The Grading Inspection Division was established in 1979 to enforce provisions of Grading Ordinance No. 2535 (Chapter 16.08) and Erosion Control Ordinance No. 2806 (Chapter 16.12). The Grading Ordinance incorporates regulations from the California Building Code, which addresses standards for all grading construction.
These ordinances were
adopted to mitigate several impacts associated with earth movement and
grading construction; to safeguard the health, safety, and public welfare;
and to minimize erosion and protect fish, wildlife, and the natural
The Grading Inspection Division reviews all development permits to ensure compliance with the California Building Codes and local Ordinance provisions including but not limited to grading plan check for subdivisions, single family dwellings, commercial and industrial structures grading plans. In addition, the division also routinely performs building presite inspections, inspections of site grading construction and code enforcement of grading throughout the unincorporated communities of Monterey County.
Earthwork and Grading Construction
Grading construction means excavating or depositing soil materials (cut or fills). It is usually done on flatlands or hillsides to reorient the land for development, for example, constructing a building pad for a single family dwelling, or excavating for a retaining wall, or a new private access driveway. Grading is regulated because it can cause serious problems when not done properly. No grading permit can be issued if a determination is made that grading construction will result in floods, geological or seismic hazard or unstable soil, or is liable to endanger any other property or result in the deposition of debris on any public way or property or drainage course, or otherwise create a nuisance.
Newly exposed soil subjected to the elements of the weather can erode easily, moving from areas where you want it (e.g., on the hill behind your house) to areas where you don't want it (e.g., up against your house, in a street or creek, or on a neighbor's property).
If native soil underlying a new building pad is not adequately compacted or if the soil density varies too much, the building may settle and suffer structural damage. Excessive grading may cause loss of natural vegetation, accelerated erosion potential, habitat intrusion, soil stability, and visual scarring and may also damage other natural resources for years to come.
Even minor grading can change the way water drains across a property, which can cause erosion problems that may affect existing drainage patterns and road access to a home or even an entire community.
A grading permit is required for all but a limited scope of earth-moving operations so that these problems can be prevented. Even when a permit is not required, you should still use great care in grading construction to preserve your own property and to protect adjoining properties and public roads.