General Permits

General Permits are a specific type of site development review, permitting and inspection process for City of Austin Departments and Franchised Utilities. General Permits allow infrastructure improvements, maintenance and new installations on City of Austin owned property or within easements dedicated to the City of Austin. City of Austin and franchise utilities are allowed to construct on city properties with a General Permit.

  • Examples of City of Austin owned property include:
    • Parkland
    • City of Austin ROW’s (Right of Way)
    • Water quality lands owned and managed by Austin Water Utility or Watershed Protection
    • Utility sites or easements dedicated, used and maintained by the City of Austin. 
    • Work within City of Austin ROW’s include sidewalks, bicycles lanes, traffic circles, crosswalks and pedestrian crosswalks, public utilities (Austin Water Utility lines, Austin Energy, Public Works projects) and private franchise utility construction (gas lines, tele-communications)
       

Requirements

A fee based operating contract, the Annual General Permit (AGP), is a negotiated contract agreement between Development Services Department and eligible parties. Eligible parties are City of Austin partner departments or private franchise utilities, the AGP is renewed annually or every 2 years with each party. 

  • The AGP document determines when the scope of work is outside the scope of the General Permit Review Program, establishing the limits of what type of construction qualifies for a General Permit.
  • Establishes partner department’s or a franchise utilities responsibilities such as submitting construction plans which meet City Code, including all specifications, design criteria manuals, interdepartmental agreements, MOUs, etc.
  • The AGP document allows for field inspections and process audits to ensure submitted plans follow the AGP terms and conditions.
  • AGP plans are an engineered set of plans developed for construction.
  • Submitted plans are typically reviewed for environmental, some transportation, limited site plan review, and others as needed. 

     

Types of General Permit projects

The AGP contract agreement allows for two types of General Permit projects with different scopes of work described with different review times.

  1. A smaller project with a maximum limit of work of 3000sf or a maximum of 300lf is reviewed and permitted as a General Permit Exemption, unless otherwise specified in the department stakeholder’s Annual General Permit. 
     
  2. Larger scopes of work are reviewed and permitted as Formal General Permit Applications.
     

Applications and Forms

Review Time

The AGP contract agreement allows for two types of General Permit projects with different scopes of work described with different review times. A smaller project with a maximum limit of work of 3000sf or a maximum of 300lf is reviewed and permitted as a General Permit Exemption, unless otherwise specified in the permitholder's AGP.  Larger scopes of work are reviewed and permitted as Formal General Permit Applications.

  • Formal General Permit Applications submitted through Intake have a ten (10) business day turnaround for initial reviews and updates. The Master Comment Report is generated two (2) business days later as long as all reviews are on time.
  • General Permit Exemptions do not technically have a code mandated turnaround time; however, the internal performance measure is ten (10) business days.
  • A General Permit is an alternative site plan that does not require the same level of review as a normal site plan submitted to Land Use Review.
  • Any project that exceeds the parameters of a General Permit Exemption or a Formal General Permit Application and is submitted to Land Use Review.

Staff is available for preliminary site visits or whenever a permit holder has a need to have plan review staff involved for any issues that might require a correction to an approved plan set.
 

Pre-construction

The General Permit Inspectors are housed within the Environmental Inspections work unit in the Construction Inspections Division of Development Services Department. 

  • A pre-construction meeting is required prior to any construction activity. 
  • Once the review is completed and plans issued, scheduling the pre-construction meeting is coordinated through the Environmental Inspections main number 512.974.2278.