Building Permit FAQs

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  • A permit is required for any structure built or moved onto a property, including but not limited to: houses, storage sheds, decks, patios, playhouses and garages.
  • A permit is also required if you are remodeling and planning to change the footprint of the original structure, changing the roof pitch, or making any structural changes.
  • Permitting procedures are relatively similar for all projects.
  • Before issuing any permit Pope County Land and Resource Management requires that subsurface sewage treatment systems over 5 years old obtain a compliance inspection.
  • In most cases, a permit is not needed for new siding, windows or shingles, or remodeling projects that do not affect the exterior footprint.
  • Please check with our office to determine if your project requires a permit.
  • Some projects may require a variance or a conditional use permit.
  • Pope County does not issue building permits for projects that take place within incorporated municipalities of the County (Cyrus, Farwell, Glenwood, Long Beach, Lowry, Sedan, Starbuck, Villard, Westport).
  • Contact your City directly for building permit requirements.
  • To obtain the permit you can apply in person at Pope County Land and Resource Management or download and complete the Land Use Permit Application, mail in the original with the appropriate fee and required documents as indicated on the application.
  • You will need:
    • To submit a plan or drawing showing the dimensions of the lot, location of proposed structure and any other structures located on the property.
    • To calculate the percentage of impervious coverage of your lot.
    • To indicate the lowest floor elevation you intend to build to if your property is located in a Shoreland area.
    • A building plan and names of licensed contractors that will be working on the project.
  • For more information on obtaining permits contact our office.
  • A setback is the distance a structure needs to be from property lines or other features such as waterbodies, wells or sewers, on a piece of land.
  • Structures and sewage treatment systems must meet the setbacks from the Ordinary High Water Level (OHWL) as indicated in Setbacks & Performance Standards table.
  • The actual setbacks for a parcel are dependent on zoning district as indicated in the Pope County Official Zoning Map.
  • See Setbacks & Performance Standards handout for further guidance.
  • Where structures exist on the adjoining lots on both sides of a proposed building site, structure setbacks may be altered without a variance to conform to the adjoining setbacks from the OHWL, provided the proposed structure is not located in a shore impact zone or in a bluff impact zone.

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Structures must be placed in accordance with any floodplain regulations applicable to the site. Where these controls do not exist, the elevation to which the lowest floor, including basement, is placed or flood-proofed must be determined as follows:

  1. For lakes, by placing the lowest floor at a level at least three feet above the highest known water level, or three feet above the ordinary high water level, whichever is higher;
  2. For rivers and streams, by placing the lowest floor at least three feet above the highest known flood elevation. If data are not available, by placing the lowest floor at least three feet above the ordinary high water level, or by conducting a technical evaluation to determine effects of proposed construction upon flood stages and flood flows and to establish a flood protection elevation. Under all three approaches, technical evaluations must be done by a qualified engineer or hydrologist consistent with Minnesota Rules, parts 6120.5000 to 6120.6200 governing the management of flood plain areas. If more than one approach is used, the highest flood protection elevation determined must be used for placing structures and other facilities; and
  3. If the structure is floodproofed instead of elevated under items 1 and 2 above, then it must be floodproofed in accordance with Minnesota Rules, part 6120.5900 Subp. 3 (D).

  • Yes, a permit will be required to add a deck or patio.
  • To find out if your project requires a permit contact our office.
  • Any additions to an existing structure must meet the current setbacks as determined by the Pope County Land Use Controls Ordinance.
  • A permit must be obtained in the same manner as when building a new house.
  • If bedrooms are being added, it may be necessary to increase the capacity of the existing septic system.
  • In addition, existing septic systems more than five years old must be inspected.
  • Failing systems will need to be upgraded before a permit is issued.
  • For information on how to obtain a permit contact our office.