I’m considering a home improvement/repair project, and I’m not sure where to start. What’s my first step?

You can start by using our Building Permit resource page to better learn what you steps you will need to take. If you need more guidance and assistance with the online process or have any questions, feel free to call us @ (415)388-4033 or email us @ planning@cityofmillvalley.org or building@cityofmillvalley.org 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also currently offer limited counter hours at the Planning and Building Department at Mill Valley City Hall, 26 Corte Madera Avenue (next to Mill Valley Market), between the hours of 8AM and 12PM, every Tuesday and Thursday. Our lobby is open Mon-Thurs from 8AM to 5PM with a break for lunch between Noon and 1PM, for simple inquiries and appointments. We are closed every Friday.

Oftentimes, a quick conversation with a planner may validate whether or not a project is viable, and an inspector can provide information on the permitting process, code requirements, and other building-related subjects. They may also be able to determine if consultation with other departments and/or agencies prior to the design process is appropriate, depending on the scope of your project.

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1. My neighbor's construction project is making a lot of noise - what is allowed?
2. Do I need a building permit?
3. What are the dangers of mold and mildew and whom do I call if I encounter this problem?
4. It seems like almost anything I improve, repair, or replace on my property requires a permit. Why is this?
5. OK, I think I’m ready to apply for a permit. What information does the City need to begin the process?
6. How long will it take before I can get my permit?
7. Can I get started on the project before I actually obtain my permit?
8. What are these additional charges that don’t seem relevant to the scope of my project? What is a Road Impact Fee? Drainage Fee?
9. Does my project need to be completed within a certain time?
10. I’m thinking about renting, purchasing, or renovating a commercial proper. What do I need to be aware of in regards to City requirements?
11. How far in advance do story poles have to be put up? How long do they stay up?
12. I don’t understand how getting a permit for my project will actually benefit me; it just costs me money. What happens if I just do the work, and don’t bother with a permit?
13. I’m a property owner and I'd like to get a copy of the original set of building plans for my house. Do I still need approval of the design professional?
14. Why should pools be maintained and what should I do if I know of someone with a pool that is not being maintained?
15. I’m a new business owner and will be replacing the old sign with my new name. Do I still need a sign permit?
16. What days are no-construction work days?
17. I’m considering a home improvement/repair project, and I’m not sure where to start. What’s my first step?
18. Is there any way to expedite my approval, especially if it is a small project?
19. What do I do if I own or know of a vacant, unsecured substandard structure?
20. How does the inspection process work?
21. How do I report a code violation?
22. I can’t decide whether to hire a licensed contractor, or be my own contractor and manage the project myself to save money. What are the pros and cons of each?
23. RBR (re-sale) inspection - If unpermitted work or expired permits are discovered, what do I do?
24. How much will my building permit cost?
25. I am concerned about hoarding – what do I do?