
Leaf blowers can be operated during daylight hours (from dusk to dawn) - MMC Section 7.12.080.
The Moraga Municipal Code 7.12 restricts noise levels in residential areas. If you are disturbed by a loud noise in your neighborhood, please call the Moraga Planning Department at 925-888-7040, (8 am to 5 pm weekdays) or the Moraga Police Department at 925-376-2515925-376-2515 (weekends, holidays, and 5 pm to 8 am weekdays).
Dogs that bark constantly and disturb neighbors should be reported Contra Costa County Animal Control Services at 925-335-8300. This agency is responsible for enforcing the County’s Barking Dog Ordinance and the Town contracts with the County for this service.
Construction hours are from 8 am to 5 pm (MMC Section 7.12.090). If construction occurs outside of these hours you may call the Police department and report the incident to them. They can be reached through dispatch at 925-284-5010.
Please report abandoned homes/buildings to the Planning Department or the Police Department.
Nuisance abatement is regulated under MMC Chapter 7.16. The process is lengthy because the property owner has to be given every opportunity to act on their own before the Town gains the legal authority to go onto the private property, to abate the nuisance and, to place a special assessment on the property to recover the cost of the abatement. After the Town Council declares the nuisance on the property, certain steps must be followed before the Town can take direct action to abate the nuisance.
Most problems with neighbors are over trees or joint fences. The Town cannot get involved in private disputes, but there is a free agency called Conflict Resolution which is effective in helping people resolve problems. Their number is 925-687-8844, ext. 301.
Every dwelling unit is required to have two covered off-street parking spaces. The required garage or carport shall not be located in the front or side yard setbacks. Each space must measure a minimum of 9 feet by 19 feet.
Public streets are for operational vehicles, which may park a maximum of 72 hour along the side of a road, provided that the center of the road remains unobstructed for a minimum width of 20 feet on a two-lane road.
Recreational-type vehicles must be stored where they are substantially screened from a street or other property by a closed garage, fence or landscaping so that the vehicle is not visible or is barely visible. For vehicles over 6 feet high, at least 70% of the height shall be screened. A recreational-type vehicle includes a boat, bus, camper, any type of vehicle equipped as a dwelling unit and any type of trailer.
Storage is defined as parking for 96 consecutive hours (4 days) or more, or parking for two or more consecutive periods totaling 96 hours when the interval between periods is less than 72 hours. Over-sized or commercial vehicles may not be parked at any time on residential street without a permit.
Overgrown vegetation may attract rodents and may also block street visibility. Please report any such conditions on Mobile Moraga. Staff will inform the property owner they are in violation of Town codes so they can address the concern..
You would need a building permit for any interior or exterior alterations and additions to your home and for various improvements on your property, including any new fences higher than 6-feet, installation of landscaping irrigation systems and retaining walls higher than 3-feet, and construction of accessory buildings over 120 square feet. Most exterior improvements require Town of Moraga Planning Department or Engineering Department approval prior to filing an application for a building permit.
The Town of Moraga uses the Contra Costa County (CCC) Building Department for review, approval and inspection of building permits. The CCC Building Department has a Lamorinda office located at:3685 Mount Diablo BoulevardSuite 120Lafayette, CA 94549
The telephone number of the Lamorinda Building Department office is 925-299-0263. Their office is open from 8 am to noon and 1 pm to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm on Friday. Additional information, including a Lamorinda building permit application form, may be obtained from the county’s website.
The main office of the CCC Conservation and Development Department is located at:30 Muir RoadMartinez, CA 94553
Their telephone number is toll free: 855-DCD-COCO (855-323-2626). You can also schedule appointments at 925-646-4108.
Most building permit applications for termite repair work, re-roofing, solar panel installations on existing roofs and interior remodeling, where no exterior changes to the walls or windows are proposed and where the size of an existing garage will not be modified, may be taken directly to the Contra Costa County Building Department. However, if the work exceeds the Town’s thresholds for recycling construction and demolition materials, then an applicant will need to submit a recycling deposit with the Town prior to applying for a building permit. For, example any re-roofing project for a roof larger than 1,000 square feet (10 squares), would required a recycling deposit.
Reconstruction of a rotten deck will require pictures of the existing deck and the deck cannot be expanded or additional posts added without Town approval.
Windows can be replaced without Town of Moraga Planning Department approval as long as the size of the windows is not increased more than 10% larger than the size of the existing windows and no additional windows are added to the home. An exception to this rule is provided for any increase in the size of a window to comply with egress requirements of the building code. A building permit is necessary to replace the windows.
Alterations to existing curbs require an Encroachment Permit from the Town Engineer’s office. Design Review Board approval is required for any paved parking area in the front yard whose width exceeds the width of the garage (Moraga Municipal Code Section 8.76.100-F). Driveway paving longer than 50 feet or wider than 16 feet should be constructed of previous paving materials (Design Guidelines SFR1.7) (See Guideline D9.2).
For more information, please refer to the Town of Moraga Design Guidelines document.
You generally do not need a building permit to construct fences of 6-feet or less in height on your property; however, you do need Zoning Administrator approval to build a fence higher than 3-feet in the front yard setback or exterior side yard setback on corner lots (Moraga Municipal Code (MMC) Section 8.68.040-A). The height of a fence is measured from the highest point of the fence to the lowest point of the finished grade below the fence.
You may be able to obtain easement information from the Planning Department or your preliminary title report.
Buildings cannot encroach into recorded easements on the property regardless of the setbacks from the property lines. Drainage or scenic easements along creek channels can often be 80-feet or more in width.
Plans for the work within the drainage easement are reviewed by the Town Engineer and certified that they will not increase the velocity or turbulence of the water in the creek channel and thereby increase the hazard of erosion and flooding to other property owners on the creek. Following the Town Engineer’s approval, an agreement is drafted between the applicant and the Town, which includes hold harmless provisions and insurance requirements to lessen the Town’s potential liability. The Town Attorney reviews the agreement and then the application is brought before the Town Council for their approval.
Contra Costa County Code Section 914-14 stipulates the required setbacks for structures from unimproved earth channels and drainage easements. Most of the creeks in Moraga are within drainage or scenic easements. A geotechnical engineer should also be consulted when construction is planned near a creek channel, since the danger of creek bank slope failure is always a concern.
Any improvement, including a retaining wall, within a creek channel or drainage easement requires approval from the Department of Fish and Game and a Drainage Easement Encroachment Permit from the Town. The State Department of Fish and Game prefers that creeks and streams should be preserved or restored to their natural state whenever possible. Generally, only improvements to stabilize a creek bank or repair a landslide into a creek are approved. Modifications to creek channels must comply with the Goals and Policies of the Open Space and Conservation Element of General Plan.
Dumping of concrete rubble and boulders into a creek channel can actually increase the turbulence of the water and the erosion rate of the creek channel. Unauthorized "improvements" to a creek channel could expose a property owner to lawsuits from downstream neighbors who claim that the modifications to the creek have caused damage to their property. It is advisable to consult an engineer with expertise in hydraulic calculations if you want to make alterations to a creek channel. It is also advisable to consult a geotechnical engineer if work in the creek channel involves repair of a landslide.
Most creek maintenance is the responsibility of the private property owner. The Town’s creek cleaning activities are almost entirely within the street right-of-way, or in certain stream beds known as Monday through ditches. Property owners are encouraged to check creek beds and sides for overgrown weeds, trees, or brush which will impede the flow of water. If you have questions regarding responsibility of maintenance or to report creek dumping please call the Town Public Services office at 925-888-7026.
The building setbacks for residential properties in Moraga depend upon the zoning district.
Most of the homes in Moraga were built prior to the Town’s incorporation in November of 1974, and the Contra Costa County Building Department did not start to microfiche copies of plans until the middle of 1986 when Title 24 took effect. Therefore, we do not have plans for most of the homes in Moraga. If there were any additions or improvements done to the home after 1986, the Building Department may have copies of some of those plans on microfiche.
Property information can be obtained from the Planning Department.
The Contra Costa County Building Department may require a survey of a property line to verify the required setbacks for construction. Do not assume that a fence is a reliable marker for the location of a side or rear property line.
Depending on the width of the public right-of-way, the front property line is generally located 7 to 12 feet behind the face of curb or edge of paving. You may check with the Planning or Engineering Department to determine the exact distance between the face of curb and your front property line based on the improvement plans for the subdivision. If the proposed construction is within 5-feet of the minimum required setback you will have to provide a survey to confirm the location of the proposed improvement on the lot.
Building setbacks are the minimum distance measured perpendicular to the property lines, except for homes on private roads. On private streets the front and exterior side yard setbacks are measured from a line that is 26-feet from the center of the private street, which is one-half of the 52-foot right-of-way width specified for a minor street. (MMC Section 8.68.110)
In some cases a geotechnical engineer may recommend structural setbacks greater than the Town’s minimum setback requirements to provide a safe distance from the bank of a creek channel or bottom of a potentially hazardous landslide area. On residential projects that require a use permit or subdivision approval, the conditions of project approval may include additional setbacks to address scenic corridor issues or mitigation measures from an environmental study.
For two-story buildings, the minimum side yard setback shall be increased by one additional foot for each foot of "end wall" height greater than 20-feet. End wall height is the maximum vertical height from finished grade to outer roof surface at the side yard (Design Guidelines SFR2.6).
Information on the location and width of the public right-of-way for a particular street can be obtained from the Planning Department.
Surveys are required for variance applications and may be required by the Building Department to verify the required setback for construction. If the proposed construction is within 2-feet of the minimum required setback then a survey is encouraged to accurately plot the location of the home on the lot. (Please note that fences are NOT reliable markers for the location of property lines).
Review and approval by the Design Review Board is required for any building, exterior addition, signs, sculptures or structures, including walls or fences 3 feet or more in height that are within 500 feet of a scenic corridor and can be seen from the scenic corridor road. The following roads are designated as scenic corridors (MMC Sections 8.132.020 and 8.132.040 and Design Guidelines SC):
The only permitted use on properties zoned "OS" (Open Space) and "OS-M" (Open Space -MOSO) is agriculture. Any residential use requires approval of a Open Space Conditional Use Permit or a Moraga Open Space Ordinance Application by the Moraga Planning Commission prior to approval of plans by the DRB (MMC Section 8.52.040). The Planning Commission will establish the development standards for the project site, such as minimum lot size, building setbacks, maximum building height, etc. (MMC Section 8.52.050). Development is also prohibited above the 800-foot contour line on minor ridges and within hazardous areas.
Waste Management Plan Acknowledgement forms (PDF) are required for any project which includes an addition or alteration to a building that increases conditioned area, size, construction; or projects with a valuation of $50,000 or greater and demolition-only projects of 300 square feet or greater. The form is an agreement that project waste materials will be diverted from the landfill through recycling and salvage, and that recycling receipts will be uploaded to Green Halo Systems, a web interface.
Political signs are considered Temporary Freestanding Signs and can be placed without a permit on private property with permission from the property owner, but cannot be placed in the public-right-of way. Signs cannot exceed 6 square feet and shall be removed within 10 days after the election. Permanent political signs require a permit and shall comply with Chapter 8.88 of the Municipal Code.
A kitchen would have a 220-volt power and a range or a built-in oven and stove-top.
Residential roof-mounted solar panels under 10 kilowatts are exempt from design review and approval, but require Contra Costa County building permit. Non-exempt solar projects must be reviewed by the Planning Department. These include commercial solar panels installations, solar panels supported by a new structure or new ground mounted racks which may be subject to design review and approval.
A home occupation is permitted in any residential land use district in accordance with the performance standards listed in MMC Section 8.112.030. Only the residents of the dwelling unit can be employed at a home occupation, which must be an accessory use to the primary residential use. No sign or advertising may be displayed and no other exterior evidence of the home occupation shall be visible from off site. A phone number may be listed in the "Yellow Pages", but not the address of the residence where the business is located (MMC Chapter 8.112).
Licensed small family child care homes may care for up 8 children and licensed large family child care homes may care for up to 14 children. Small and large family child care homes are defined in California Health and Safety Code section 1596.78. The Town does not require any licensed family child care home to obtain a zoning permit or business license, in accordance with California Health and Safety Code section 1597.45.
No. They are prohibited in all zoning districts.
Solicitors must register with the Police Department, and are given a permit which they must carry and exhibit on request. They shall not create any public nuisance or disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood by the use of loud noise, brilliant lights or any act offensive to the senses. If you do not want solicitors to come to your door, you must post a sign stating "No Peddlers or Solicitors" to prohibit them from your property.
Sidewalks are not maintained by the Town of Moraga. Repair of cracks in sidewalks are the responsibility of the abutting property owner. A property owner may be required to make repairs to the sidewalk along their frontage if the Town determines a public safety hazard exists.
You should consult with the Engineering Department at 329 Rheem Boulevard; however, an Encroachment Permit (PDF) is generally required for any construction within the public right-of-way, including:
Public streets should not be used for the temporary storage of construction or landscaping materials, such as stacks of lumber, piles of sand or landscape boulders. An encroachment permit is also required for the temporary use of a public street, such as placement and pickup of a trash collection dumpster. A deposit may be required to cover the cost of repair of damaged paving as a result of the encroachment.
Yes, Housing Element Policy H3.4 states: The Town shall continue to allow the renting of rooms/quarters in single family homes as a permitted use in single-family zones to help meet the needs of extremely low-income households and students enrolled in Saint Mary’s and other colleges, provided the character of the neighborhood is not adversely affected.
No. The Town Council adopted a Grading Ordinance for the Town of Moraga (Moraga Municipal Code Title 14) on July 26, 2006. Review, approval and inspections for grading are done by the Town’s Engineering Department; however, depending on the slope of the property, a grading permit may require approval by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission or Town Council.
A grading permit is required for any earth movement of more than 50 cubic yards, a cut or fill greater than 3-feet deep and for other conditions as specified in Moraga Municipal Code (MMC Section 14.04.031). MMC Section 14.04.032 lists exemptions to grading permits.
There are three procedures for grading permit approval depending on the slope and quantity of soil displacement. Grading permits may be approved administratively by the Design Review Administrator for slopes less than 20% and for grading of less than 200 cubic yards.
Design Review Board approval is required for grading permits for slopes of 20% or more and where the average predevelopment slope in the area of disturbance is less than 25% and for grading of more than 200 cubic yards.
All grading operations, including landslide repair or slope stabilization, on predevelopment average slopes greater than or equal to 25% require review by the Planning Commission with a recommendation to the Town Council.
Grading plans need to show the existing topography with a 2-foot contour interval and the proposed alteration in the contours. The total amount of cut or excavated earth and fill soil shall be tallied on the plan. By connecting all the points where the proposed contours diverge from the existing contours, the "area of disturbance" can be shown. The average slope of the area of disturbance needs to be calculated on the plan.
If the project involves grading on any slope steeper than 20%, then a Hillside Development Permit is required and the applicant must submit a report from a qualified geotechnical engineer. The cost of peer review by an independent geotechnical consultant under contract with the Town of Moraga shall be paid for any projects where building is planned in the area of grading or the grading is in close proximity to buildings.
If any grading is occurring during the winter, then a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) and erosion control plan shall be reviewed by the Town Engineer for consistency with the regulations in MMC Section 14.48.
The slope density ordinance for the Town of Moraga states that no person may grade, clear, construct upon or alter hillside land without a hillside development permit (MMC Section 8.136.040). Hillside land is defined as any slope of 20% or greater. A 20% slope is equivalent to a 1:5 vertical to horizontal ratio or 11.3 degree angle.
Various factors listed in MMC Section 8.136.070 are considered in reviewing a Hillside Development Permit (HDP), including slope stability analysis, soil characteristics and drainage, among others. Geotechnical reports are usually required from applicants and are subject to peer review by the Town’s Geotechnical consultant. The cost of the peer review is paid by the applicant.
Exterior retaining walls shall be limited to five feet in height, unless it is visible from off site, in which it shall be no higher than 3 feet. (Design Guidelines ID11.2) The horizontal depth of the terraces between stacked retaining walls should be a minimum of twice the height of the larger adjacent wall (Design Guidelines ID11.4). Retaining walls should be built a minimum of three feet from a property line (Design Guidelines ID11.5). An application to the Design Review Board is required if any exceptions to the above guidelines are requested.
A Hauling Permit is required if more than 500 cubic yards of material will be transported to or from a site (MMC Section 14.04.0). The hauling permit is reviewed and approved by the Town Council. Grading projects should try to balance the cut and fill on the property and minimize off-hauling of soil. For more information, please refer to the Public Works Department.
If the vegetative cover has been removed from a property for construction or grading, then erosion control measures must be installed by October 1st prior to the winter storm season. The storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) shall be submitted for review and approval by the Town Engineer. Builders and grading contractors are responsible to insure that all sediments remain on the project site.
Generally, the Town prefers natural appearing slopes. When grading is done to create padded lots, the Town’s Design Guidelines require a minimum 10-foot near level clearance along one side of a home for access to the rear yard and a minimum of 6 feet near level clearance on any 3 sides of a building or structure. (Design Guidelines SFR1.10) A 25-foot by 40-foot level yard area is also required on padded lots and this area cannot be within the required front yard.
Anyone making an excavation within the public right-of-way, which generally includes 7 to 12 feet of property between your front property line and the curb or edge of pavement, should contact Underground Service Alert (USA) at 800-642-2444 at least two days before you dig to identify the location of existing underground utility lines, such as gas lines, cable TV and fiber optic telecommunications lines.
Modifications to any exterior feature of a home or any new construction for building additions, pools, spas, decks, gazebos, etc, must be approved by the Town of Moraga Planning Department prior to application for a building permit. Exterior modifications would include design changes such as enlargement of existing windows.
If the proposed improvements conform to the required building setbacks, applicable Municipal Code requirements and the Town’s Design Guidelines, then the project may qualify for Administrative Design Review (ADR) by the planning staff. If an ADR application is complete, the approval process takes approximately 60 days. For all above ground exterior alterations, the Moraga Municipal Code requires 10-days notice to neighbors before approving a project and then there is a 10-day appeal period after the project has been approved.
ADR applications are available at the Planning Department Office at 329 Rheem Boulevard in Moraga. The telephone number for the Planning Department is 925-888-7040.
Design Review Board (DRB) review and approval is required for all new homes. DRB approval is also required if an applicant is seeking one or more exceptions to the Town’s Design Guidelines. The most common requests for exceptions include homes that exceed the maximum floor area under the Towns floor area ratio (FAR) guidelines, and additions or decks on hillsides where the floor elevation is more than 4-feet above grade
Design Review Board approval takes about 90 days on average. The Board generally meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, but applications need to be filed at least 20 days prior to a meeting date. Ten days prior to the meeting the public meeting notice is mailed to all property owners within 300-feet of an applicant’s property. DRB applications are available at the Planning Department Office at:329 Rheem BoulevardMoraga, CA
The maximum building height cannot exceed 35 feet or two stories, except at Saint Mary’s College and in the Moraga Center Specific Plan Area. The building height is the maximum vertical distance between any point of the roof or parapet walls and the existing grade directly beneath. The total or "aggregate" building height for structures on hillside lots cannot exceed 45 feet, measured from the highest point on the roof or parapet wall to the lowest point of the foundation at the approved grade.
On padded lots total building heights greater than 28 feet for two-story homes and 19 feet for single story homes shall require Design Review Board approval and special siting or design treatment to mitigate height (Design Guidelines SFR1.4).
Not necessarily. Many second story additions have been approved with the Administrative Design Review process. A second story addition to an existing one story home will require Design Review Board approval if the second story addition will result in more than two 2-story homes on adjacent lots (Design Guidelines SFR1.1) or if the second story addition can be seen from a designated scenic corridor (MMC Section 8.132.040-A-2). Second story additions that exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) on lots 40,000 square feet or smaller will require Design Review Board approval.
A project that encroaches into the required building setbacks cannot be approved until an application for a variance is considered by the Planning Commission. Specific findings listed in MMC Section 8.12.130 are necessary for a variance to be approved. The findings are difficult to make and relatively few variances are approved. Unless there are physical constraints on a project site that prevent an applicant from building within the required setbacks and the approval of the variance will not constitute a special privilege, applicants are well advised to avoid seeking a variance. Variance applications are available at the Planning Department Office at:329 Rheem BoulevardMoraga.
An accessory building is a subordinate detached building the use of which is incidental to that of a primary building on the same lot. All accessory buildings must conform to the required building setbacks for principal structures unless the Planning Commission grants a variance. There is an exception to this setback requirement for any shed, greenhouse or playhouse not exceeding a total of 120 square feet in floor area, with a height of no more than eight feet. A structure or building that meets that description may be located anywhere within a required side or rear yard, provided that it is reasonably screened from view from the front of the property by a fence, building, or landscaping.
Examples of accessory buildings include, but are not necessarily limited to:
A building permit is not required for an accessory building that is less than 120 square feet and has no electrical power or plumbing installed.
An accessory structure is a subordinate structure the use of which is incidental to that of a primary building or structure on the same lot. Accessory structures must be set back at least 50 feet from the front property line. Accessory structures that are 8-feet or less in height may be constructed 3-feet from the side and rear yard property lines. A single arbor-style entry element in the front yard setback of a residential property is permitted if it is located over a walkway or pathway and does not exceed nine feet in height, five feet in width, three feet in depth and provided that such entry element does not create sight obstructions.
The Design Review Board may approve a minimum 3-foot side or rear yard setback for an accessory structure higher than 8-feet. Accessory Structures 15 feet or taller require Design Review Board approval. Examples of accessory structures include, but are not limited to, a pergola, arbor, trellis, patio cover, outdoor kitchen, deck, and cistern.
Decks require a building permit and a railing is required if the deck is 30-inches or more above the ground. Design Review Board approval is required for decks supported by posts that are 4-feet or higher. If the overall height of a deck above the ground exceeds 6-feet the Design Review Board would need to make a design guideline exception. (Design Guidelines SFR2.10). Photographs must be submitted to the Planning Department prior to an application for a building permit for replacement or reconstruction of an existing deck, which may be legally non-conforming to the Town’s Design Guidelines.
Any open, uncovered deck 24 inches or less above existing grade may extend into the minimum required building setback if the design and setbacks conform to Section 8.70.040 of the code. Expansion of an existing deck that does not conform to the Town’s Design Guidelines will require Design Review Board approval. Any deck with a floor higher than 24 inches above existing grade shall comply with the setbacks of the primary building, except that a new or expanded deck attached to a residential building, where such building does not conform with current setback requirements, shall be subject to the provisions of Section 8.20.060. Decks that exceed 6 feet in height shall be substantially screened by landscaping.
The Design Review Board may require the property owner to enter into a landscape installation and maintenance agreement with the Town (Design Guidelines SFR2.12a). Decks built on slopes that are 20% or steeper will also require a Hillside Development Permit and generally required a geotechnical report with slope stability analysis.
An accessory dwelling unit can be fully enclosed within an existing residence or accessory building or attached to or detached from a existing primary single family dwelling. An accessory dwelling unit provides complete independent living facilities, including sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation, on the same parcel as the existing primary single family dwelling. The Town’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance provides for the ministerial approval of accessory dwelling units by the Planning Director provided that the application is consistent with all the criteria in MMC Sections 8.124.060 and 8.124.070.
Accessory dwelling units cannot exceed one story or more than 19-feet high and cannot be built over a garage or basement. The interior living area must be between 150 and 800 square feet. One off-street parking space may be required for an attached or detached accessory dwelling unit, in addition to the two covered parking spaces required for the primary residence. Ministerial approval requires that all the requirements listed in Moraga Municipal Code Chapter 8.124 must be met, certain exceptions may be allowed through approval of a Conditional Use Permit.
Some uses are not permitted within a public street such as installation of basketball standards, banners over streets and signs, except for traffic control and directional signs as specified in the Town’s sign ordinance (MMC Section 8.88.210).
Children’s outdoor play structures should follow the regulations that pertain to accessory buildings and accessory structures.
It depends. A permit is required for the removal of a native tree, orchard tree or a tree of historical significance. To determine if a tree is protected, please see the Moraga Native Tree list (PDF), also found on the Planning Departments Applications and Important Documents page or contact the Planning Department at 925-888-7040
Pools, pool equipment and spas may be located a minimum distance of 5-feet from the side and rear property lines, with a minimum 20-foot front setback and 15-foot exterior side yard setback (MMC Section 8.70.050).
Pools and Spas require a building permit and can also require a grading permit if they involve excavation of more than 50-cubic yards or placement of the excavated soil on the project site. Pools on flat or "padded" lots may be approved by the Planning staff. If the excavated earth of the pool or spa is placed on the project site or moved to another site in Moraga, then a grading plan would be reviewed in accordance with the Town’s Grading Ordinance (MMC Chapter 14). Approval of the grading necessary to construct a pool on a hillside with a slope steeper than 20% would also require submittal of a geotechnical report and approval by the Design Review Board of a Hillside Development Permit (MMC Section 8.136.040).
The location of any sub-drains installed with the grading of the subdivision should be shown on the plans so that the pool contractor can avoid the sub-drains during excavation of the pool. An arborist’s report will be required if the pool is located within the drip line of any Native Tree over 5 inches in diameter measured three feet above the ground. Retaining walls or bond beams shall be limited to five feet in height, unless it is visible from off site, in which case it shall be no higher than three feet (Design Guidelines ID11.2).
Contact the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control at 925-771-6196, or visit their website.
Discussing the tree with your neighbor or homeowners association is the best way to approach the issue. Unfortunately, The Town cannot get involved if the issue cannot be solved since it is a civil matter between neighbors.
Shrubs and fences cannot exceed 3 feet in height and trees must be trimmed to the trunk below 6 feet in height to avoid sight obstructions at intersections of streets and driveways. You should consult MMC Section 8.80.010 for the required sight-distance triangle at intersections.
A building permit is required from the Contra Costa County Building Department for irrigation systems to verify that proper back flow devices have been installed and to ensure that negative pressure will not draw fertilizers into the drinking water supply. Landscaping for new homes would require irrigation controllers with rain sensors to shut them off during wet weather. Individuals installing irrigation systems should follow the water conservation guidelines promulgated by East Bay Municipal Utility District.
Generally, landscaping between the curb or edge of pavement and your front or exterior side property line does not require an encroachment permit; however, this landscaping can be removed if work is necessary by the Town or a public utility within the public right-of-way. The Town Engineering Department, at 329 Rheem Boulevard, has guidelines for landscaping within the right-of-way, such as the maximum size of boulders or rocks. Fences, retaining walls, drainage pipes and other structures are not "landscaping" and they would require an encroachment agreement from the Town.
The Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD) office is located at:33 Orinda WayOrinda, CA 94563
The Fire Marshal can be reached for an appointment at 925-258-4520. The MOFD reviews all plans for modifications to homes, including interior remodeling. Building plans may be dropped off at the address listed above Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 4 pm.
The primary purpose of review by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) is to make sure that any new buildings or additions to buildings do not encroach on any easements for sanitary sewer pipes. New homes may require the payment of sewer connection fees. The permit office is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. The office is located at:5019 Imhoff PlaceMartinez, CA
Information regarding the plan review process is available at 925-229-7371.
Properties under the jurisdiction of an active Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and subject to Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) require approval by the Association before the plans are submitted to the Town of Moraga for approval. All single family homes in the Moraga Country Club and Sanders Ranch, as well as projects in townhouse and condominium developments would require HOA approval. The project plans should be stamped by the HOA or a letter of approval signed by authorized members of the HOA with reference to the date on the approved plans shall be submitted to Moraga Planning Department staff.
The Moraga-Orinda Fire District’s Hazardous Wildfire Fuels Reduction Program provides a wide-range of resources for residents. You can also reach the Fire Prevention Office at 925-258-4599.
Assessor maps may be obtained from the Planning Department or the Contra Costa County Building Department.
Contact the Contra Costa County Animal Control Services at 925-335-8300. The County has a truck they can dispatch to the scene. You will need to give them a location and answer a few brief questions about the incident.
The Town contracts with the Contra Costa County for its code enforcement services. When necessary, the Town calls upon the County Code Enforcement Officer.