Grading Permits

Grading permits are required by Washoe County with the intent  to limit the impact of development to the surrounding community and to avoid unintended consequences. The extent of the permitting is based on both the size of the project and the location. Larger projects may require additional applications for major grading.

When is a Grading Permit Required?

Requirements to obtain a Grading Building Permit are outlined in Washoe County Development Code. Permits are submitted through our Building Team. 

Grading Permit Not Required: Grading permit is not required for grading of 50 cubic yards or less of soil on your parcel and does not disturb more than 10,000 square feet,provided the area is not located within a drainage facility or a special flood hazard area. 

Grading Permit is Required: A grading permit is required for grading more than 50 cubic yards of soil on your site or disturbing more than 10,000 square feet of land. 

Grading Permit is Required:  A grading permit is required for any grading within a drainage facility including but not limited to a paved or unpaved swale, a paved or unpaved graded ditch, a gutter, a culvert, a trench drain, a catch basin, a drop inlet, a bio retention swale, a detention/retention basin, an infiltration basin, a dam, a pond, a wetland or a natural drainage. 

See Washoe County Development Code Article 438 (Division Four)  for a complete list of requirements 

More Information on Major Grading Permits

Extensive grading of a site requires a special use permit for major grading. A land entitlement application is submitted with the Planning team guided through a public review process.  

A special use permit for major grading is required for moving more that 1,000 or 5,000 cubic yards of soil depending on the slope. In addition, they are required for grading larger areas of land (more than 1 acre or 20% of larger parcels). They may also be required for work within a flood zone. For a complete list, please review Washoe County Development Code Article 438. 

The purpose of the special use permit is to identify and evaluate the impacts (i.e., storm water conveyance systems and flood management among others) to provide an opportunity to put in place, prior to construction, appropriate and required protections to reduce those impacts. 

The additional review also ensures the communities’ area plan is considered in the proposal. The area plan is created with extensive input from community members and includes requirements to guide development in support of the community's character.