In most cities, an accurate plot plan is required as a part of the necessary paperwork in order to apply for a pool building permit. Sometimes, it can be difficult to obtain a copy of the builder's plot plan for your house unless you are the original homeowner. For all of you aspiring owner/builders who live in Maricopa County (Arizona), there's good news.|
Cities will use the plot plan to insure that you are in compliance with city regulations (e.g. setbacks, barriers, etc), that you are not violating any other land use laws, or that you are planning to dig in a PUE (public utility easement) zone. You can read the article on plot plans and other paperwork required by the city to apply for your pool building permit here.
Builders can usually give you a copy of your plot plan if you are the original owner of the house, but it may be harder to obtain if you are not. Some cities have a copy of your plot plan on file in their developmental services department. A quick call down to your city to find out is usually worth the 5 minutes it takes to make the call. If you have already tried that route and have even contacted the original builder with no success, here is another alternative:
If you have a house in the Maricopa County region of Arizona, there is a way for you to get the information free and get it online.
Back in 2002, the state's county assessor came up with a system called the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) portal that attempted to convert their entire paper system of mapping subdivision, plot, and parcel information into digital files. It made sense to do this because Maricopa County at the time was the fastest growing county in the nation and a digital system could more quickly and accurately allow the state to track, update, and capture parcel information. This had huge benefits. With this system, they could issue building permits more quickly, perform more accurate valuations, and process appeals faster. Also, by going digital, it would allow them to give out public access to the information via the Internet. It would be a win-win situation. So they contracted with Smart Data Strategies (SDS) to implement the system and in April of 2002, GIS was released to the public.
The above image is a screen-shot of the system. You can click here to access the system. When you access the GIS system, you'll need to plug in your house number and street name (name only!). Once you submit that, GIS will pull up your house lot with all of your lots information.
One thing that will be missing from this plot plan is the footprint of your house relative to your plot. Unfortunately, the GIS system does not include this information. You'll have to take some measurements of your back property line to the house and draw it into your final drawing. But at least you'll be able get the critical plot dimension information.
You'll then need to use your software drawing program of choice to superimpose your pool design into the plot plan. For non-computer savvy people, that may be a little more challenging, but for others with some basic software drawing package skills, you'll be able to whip up a pool plot plan drawing in no time at all. And if that fails, you could always fall back on the good 'ol pencil and graph paper method.
Whatever method you choose to use, remember to make sure its neat and its accurate. Your city will be using it to determine whether you are in compliance with city regulations. And if you are still feeling a little apprehensive doing it yourself, you could always contract the services of David or Tish who can whip up a professional pool design drawing for you at the cost of a few hundred dollars. Again, you have quite a few alternatives.
Whatever you decide, know that this is the perfect time of the year to be starting the design/permit activities for your owner-built pool. The cooler weather is starting to slow down the demand for the services of pool sub-contractors across the board, and this is when owner-builders should be kicking into high-gear!