Engineering Department

Review & Approval

This department will be checking for any of the following areas:

  • Grading
  • Percolation Test Review
  • Septic Systems
  • Addresses
  • Flooding & Drainage Issues
  • Legal Access
  • Retaining Walls
  • Lot Mergers
  • Lot Line Adjustments
  • Oversized Transportation
  • Capital Projects - Public Works
Grading Application / Lot Line Application



  1. An excavation is greater than two feet in depth or an excavation creates a cut slope from two feet to five feet in height with a slope steeper than one and one-half horizontal to one vertical or an excavation creates a cut slope greater than five feet in height.

  2. A fill one foot or more in thickness.  A three-foot fill may be placed without a permit if it does not exceed fifty cubic yards, does not obstruct a drainage course and is not intended to support a structure. 3. A fill less than one foot in thickness is placed on natural terrain steeper than five horizontal to one vertical. drafting

NOTE:  The permit shall be obtained before the grading is commenced.  If the grading is done without a permit, twice the normal permit fee shall be charged.

Percolation Testing & Sewage Disposal: If a lot proposed for development does not have City sewer service available within 200 feet of the property, the City will consider on-site disposal.  There is a minimum lot size requirement for on-site disposal.  The OWNER should verify the most recently adopted minimum lot size with the City Planning and Zoning department to determine if on-site disposal is a feasible option.

If the minimum lot size requirement is met the City requires successful percolation test results prior to approving an on-site disposal system.  A report must be submitted to the City Engineer that documents the testing procedures, results and proposed system.  The purpose of the testing is to ensure that groundwater supplies (the source of public drinking water in Needles) and the recreational activities on the Colorado River are protected.

The City follows the standards and requirements of the San Bernardino Department of Public Health for percolation reports.  These standards and requirements are outlined in the publication entitled “On-Site Waste Water Disposal System.”  This publication is available on-line at:

In addition to the requirements outlined in the “On-Site Waste Water Disposal System” the City requires that:

Flood Control: If your property is within a flood zone you will need to have an California Registered Land Surveyor prepare a Elevation Certificate and design a Finish Floor Elevation for your new structure.

Addressing: We will look at and assign an address to your property.  At the completion of your project we will let the following agencies know of the address addition: Utility Companies, County Assessor, 911 & Post Office.  If you need a property address for starting loan applications, you can use your APN (Assessor Parcel Number) temporarily until you are issued your building permit.

Legal Access: If your parcel is in the rural areas of Needles and you don’t have a public street adjoining your property, you may be land locked.  You would be required to find out how you could get ingress / egress easement to cross over another property(ies) to reach a public street.  If this ingress / egress exists you would have it noted in a title report when purchasing your property.  You would be required to have this secured by a survey and legal description prepared by a licensed surveyor in California.  This would be recorded with your property.

Launch Ramps & Docks on the River: If you have interest in having one of these on you property then you must apply to the Army Corp. of Engineers as a separate application, City jurisdiction stops at the high water mark.  Even though the City’s jurisdiction stops at the high water mark the Army Corps of Engineers require at CEQA be done on all launch ramps.  See the planning department for this process.

The Army Corps of Engineers can be reached by phone at (520) 584-1684 or by writing to 5205 E. Comanche St., Tucson, AZ 85707.  You can contact them for application and fees.

These services include storm water drainage, engineering services for public development.

Main areas of responsibility include:

  • Management of design and construction of major street improvement projects
  • Review of public improvement plans
  • Management & Inspection of all Capital Improvement Projects
  • Lot line adjustments
  • Bond release
  • Storm Water management and NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System)
  • Compliance
  • Encroachment Permit processing
  • Parcel & Tract Map Review