You may need to prepare a site plan if you are planning to improve your property.
A site plan is an accurately-scaled drawing that shows the existing conditions of and proposed improvements to your property. It includes the location of any existing and proposed development such as structures, paving, and uses of land.
Your site plan must show where your property lines are located in relation to any existing and proposed structures, parking, or other site features.
Step 1: Determine when a site plan is required
A site plan is required for any building permit for new development or any redevelopment that includes exterior work. For example, you need to have a site plan if you are reconfiguring your parking lot or constructing a new building or addition. A site plan is also required with many types of land use applications, including land divisions, site plan review, and conditional use permits.
You can call or visit the Permit Application Center if you need help determining if you need a site plan. A planner can help you determine what type of land use application you need to accomplish your project and can give you a land use application packet to guide you through the land use process.
Land use application packets include a list of items needed to accomplish your project. Each packet describes what you need to show on your site plan for your specific type of application.
Step 2: Determine property boundaries and lot dimensions
Use one of the following options to determine your property boundaries and dimensions.
Option 1: Use tax assessor’s map
You can use your property's tax lot number to look up the tax assessor’s map that includes your lot. Assessor’s maps are regularly-updated maps that are drawn to scale based on the latest recorded surveys and plats of the area. They usually include lot dimensions for all sides of your property. The lot dimension information found on the Assessor's map should allow you to correctly draw the property dimensions on your site plan, but it does not show the location of buildings, driveways, or other improvements. You can then locate property corner pins on your property. County tax assessor maps for Marion and Polk counties are available at
Option 2: Use subdivision plat information
You can look up your lot on the recorded plat within which your property is located. The legal description of your property, which should be included on the deed, usually contains your property’s lot or parcel number and the subdivision name in which your lot is located. In cases where the property is not within a subdivision plat, the legal description will likely be a ‘metes and bounds’ description that describes the perimeter of the property in greater detail, without reference to a plat. Maps for Marion and Polk counties are available at
www.ormap.net. Surveys and plats are available for:
Option 3: Use building records
You can use a previously approved site plan of your property as a guide to save time when preparing your site plan. If there is an existing structure on the property that required building permits and was built in the 1950s through the 1980s, there is a possibility that the City may have an archived copy the original building plans on file, including a site plan. If there is an existing structure on the property that required building permits and was built after the 1980s, then there is a high likelihood that the City has archived the original site plan. You must
make a public records request through the City’s Legal Department in order to obtain old site plans.
Option 4: Hire a licensed surveyor
A licensed surveyor can locate your property lines and prepare a topographic survey of your property that shows its boundaries in relation to the street and existing buildings. You can use this information to prepare your site plan correctly. You can also hire a design professional to prepare your entire site plan.
Step 3: Determine the location of structures and other features
Using your property boundary location and dimension information, you must determine where existing buildings, streets, sidewalks, driveways, trees, wells, septic tanks, and other site features are located in relation to the property boundaries. Measure the distance from these site features to the surrounding property lines.
Step 4: Draw the plan
You can prepare your site plan by using all of the information you have gathered. You can draw your site plan by hand or use a computer graphics or drafting program. The site plan must be drawn to scale.
Step 5: Check the drawing and make copies
Check your work for accuracy before submitting it to the Permit Application Center. You can check your application packet to determine the size and number of copies of the site plan you need to submit.