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Posted on: March 21, 2017

City of Watertown Permits Required

In Watertown, we value our property, our neighbors, and our environment.  We know we are lucky to live in a community with attractive and enriching bodies of water, but are also aware of the challenges they can pose from time to time.  As a result, we recognize the need to protect our lakes, river, and streams, as well as our property and that of our neighbors, through responsible land use.
In keeping with those values, and in order to prevent damage, injury or loss to people and their property, or degradation of streams and waterways, the Watertown Engineering Department regulates land disturbing activities by requiring permits prior to such activity.  These permits include Excavation, Floodplain, Grading, Sidewalk-Approach-Curb/Gutter, and Street Cut.  The Engineering Department also regulates the obstruction of streets, alleys and public parking areas by requiring a “Permit to Place Building Materials on Streets.”  Again, however, the permit must be obtained before the permitted activity begins.  The fees for these permits vary and are listed below.  Ordinance sets out punishments for failure to obtain proper permits prior to starting work, in addition to other requirements on land disturbing activities that apply to all properties within city limits.   
In fact, the Department can help inform you of what the law requires before you begin your project.  For instance, note that “minor activities” are exempt from the permit requirement.  Such minor activities include gardening, or filling in soil on private property over an area less than 2000 square feet as long as it is less than one foot deep, not on a slope, less than 100 cubic yards in volume and not in the floodplain.  
Since virtually all other filling, grading or excavation requires a permit, the person doing the work should check with the Engineering Department to verify that the proper permits have been obtained prior to starting the work.  Remember that while contractors are generally expected to know the regulations and take out the permits, the property owner is ultimately responsible for violations, and therefore, permits are also issued to property owners.  Any questions about these regulations should be directed to the City Engineering Department at (605) 753-3546.
Fees for Engineering Department Permits:
Excavation Permit - $50 (plus cost of patch repair if done by City)
Grading Permit - $50 base fee (up to one acre), plus $20/acre (max. $250)
Floodplain Development Permit - $0
Permit to Place Building Materials on Streets - $25
Connection to Public Storm Sewer - $100
Sidewalk, Driveway, Curb/Gutter Permit - $25
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