General Requirement

Any person in the City of Riverside proposing to disturb more than 50 cubic yards of soil is subject to obtaining a grading permit from the Public Works Department. In conjunction with this requirement, it is typically necessary to hire a licensed civil engineer to prepare and submit grading plans for review and approval prior to issuance of a grading permit, with the notable exceptions listed below under Exemptions and Modified Requirements.


Applying for a Grading Permit

Grading plan checks submitted to the City require the following standard items:


Additional items, as applicable, may be required and are listed on the aforementioned checklist.


Plan Check Process

Estimated turnaround times for the various plan check activities are as follows:

Plan Check Type First Check Duration Second Check (or more)
Grading only 20 days 10 days
Grading with WQMP 20 days 10 days


The Grading Permit Application Checklist identifies the critical information required to be shown on the grading plans and also lists the standard Grading General Notes that must be included on the title sheet of the plan set.

For projects that required a Preliminary WQMP as a condition of the entitlement, the Final WQMP must now be completed and recorded prior to issuance of the grading permit. Additional information regarding the preparation of WQMP's can be found on Water Quality Management Plans.

When a plan check is completed, the engineer of record is notified to pick up the plans from the Public Works front counter on the 4th floor of City Hall.

Once all corrections have been made, the engineer of record will be directed to obtain a signature from the Planning Division on an original set of the plans and submit three copies of that plan set for approval, along with a wet-signed and stamped copy of the soils report and all previous redlined copies of the plan.


Permit Issuance

Upon payment of the applicable fee, the permit may be issued to any of the following parties:

  • Applicant
  • Owner
  • Engineer
  • Grading Contractor


The next step after permit issuance will be to submit an Inspection Request for a pre-grade meeting with Public Works inspection.



Riverside Municipal Code provides for various exemptions from the requirement to obtain a grading permit, as detailed in Title 17.12.010, with the most common examples as follow:

  • Agricultural grading
  • Swimming pool excavations
  • Minor grading as documented by a licensed Civil Engineer using a Grading Permit Exemption Certification.
  • Modified Requirements


Certain types of grading, which do not propose engineered fill supporting a structure, are subject to modifications of the standard requirements, with the most common examples as follow:

  • Stockpile Only grading plans which propose temporary placement of stockpiled materials do not require submittal of a preliminary soils report but have restrictions as described on the Grading Permit Application Checklist.
  • Regular grading plans which propose less than 5,000 cubic yards may be signed by an architect.
  • Grading plans on parks and other projects in excess of 5,000 cubic yards, not supporting a structure, not exceeding fill depths of 10 feet, may be signed by a landscape architect.

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