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November 7, 2011


   There are relatively few administrative requirements for building a home in Boundary County and Boundary County does not require building inspections or permits beyond what the state requires to build a home or set up a modular or mobile home.

   Before beginning construction or installation of a residential structure, however, it is necessary to obtain a residential placement permit (see Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance, Section 6.4), which requires completion of an application and a $35 fee.  Upon receipt of an application for a residential placement permit the zoning administrator will ensure that the parcel meets the minimum lot size for the zone district in which construction is taking place or that the parcel is a legal non-conforming lot of record, that set-back requirements are met, that the property where the home is being placed does not lie within wetland or flood zones identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and that the application meets airport overlay provisions.  The zoning administrator may take up to ten days to approve or deny an application or provide an explanation as to why this deadline can't be met.

   Upon receipt of an application for a residential placement permit, a copy will be provided the County GIS Mapping Department for assignment of a physical address.

   If you are building within the incorporated city limits of Bonners Ferry or Moyie Springs, separate city regulations apply; in Bonners Ferry, call City Hall at (208) 267-3105, in Moyie Springs, call the City Office at (208) 267-2598.

   Before purchasing a parcel in the county on which you intend to build a home, it is a good idea to contact the Planning and Zoning office at (208) 267-7212 with the parcel number of the property you are interested in to find out what the zoning of that parcel is and whether a zoning certificate to allow construction can be approved.  If the parcel does not meet the standards established in the Boundary County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance, no permit will be issued and residential construction on that parcel will be in violation of the ordinance, subjecting the owner to the possibility of prosecution and removal of the structure (See Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance, Section 4.6.3).

   If the property is located in a flood zone identified by FEMA, a National Flood Insurance Program Certificate of Elevation is required, which must be completed by an engineer or surveyor licensed in Idaho to determine base flood elevation and to ensure that the first floor elevation of the structure is above base flood level.  Failure to obtain a valid Certificate of Elevation when building in a flood zone is not only a violation of the zoning and subdivision ordinance, but can result in Boundary County being excluded from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, meaning that flood insurance, most often required for financing a home or land within a FEMA-identified flood zone, will not be available to anyone in the county.

   In addition to these County requirements, the State of Idaho requires an electrical inspection and a plumbing inspection, administered through the Idaho Division of Building Safety.  If you are installing a septic system, a permit is required from Panhandle Health; if you are drilling a well, a permit is required from the Idaho Department of Water Resources; and if you are building a new driveway connecting to a county road, a permit from County Road and Bridge is required.  Information on each agency is provided below.

   There are no building inspections other than those required by the state; for the minimum recommended construction standards it is recommended that an engineer or construction contractor be contacted.


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