Grading Permits


The City of Santee Grading Ordinance regulates excavation and grading activities within the City and provides information on when a permit is required and what is required to obtain a Grading Permit. Except as exempted in Section 11.40.105 of the Santee Municipal Code, no person shall perform or allow any grading on their property without a valid Grading Permit issued by the city engineer.


Information on what is required to be submitted with the first grading plan check is included in the project's conditions of approval. Plans should be prepared on the City’s standard title block: Grading Title Sheets 1 & 2 (Commercial) and should submitted by appointment.

When Does a Retaining Wall Require a Grading Permit?

Retaining walls have the potential to create hazards to property or persons. Depending on the specific nature of the improvements proposed, a Grading Permit may be required to ensure safety and prevent property damage.

A Grading Permit for a retaining wall is required under the following circumstances:

  • If the wall height is greater than three (3) feet.
  • If the wall is retaining a slope that is steeper than two horizontal to one vertical (2:1).
  • If the wall impacts any open space or environmentally sensitive areas designated in the General Plan.
  • If the wall will impact any waterway or wetland, stream, river, channel, pond, lake, marsh, bog, lagoon, vernal pool or riparian habitat.
  • If the wall is to be constructed in any floodway or floodplain.
  • If the wall is to be constructed in any officially mapped zone of high geologic risk (Zone “C” and “D”) as defined by the geotechnical/seismic study for the General Plan.
  • If the wall is to be constructed in the hillside overlay district. (applies to any HL, R-1 & R-1A zoning designation).
  • If the wall is constructed in any other sensitive area such as archaeological sites, historical sites or burial grounds.

If no Grading Permit is required, a Building Permit from the Planning & Building Department will be required under the following circumstances:

  •  If the wall is supporting a surcharge of any kind.  A three foot wall installed within three foot of a structure such as a house will have a surcharge from that structure.  A three foot wall within three feet of a driveway will have a surcharge from the vehicles that park on the driveway.
  •  If the wall is used to impound flammable liquids.

When & Where Permits are Issued?

Grading Permits can be obtained online at SanteePortal.org

Helpful Resources:




Phone: 619-258-4100 ext. 167
Hours: M–Th 8:00am-5:00pm, F 8:00am-1:00pm

Santee City Hall, Engineering Department
10601 Magnolia Avenue, Building 4
Santee, CA 92071

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City of Santee
10601 Magnolia Ave.
Santee, CA 92071

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