Getting a building permit
I have been warned by Earthship Biotecture that getting a building in Taos, NM is quite an arduous process. They advised me to pay them to take of it, but left the option open for me to do it myself. If I was living in Taos right now, I would have opted to do it myself but since I am not out there until the end of March, and I need to get started in April, I had no choice but to hire Earthship Biotecture to take care of it.
Earthship Biotecture is charging me $1,000 to go through the process for me. If I was to do it myself, I still would have had to contract them to do certain aspects of it for me, such as the site plan and various other information and document gathering processes. I also found out that the permit itself is going to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $500-$600 dollars for my studio. This price risies to ~$700 for a one bedroom. This cost is covers the town’s adminstrative expenses and pays for various inspections that the town needs to perform throughout the build process.
Amy over at Earthship Biotecture was kind enough to walk me through the details of the process over the phone, so here goes the best interpretation of those details as I can muster. Keep in mind that this is most of what’s involved but there may be a couple small things missing. Also, it’s specific to Taos, NM, however, I doubt that the permit process is very different anywhere else in the states.
- Get property deed.
- Get property code from the assesors’s office.
- Go to planning department (Rural addressing) and get the official rural address.
- Go to NM Environment Dept and apply for liquid waste permit (they will need the rural address and property) A licensed plummer needs to do this or you will need to take the home owners test so you can do it yourself. The town wants to make sure someone who knows what they are doing is isntalling the system.
- Once you get the liquid paste permit, download the building permit app and the zoning permit apps. Get those from the planning department. Online, go to Taos county planning department and download the applications. You will need your engineer stamped plans because questions about dimensions will be asked.
There are a checklist of sign offs on the zoning application for things that need to get done:
- Rural addressing
- Get a print out of the property from the assesors office (It should contain name, address, property code, owner code, size of property, etc.)
- Visit solid waste to set up an account with them.
- Go to public works. They are concerned with building a driveway off a public road, you need to get a permit for that. This wont be an issue for my property because my driveway is connecting to a private road in the Greater World community.
- You need a site plan which is a diagram of the sub division, then a blow up of your property that shows the positioning of the house on the property. It includes things like distances from property boundries, if there’s a well, if there’s a septic, distance from septic to water sources, utility lines and ground sloping to water sources.
- Get a flood plain permit (This is not an issue getting in the Greater World community as there is no flooding there).
You submit all this and it takes a couple weeks. The permit is good for a year. If you have to renew it, the renewal fee is half the original full fee for the first year.