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Employee Housing

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Published on October 21, 2019. Last modified on May 11, 2020

employee housing _

Employee Housing Facilities



Considering an Employee Housing Facility on your property? Read on to learn more about the various project components that the Environmental Health Bureau (EHB) will review prior to recommending approval of planning or construction permits.

Based on EHB’s experience with facilitating employee housing applications, potable water and domestic wastewater disposal are the primary constraints that must be addressed to move forward in the development process. The following details should be thought out in detail before approaching the County with a potential project proposal.

  • How many occupants do you anticipate?
  • How many units do you anticipate?
  • How will food service be provided (i.e. a kitchen in each unit, a mess hall, etc.)?
  • Will there be onsite laundry facilities? If so, available in each unit or in a centralized location?
  • How will restrooms and showers be configured? For example, a conventional bathroom in the unit, a separate restroom/shower facilities from sleeping quarters, etc.)

What qualifies as Employee Housing?

In general, employee housing is privately-owned housing that houses five (5) or more employees and meets the following:

  • Living quarters provided in connection with any work, whether or not rent is involved.
  • Housing in a rural area that is:
    • Provided by someone who is not an agricultural employer, and
    • Provided for agricultural workers employed by any agricultural employer.

(Click Image to download PDF with Links)

Housing Process

RMA-Planning Department

Before you invest too much time or money into your concept, it is important to confirm that employee housing is an allowed use on your property, and the extent that would be allowed. Contact the RMA-Planning Department, (831) 755-4505, to speak with a Permit Technician or the Planner of the Day.


General Requirements

The following general standards apply to Employee Housing sites:
  1. Caretaker
    There must be a caretaker to see that the camp is maintained properly.
  2. Light, Heat, Ventilation
    Rooms used for living, dining, cooking or sleeping and toilet and bath buildings must have proper light and ventilation with insect screening on windows and outside doors. Heating must be provided which will maintain a minimum 60 degree temperature in sleeping quarters and 70 degree temperature in bath buildings when occupied.
  3. Beds and Sleeping Areas
    Suitable and separate beds must be provided for all workers. The rooms or areas used for sleeping purposes for more than one person shall be maintained with a floor area of not less than 50 square feet for each occupant and a minimum average ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.
  4. Drinking Water
    Fresh and pure drinking water must be supplied at convenient locations. An annual water test may be required.
  5. Kitchen Facilities
    Kitchen sinks must be supplied with hot and cold running water. Shelves are required for food storage above the floor.
  6. Toilets, Lavatories and Showers
    At least one shower and one lavatory with hot and cold running water and one toilet must be provided for each sex for each 10 workers. Lavatories shall be located adjacent to the toilet facilities.
  7. Sanitation
    All toilet and bathrooms, kitchen and mess halls, sleeping and living rooms, and beds and bedding must be kept clean and sanitary. Closed garbage and waste containers must be provided and must be emptied as often as necessary. The entire camp area must be kept clean and well drained and free from trash and garbage.**If on a septic system, the system must be sized according to OWTS specifications.
  8. Location with Respect to Livestock
    Employee housing shall be maintained not less than 100 feet from barns, pens, or similar quarters of livestock or poultry
  9. Drainage
    The premises shall be free from depressions in which water can stand. Natural sinkholes, pools, swamps or other surface collectors of water within 200 feet of the periphery of employee housing shall be either drained or filled to remove the surface water.
  10. Liquefied Petroleum Gas Restriction
    No liquefied petroleum (LP) gas tanks or cylinders shall be maintained within an enclosed housing accommodation, nor be within 5 feet of a source of ignition, nor be less than 5 feet from any building opening or property line.
  11. Exits
    All exists for all buildings or portions thereof in employee housing shall be maintained clear and unobstructed at all times and meet Building Code requirements.
  12. Employee Responsibility
    Each employee and occupant of a labor camp shall help take care of the camp and keep it clean.

Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS Septic System)

 Click here to download Evaluation Form Link

It is important to note that the Monterey County Health Department, Environmental Health Bureau (EHB), has received approval of the Local Agency Management Program (LAMP) for OWTS. The LAMP details new regulations and site evaluation requirements that will be applied to any OWTS (septic system) permit issued on or after May 11, 2018, in addition to the existing requirements specified in Monterey County Code, Chapter 15.20.


A property’s capacity for onsite wastewater disposal is often limited by its acreage. Monterey County Code specifies that no more than 40 grams of nitrogen from domestic wastewater shall be disposed onsite per acre per day. In general, this means that a site is limited to 4 occupants per acre unless supplemental treatment is

incorporated into the system to reduce nitrogen in the wastewater prior to subsurface dispersal. The following items are needed for EHB staff to assess the feasibility of a new OWTS.

  • OWTS Feasibility Report (see section 5.9 Site Evaluation and Soil Characteristics) at a minimum the report shall include:
    • A minimum of one deep groundwater monitoring boring (LAMP Section 5.9.1, Soil Depth and Characteristics).
    • A site evaluation, soil profile analysis and percolation testing shall be completed for each of the areas proposed to accommodate the required dispersal systems: primary dispersal field area and expansion area(s) (Section 5.9.2, Percolation Testing)
    • When the project will generate more than 1,000 gallons of wastewater per day, the soil and percolation testing workplan should be submitted to the EHB for review and acceptance prior to commencing work to ensure sufficient data will be collected.
    • When more than 2,500 gallons or more of wastewater is generated per day on the project site, a cumulative impact study shall be completed to evaluate potential impacts to groundwater, in accordance with Monterey County LAMP, Section 5.2.1.
  • OWTS (septic system) design by a qualified professional. Depending on the unit(s), kitchen and laundry facilities, it likely that we will estimate 75 gallons of wastewater generation per occupant per day.
  • If an existing OWTS on the property is slated for continued use, EHB will require that a performance evaluation (including minimum 30-minute hydraulic load test) be completed by a qualified OWTS professional to demonstrate the system is adequate to serve the proposed use. The Performance Evaluation Guidelines and approved form is available at www.mtyhd.org/OWTS.


    Domestic (Potable) Water

    It is important to understand that water source and permit requirements will vary depending on the size and extent of your proposed employee housing facility. Please review the Water System Classification guide to help you understand the type of water system permit that may be required. The following information will provide foundational information, that is, the basic information necessary to determine if the water source is feasible to serve the development (a reliable, potable supply of water is required prior to EHB approval of any new construction permits that include plumbing).

  • Well Completion Report. Please provide a copy of the well completion report and specify the APN and address associated with the well. Wells proposed to serve new water systems must be able to demonstrate that they have a minimum 50’ sanitary seal.
  • Source Capacity Testing. Depending on the well’s construction and estimate source capacity, a Source Capacity Test may be required. To determine well yield for the new dwelling unit(s), the well shall first undergo a minimum 8-hour continuous source capacity test. A representative of the Environmental Health Bureau shall witness the source capacity tests. The applicant shall pay all associated fees to the Environmental Health Bureau. Application materials and further information is available on the website at: http://www.mtyhd.org/water (search for: source capacity testing procedures for water wells).
  • Water Quality Testing (Title 22)

    The following water samples need to be taken (new/current samples results are needed). Analyses must be performed by a lab certified by the State of California. This list also includes independent samplers you may hire to test for you. You may also have a third party pull the samples for you if they are knowledgeable in water sampling and have a professional license.

    • Coliform Bacteria Analysis
    • Inorganic Chemical Analysis: Aluminum, antimony, arsenic, asbestos, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cyanide, fluoride, mercury, nickel, nitrate (NO3), nitrite, (NO2), perchlorate, selenium, andthallium. Asbestos and cyanide may be waived if determined to not be vulnerable.

  • Secondary Standards: Total dissolvedsolids, specific conductance, chloride, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, manganese, carbonate, bicarbonate, hydroxide alkalinity, total hardness, MBAS, copper, zinc, silver, color, odor, turbidity, pH. MTBE and thiobencarb are also required, but may be waived if determined to not be vulnerable.
  • Volatile Organic Chemical Analysis (community and nontransient-noncommunity systems only)
  • Synthetic Organic Chemical Analysis: Atrazine, Alachlor, Bentazon, Carbofuran, Diquat, Simazine, 2,4-D, and 1,2,3-Trichloroproane. (community and nontransient-noncommunity systems only).
  • Gross Alpha (community and nontransient-noncommunity systems only). Uranium and radium testing may also be required depending on gross alpha results.
  • Radium 228 (community systems only)
  • Additional information will be required if the EHB determines that a water system permit is required. The table below provides a very basic overview of the requirements a water source must meet to serve new development or a water system.



Water Source / System Requirements

Private Well (No Permit Required)

Local or State Small Water System

Public Water System (PWS)



Number of water sources required






Demonstrate compliance with Title 22 water quality standards

Required; primary contaminants (and secondary contaminants

above the action level) only

Required; primary contaminants (and secondary contaminants

above the action level) only

Required; primary contaminants (and secondary contaminants

above the action level) only


Required; primary and secondary contaminants



Water Treatment System (if necessary)

Must be implemented to meet primary (and secondary if above the action level) water quality




Not Allowed – identify new source of supply

Must be implemented to meet primary (and secondary if above the action level) water quality



Must be implemented to meet primary and secondary water quality standards

Source Capacity





Agency with authority to issue the water system permit


Monterey County EHB


Monterey County EHB

Monterey County EHB in consultation with the DDW**

Monterey County EHB in consultation with the DDW**

Estimated time to obtain permit (once a complete application has been submitted)



Not applicable



1-2 months



> 6 months



> 6 months

* This table is intended to provide a broad overview of potential requirements that may apply to your project but in no way shall be construed to replace of substitute for the standards set forth by Monterey County Code or Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations.

** State Water Resource Control Board – Division of Drinking Water (DDW)


For additional information, please contact Ms. Cheryl Sandoval, Supervisor for Drinking Water Protection Services, at (831) 755-4452.

Solid Waste Management, Recycling and Organic Waste Recycling

The EHB has two services that specialize in this area: Solid Waste Management Services and Recycling and Resource Recovery Services. The project will be required to have a contract with the franchise waste hauler, currently Waste Management, for regular garbage service.  In addition, employee housing facilities are required to provide resources to allow the occupants to separate recyclables from other solid waste. Depending on the size of the employee housing facility (and the volume of waste it is estimated to generate), organic waste will also need to be separated into a different approved container. Organic waste consists of food waste, green waste, landscape and pruning waste, nonhazardous wood waste, and food-soiled paper waste that is mixed in with food waste. The facility will need to design an enclosure(s) to accommodate the solid waste, recycling and organic waste containers that are determined to be necessary.

You may obtain additional information related to solid waste management and recycling by contacting Ms. Stephanie Luna of EHB’s Recycling and Resource Recovery Services at (831) 755-4540 or Ms. Kristin Skromme of Waste Management at (831) 796-2220.


Employee Housing Permit - Download Application Here

An employee housing permit application will need to be filed and a corresponding plan check completed by the Consumer Health Protection Services of EHB prior to approval of construction permits. Please note that in the event, water, wastewater or other project constraints preclude the issuance of construction permit, the fees associated with the Employee Housing plan check are non-refundable. This is one of the reasons we generally recommend that applicants evaluate the water and wastewater portions of the project as early in the process as possible.

You may visit www.mtyhd.org/housing or contact Ms. Michelle Torres-Garcia of EHB’s Consumer Health Protection Services at (831) 755-4682 to obtain additional information related to employee housing permits and plan check requirements.


Request for Service

EHB staff will be glad to discuss your project concept.  However, in order to assure that we continue to provide high quality service to applicants for ongoing projects, it is necessary that a Request for Service with paid deposit be submitted in order to meet or discuss with you for more than 15-30 minutes before you file the corresponding development permit application (planning or construction permit). The Request for Service form is available on the EHB website; we recommend an initial deposit for 4 hours of time ($648, at the current hourly rate of $162 per hour). Any portion of the deposit that is not accounted for will be refunded to you upon request. All requests are processed in the order they are received along with other onsite wastewater, construction and planning permit applications.