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San Diego County Permits & Fees


San Diego County Permits & Fees

The numbers below will be based off of a 2,200 square foot home. The 2200 sq. ft. includes the living space only and does not include the garage or porches. On a home that is bigger, the permits and fees will go up. The example we are going to use will be a home that is on a septic system. Included in the costs will be the permits and fees for a new septic system to be installed on the property.

One of the biggest expenses you could have is having to tie into city services, city sewer or city water, which could run about $15,000 each or more. So if you need to tie into city sewer or water you will need to check with the correct municipality and make sure that you know those fees. The fees will just give you the opportunity to tie into the sewer connection at the street. That will also get you a water meter that you can tie onto. You will still have to trench to the house and install the underground piping to connect to the house.

For a home on a septic system the average fees are $25,000-$40,000. So now let’s go into what is actually in those numbers.

School Fees​

So the first thing is, you’re gonna have to pay the school fees which will vary depending on what school district you’re in. So you need to definitely go to your school district or call them and ask how much the school fees are. The school fees are based on the living footage of the home.


2,200 sq. ft. – Living Area of Home

$3.50 – $4.50 per / Square Foot –  School Fees

$7,700 – $9,900 – Total School Fees

Traffic Impact Fees

So anytime you build a new home you will need to pay a traffic impact fee. Traffic impact fees can range anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 and some areas are even higher than that; it just depends on what areas of San Diego County you are in.

Plan Check, Building Permit, & Fire Mitigation Fees



You will have plan check fees which you will have to pay when you go down to the county or city building department and submit your plans for submission. You will also have the fire mitigation fees, building permit fees which cover the cost of the inspections once that building permit is pulled.

Example for a 2,200 Square Foot Home:

$8,000 = Plan Check Fee + Building Permit Fee + Fire Mitigation Fees

Park Fees

The other one that’s a decent chunk of money is the park fee. It will be about $4,500 so that’s pretty significant. The park fee is a one-time fee that’s paid when you go to pull your building permit.

Septic System Fees

For your septic system, you will have a septic layout fee and a septic permit fee. The first step is to have your septic layout submitted and approved. Once that is done you can you pull your septic permit and pay the fee at the same time you pull your building permit. You will not be able to get a septic permit unless you are building a home.

For a 2,200 sq.ft. home your septic layout and permit will cost roughly $2,500. That does not include any additional engineering or any percolation tests. If the lot you have will not allow a standard septic system to be installed or there are special circumstances involved you will need an engineer that specializes in a septic system to get things figured out. This additional cost can be another $4,000 to $6,000.

Percolation Testing & Fees

If you have to do a percolation test, that will be around the $3,500 range depending on the lot. However, you may be able to get that fee waived by the county. Even if your lot has no data for previous percolation testing they will take the worst case scenario on the percolation rates for the lots that neighbor you and will base your septic system size on that. By doing this it allows you to save the $3,500.


Plan Processing & Fees

The last thing that you will have to pay for is your plans being processed through the county so you can get your building permit pulled. This can be a headache for someone that isn’t familiar with the county. It is important to get an experienced plan processor to take care of this step. These fees typically run between $500-$1,000 but can run higher than that if there’s any specific issues with the property.

Total Permit Fees for 2,200 Sq.Ft. Custom Home


So to recap you will be spending on average $25,000 – $40,000 for the permits and fees on the front end of the project. For our example of a 2,200 sq.ft. the fees will add up to around $27,000-$28,000.

How You Can Save Money!

If you are looking for land to build on and find a lot that had a home on it in the Witch Fire or Cedar Fire, and it burned down, or there was a structure on the land previously and it was burned in a structure fire, the City or County of San Diego will allow you to waive the park fees and the traffic impact fees as long as you are able to prove that those fees were previously paid by someone else.

Another money saver is if you had a prior structure, and say the home was 2, 000 square feet or 2,200 square feet, you don’t have to pay school fees on that either. So if the school fees were $3.50 a foot, that can save you $8,000 on that front end.

If you would like more information about building, buying, or selling your home or land join us and listen to “The Real Property Show” podcast.

Information on Costs to Build a Custom Home!



1. Request a Project Consultation Online or by Phone

2. We Will Meet With You at Your Home or Building Site

3. Establish a Budget for the Project & Start Drawing Plans

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