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FAQs

WHERE IS MY PROPERTY LINE?

There are many reasons a homeowner should know where their property lines are. You may want to add on to your home, put a pool in the back yard, build a gazebo, shed or pool house, add or extend the patio cover or build a fence. Your property line is not necessarily where the sidewalk ends and the grass begins nor does the fence define the property boundary. The City has access to County maps that show your lot dimensions; however, you cannot determine the precise location of your property line without a survey of your property. You should contact a licensed surveyor or engineer to determine the accurate location of your property lines. Unfortunately City staff cannot recommend any specific surveyor, engineer or company.


I HAVE A DISPUTE WITH MY NEIGHBOR AS TO THE LOCATION OF THE PROPERTY LINE BETWEEN OUR HOMES. WILL THE CITY HELP RESOLVE THIS ISSUE?

No, this is a civil issue between the two property owners and the City will not get involved. The public can access resources at the City such as Parcel Maps and Subdivision Maps, which show property lines, but obtaining a property survey by a licensed property surveyor or engineer is the accurate way to determine actual property lines and boundaries.


HOW TALL CAN MY FENCE BE?

The Turlock Municipal Code regulates the height and location of fences. Generally speaking, fences or walls located in the front yard or side yard of a corner lot cannot be taller than 3-feet and fences in your backyard cannot be taller than 7-feet. Download additional information about fences or contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us if you have additional questions.


THE FENCE BETWEEN MY HOUSE AND MY NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED/REPAIRED. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

The Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013 (California Civil Code 841), requires that “adjoining landowners shall share equally in the responsibility of maintaining the boundaries and monuments between them.” In the case of residential neighbors “monuments” means the fence. This means that you and your neighbor are equally responsible for the reasonable costs of repairing or replacing the fence. The Good Neighbor Fence Act does not regulate how the fence will look or what materials will be used. Likewise, disputes between neighbors are a civil matter and the City does not get involved. Hopefully you will be able to come to an agreement with your neighbor. If not you will need to seek legal help to resolve the matter.

The Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013

"Good fences make good neighbors" -Robert Frost


WHAT ARE SETBACKS? WHAT ARE THE SETBACKS FOR MY PROPERTY?

Setbacks are the minimum distance required between a structure and a property line. Property setbacks provide for a visually pleasing streetscape, help keep light and space between homes and provide green spaces for people to enjoy their backyards. Setbacks vary throughout the City depending on the zoning. Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us and provide us with the property address and we will gladly provide you with setback information.


WHAT IS ZONING? WHAT IS MY PROPERTY ZONED AND WHERE CAN I FIND ZONING INFORMATION?

The primary purpose of zoning is to separate uses that are thought to be incompatible and to prevent new development from harming existing residents or businesses. There are many reasons you may need or want to know the zoning designation of a specific property. You can look up the zoning designation of any property located in the City limits here

Please contact the Planning Division at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us if you have further zoning questions.


I WANT TO BUILD A SHED, GAZEBO, OR OTHER ACCESSORY STRUCTURE IN MY BACK YARD. DO I NEED A PERMIT?

A building permit is required for most construction and/or repair projects. If the accessory structure is not larger than 120 square feet, does not have electricity or plumbing a building permit may not be required. All accessory structures must maintain a minimum setback, or distance, from property lines and other structures. Download additional information about accessory structures. A structure like a patio cover or sunroom that is built onto your house is considered part of the house and is not an accessory structure. Still have questions? Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or planning@turlock.ca.us or the Building & Safety Division at (209) 668-5560 or building@turlock.ca.us.


WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE LANDSCAPE STRIP BETWEEN THE SIDEWALK AND CURB IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE?

The property owner is responsible for all maintenance of this landscaping. There are a few areas in the City in which the City maintains only the trees for pruning and health problems, but the property owner is still responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the landscaping. Please contact the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department at (209) 668-5594 for further information.


WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SIDEWALK REPAIRS IN FRONT OF MY HOME?

The property owner is responsible for sidewalk repairs. Please contact the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department at (209) 668-5594 for further information.


I WANT TO CONSERVE WATER AND TAKE OUT THE GRASS IN MY FRONT YARD. CAN I DO THAT?

Yes, you can. Many residents are interested in conserving water and reducing their water usage. Guidelines and resources if you are interested in modifying your front yard landscaping. Still have questions? Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us.


I WANT TO PARK MY RV AT MY HOUSE. WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS?

The TMC allows for the long term storage of boats, trailers, RVs, and campers on residential lots except within a required front or corner side yard setback. Parking of these types of vehicles must be on a paved surface designed for such a use. Additional information about parking RVs. Contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us.


CAN I BUILD A SECOND DRIVEWAY ON MY PROPERTY FOR MY RV?

The quick answer is maybe. The TMC requires that your driveway approach widths do not exceed 40% of the total lot width and the paved area cannot occupy more than 55% of the total area of your front yard. Your plan will need to be reviewed and approved by the Planning Department and you will need to apply for an encroachment permit through the Engineering Department. You can contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us or the Engineering Department at (209) 668-5520 or by email at engineering@turlock.ca.us.


CAN I BUILD A SECOND DWELLING OR IN-LAW HOUSE ON MY PROPERTY?

Second dwelling units go by a variety of names: granny-flats, guesthouses, mother-in-law quarters, and studio apartments. The development of a second dwelling must meet all the Turlock Municipal Code §9-2-119 standards such as height, setbacks, lot coverage, and parking. The second dwelling must be architecturally compatible with the main house.

Please contact the Planning Division at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us if you have further questions.


CAN I CONVERT MY GARAGE INTO ANOTHER BEDROOM, OFFICE, OR RECREATION ROOM?

All single-family residential units must provide two off-street parking spaces. In order to convert garage space into a bedroom, office, rec room, or other living space you must demonstrate the ability to meet the requirement of two off-street parking spaces without the garage. Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us for more information.


CAN I HAVE A HOME BUSINESS?

Yes. Home occupations are permitted in conjunction with a City of Turlock Business License (hyperlink to business license application) provided that the business is compatible with, and does not change the character of the surrounding residential area. The business must not generate more traffic, noise, odors, visual impact, or storage of materials than would normally be expected in a Residential district.

We want to help you succeed and realize your dream of being a successful business owner. We encourage you to come to City Hall or call and speak with City Staff about starting a business. Checking first could save you time, trouble, and extra expense.

For more information about Home Based Businesses you can download our handout, or contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or by email at planning@turlock.ca.us.


CAN I HAVE AN SHADE STRUCTURE IN MY DRIVEWAY

Canopies or vehicle shade structures are not allowed in the front yard setback area. Typically the first 20-feet of your driveway is considered a part of the front yard setback area. A shade canopy cannot be erected in this area pursuant to TMC §9-3-203(7). Contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or planning@turlock.ca.us if you have more questions.


I’M FILLING OUT INSURANCE PAPERWORK FOR MY HOME AND NEED TO KNOW IF I’M IN A FLOOD ZONE?

Due to our flat terrain, Turlock can occasionally experience shallow flooding after heavy rainfall in the winter months. However, we are at an extremely low risk of a major flood event. No part of the City of Turlock is within either the FEMA designated 100-year or 500-year flood plain. For more information please refer to the FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center at msc.fema.gov. Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 if you have further questions.


I WANT TO START A BUSINESS IN TURLOCK

We are excited that you have chosen Turlock for your business and want to help you be successful.

Here are some questions and information to ask yourself to help you get started.

  • Are you wanting to start a home-based business or a business at a commercial location?
  • Have you checked the zoning of the location you want to open your business? You should check the City’s zoning regulations before you sign a lease or purchase a commercial building. Contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or planning@turlock.ca.us and we can confirm zoning and explain what to do next.
  • Do you need to schedule a Predevelopment Meeting? The purpose of a predevelopment meeting is to provide businesses and business owners with information regarding permits, processes, and costs associated with your project. Staff will provide you with an overview of the processes and timing of City approvals and permits. This is your opportunity to ask questions and get answers. To schedule your complimentary Predevelopment Meeting please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or planning@turlock.ca.us
  • Do you have a business license? All businesses operating in Turlock must have a valid business license. Please contact the Finance Department at (209) 668-5570 for more information.
  • Do you need a building permit? Depending on the type of improvements you are planning you may need a building permit. Contact the Building & Safety Division at (209) 668-5560 or building@turlock.ca.us for more information.


I WANT A SIGN FOR MY BUSINESS, WHAT SIZE CAN I HAVE?

Signs have a strong visual impact on the character and quality of a community. The regulation of signs is intended to provide advertising and identity for local business while also protecting and enhancing the City's character and its economic base through the provision of appropriate and aesthetic signing. Signs may be dictated by sign program or through the Sign Ordinance

Please contact the Planning Department at (209) 668-5640 or planning@turlock.ca.us for more information.



For questions about the Planning Division, please contact:

Planning Division
156 S. Broadway, Ste. 120
Turlock, CA 95380-5456
(209) 668-5640
planning@turlock.ca.us
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM




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