Grading and Excavation


  • This is relevant to Grading and Excavation Permit requirements.  Please review as it pertains to your application, plan submittal, site plan requirements, work that is exempt from a grading permit, when engineering is required, etc.Purpose:  A Grading Permit allows Yakima County to review your project prior to excavation to determine how the proposed activity will impact the environment, structures, or neighboring properties.


    PLEASE SEE THE PLANNING DIVISION REGARDING ZONING & LAND USE REGULATIONS.  (Reference from Yakima County Code Title 15 definitions)

    “Mining site/operation” (15.08.420) means a tract of land and the operations necessary to excavate, process, stockpile, or remove materials such as sand, gravel, aggregate, rock or other mineral resources.  The retail, wholesale, contract purchase, or transfer of mineral products is within the scope of this definition.

    “Mineral batching” (15.08.410), includes the batching of sand and gravel or rock into asphalt or cement concrete.

    “Mineral processing” (15.08.41) means the crushing, non-chemical washing (including sedimentation ponds), screening, sorting, stockpiling and blending of rock, sand, gravel and other earth, natural materials and/or precious metals.  Processing does not include batching of sand and gravel or rock into asphaltic or Portland cement concrete products, the manufacturing of products such as concrete pipe, bricks, concrete forms and the like or the chemical blending or extraction of precious or semi-precious minerals.


  • A grading permit is not required for the following activities shown below:

    Exemption from the permit requirements of this appendix shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

    1.    When approved by the Building Official, grading in an isolated, self-contained area if there is no danger to private or public property.
    (A grading application is required).
    2.    An excavation below finished grade for basements and footings of a building, retaining wall or other structure authorized by a valid building permit.
    3.    This shall not exempt any fill made with the material from such excavation or exempt any excavation having an unsupported height greater than 5 feet (1524 mm) after the completion of such structure.
    4.    Cemetery graves.
    5.    Refuse disposal sites permitted by other regulations.
    6.    Excavations for wells, tunnels, or trenches for utilities.
    7.    Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing, stockpiling of rock, sand, gravel, aggregate or clay where established and provided for by law, provided such operations do not affect the lateral support or increase the stresses in or pressure upon any adjacent or contiguous property.
    8.    Exploratory excavations under the direction of soil engineers or engineering geologists.
    9.    An excavation which (1) is less than 3 feet (915 mm) in depth, or (2) which does not create a cut slope greater than 6 feet (1829 mm) in height and steeper than 1 unit vertical in 1 1/2 units horizontal (66.7% slope).
    10.    A fill less than 2 feet (610 mm) in depth and placed on natural terrain with a slope flatter than 1 unit vertical in 5 units horizontal (20% slope), or less than 4 feet (1219 mm) in depth, not intended to support structures, which does not exceed 100 cubic yards (76.6 m3) on any one lot and does not obstruct a drainage course.
    11.    Test holes done under the provisions of an on-site sewage disposal permit application.
    12.    Grading, including roads, bridges and municipal construction, which is designed to Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), American Public Works Association (APWA) or Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) standards and specification where such grading is subject to review and approval of a local government agency or a state or federal agency.
    13.    When approved by the Building Official, temporary grading work necessary to protect property.
    14.    Grading work which:
       a.    Is not intended to support structures, and
       b.    Is not subject to permitting requirements of other regulations.


  • Plans shall be drawn to scale upon suitable material.  Plans shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the proposed work and show in detail that they will conform to the provisions of the code and all relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.


    Aerial photos do not copy well to distribute to other departments and agencies.

        Site plan shall be submitted on a minimum 8½” x 11” size paper.  If a larger size site plan is used, please submit a reduced copy on a maximum 11” x 17”.
        Use a standard scale (i.e.: ¼”, ½”) and indicate which scale was used on the site plan (i.e.: ¼” = 20’).
        Size of the drawing needs to be sufficient to the level of detail required to meet all applicable codes and laws relevant to the work being described.
    1.    The first sheet of each set of plans shall have:
           a.    Name and address of the owner and the person by whom they were prepared.
           b.    The location of the work.
           c.    General vicinity of the proposed site.
    2.    Property lines and accurate contours of existing ground and details of terrain and area drainage.
    3.    Limiting dimensions elevations or finish contours to be achieved by the grading and proposed drainage channels and related construction.
    4.    Detailed plans of all surface and subsurface drainage devises, walls, cribbing, dams and other protective devices to be constructed with, or as part of, the proposed work together with a map showing the drainage area and the estimated runoff of the area served by any drains.
    5.    Location of any buildings or structures on the property where the work is to be performed.
    6.    Provide the location of any buildings or structures on adjacent parcels which are within 200 feet of the property or which may be affected by the proposed grading operations.
    7.    Recommendations included in the soils engineering report and the engineering geology report shall be incorporated in the grading plans or specifications.  When approved by the Building Official, specific recommendations contained in the soils report and the engineering geology reports, which are applicable to grading, may be included by reference.
    8.    The dates of the soils engineering and engineering geology reports together with the names, addresses and phone numbers of the firms or individuals who prepared the reports.
    9.    Show calculations of maximum cuts/fills.
    10.  Detail descriptions of fill materials to be used or destination of materials to be removed.