General Permit

Permit Information Sections
Building Permit
A building permit is required for all new construction, including additions, enlargement, alteration, conversion (change of use or occupancy), retaining walls (4 feet or more in height), fences (for corner lot properties only), site work, fill / stock piling (50 cubic yards or more), hazardous materials abatement, relocation or demolition of any building or structure.

A building permit is also required for any work which must conform to the Uniform Code and/or the Energy Code, including, but not limited to, improvements, electrical, plumbing, roofing, siding, window replacement, paving, installation of a solid-fuel-burning heating appliance/chimney or flue, fire alarm and sprinkler work.

Additionally, a building permit is required for any exterior work on a building or structure designated as a landmark structure or on a building or structure located within an historic district (see: Chapter § 228).

General Requirements for Building Permit Applications
  • Verify that the project street address is correct. Include owner's and applicants' information
  • An estimated cost of the project must be stated on the application.
  • Permit fees are $7 per $1,000 - minimum $35. Project costs must be rounded up to the nearest $1,000. Please note that cash is not accepted. A check or money order payable to the City of Ithaca must be submitted with the application.
  • Insurance certifications must be current and on file with the building department.
  • Plumbers / Electricians must be licensed in the City of Ithaca and heating contractors must be registered with the City of Ithaca.
  • A complete, detailed description of the project including scaled, dimensioned drawings and specifications must be provided with the application. In general, drawings must have architects or engineers stamp.
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Electrical Permit
A city licensed electrician is required for any and all electrical work performed on new or existing buildings or structures within the City of Ithaca.
  • New work: New installations of wiring for the use of electrical current, new fire alarm installations, electrical services, transformers, or disconnects in newly constructed structures.
  • Old work: Extension of any existing electrical system including; partial or complete Fire alarm replacement, electrical repairs, panel replacement, alterations, or additions in existing structures.
  • Electrical surveys: An electrical survey is required if a property is sold or being sold and has not had an electrical survey performed in the past 10 years or where an electrical hazard exists.
Permits & Documents
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Demolition Permit
A demolition permit is required for the removal of any building or structure located within the City of Ithaca. An application completed by the property owner, architect, builder, or contractor is required to be submitted at least 10 days prior to the start of work. All utilities must be disconnected and the building and/or site barricaded to protect the public and adjoining properties from danger or damage. Demolition plans, staging plans or a pre-demolition conference may be required for certain projects. All demolition debris must be removed and disposed in an approved disposal site and any holes must be filled and seeded unless a building permit is issued for a new structure is to be built.

General Requirements
  • Safety barricades in place
  • Electric service disconnected
  • Natural gas service disconnected
  • Public water, sewer, and meter disconnected
  • Fuel tanks removed
  • Asbestos abatement certification: If asbestos is suspect an asbestos survey must be performed by a certified professional. For further information, contact the Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau at 607-721-8110
  • Street permit from the Engineering Department is required for curb side dumpster location and sidewalk/street obstructions
  • Fire Department approval is required for a dumpster placed closer than 50 feet from a building
  • Welding permit for the use of torches is required, contact the Ithaca Fire Department
  • Separate permits are required for any plumbing or electrical work
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Floodplain Development Permit
A Floodplain Development Permit Application is required to be completed for all new structures, additions, alterations, relocations, demolitions or replacement work performed within the 100-year flood plain as determined by the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for the City of Ithaca. The application is required to be completed to determine if the project is in the Special Flood Hazard Area.

Additional information such as: a site plan showing the location of all existing structures, water bodies, adjacent roads, lot dimensions and the proposed development, may be required if the project falls within the designated Special Flood Hazard Area.

Development plans must be drawn to scale, including specification details for anchoring structures, proposed elevations of lowest floor (including basement), types of water resistant materials used below the first floor, details of flood of utilities located below the first floor and details of enclosures below the first floor.

Permits & Documents
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Sign Permit
The City of Ithaca Sign Ordinance regulates existing and proposed outdoor advertising, outdoor advertising signs and outdoor signs of all types. It is intended to improve communications within the community, to protect property values, to create a more attractive economic and business climate, to enhance and protect the physical appearance of the community, to preserve the scenic and natural beauty of designated areas and to provide a more enjoyable and pleasing community. It is further intended hereby to reduce sign or advertising distractions and obstructions that may contribute to traffic accidents, to reduce hazards that may be caused by signs overhanging or projecting over public rights-of-way, to provide more open space and to curb the deterioration of natural beauty and community environment.

A sign permit application is required to be completed and shall contain the following information:
  • The name, address and telephone number of both the applicant and the owner of the property on which the sign is to be located
  • The location of the building, structure or land to which or upon which the sign is to be attached or erected
  • A detailed drawing or blueprint showing a description of the construction details of the sign and showing the lettering and/or pictorial matter composing the sign; the position of lighting or other extraneous devices; and a location plan showing the position of the sign on any building or land and its position in relation to nearby buildings or structures and to any private or public street or highway
  • Written consent of the owner of the building, structure or land to which or on which the sign is to be erected in the event that the applicant is not the owner thereof
  • A copy of any required or necessary electrical permit issued for said sign or a copy of the application for such permit
  • Any additional information required to complete the sign application for review
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Tent Permit
A Tent and Canopy Permit (PDF) is required for the installation of a tent in excess of 200 square feet, or a canopy with open sides in excess of 400 square feet for not more than 180 days. The tent provider/installer must have the proper Liability and Workers' Compensation insurances on file with the Building Department prior to issuance of the permit.

Tent or canopy fabric must be of flame-resistant material or treated with a flame retardant in compliance with NFPA 701. Certification of flame resistance must be provided including date of last treatment, name of chemical used in treatment, name of firm or individual treating fabric and testing agency and standard used. This certification is available from the tent provider upon request.

Plans of the site layout plan showing the location of the structure in relationship to surrounding buildings, seating layout, and the location and type of electrical equipment being installed and the name of the licensed electrician that will be doing the installation.

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