Thank you for contacting the City of Alma. Broadly, the city issues four types of permits: Building, Zoning, Sign and Public Works Permits. The first two are sometimes difficult to distinguish. To help with that, both use the same permit application form which can be found on our website.
A building permit is required when altering the load bearing properties of any primary structure. This includes the construction or alteration of walls, floor supports, rafters, foundation elements, and other load bearing structural elements. A building permit is also required whenever an accessory building, such as a shed, deck, breezeway or lean-to if attached to the primary structure or if the accessory building is larger than 200 square feet in size. Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC work require permits through the State of Michigan Building and Construction Codes Division. These permits are required for any alteration of those systems except for changing external fixtures. (light Sockets, switches, faucets, valves, water closets, etc.) Though a primary home owner does not require the services of a licensed residential builder to perform work on the property where they reside, a permit is required and the project must be completed with a design in compliance with the enacted building code. Common home maintenance activities that do not require a permit are painting/siding/exterior treatments, re-roofing when only the surface is replaced, concrete flatwork, and the replacement of windows when the size of the windows will not be changed.
A zoning permit is required when altering the way you use property in any meaningful way. This usually involves the addition of an accessory structure less than 200 square feet in size or permanently installed pools, spas, or trampolines. A zoning permit uses the same application form as our building permit.
A sign permit is required for the erection of commercial signage. Though commercial signage is most common in commercial districts, signs related to home based occupations are allowed by permit. All signage erected within the city must comply with the City Sign Ordinance and maintain a valid sign permit.
A Public Works Permit is necessary when excavating or performing work within the city right of way or street. A fee scale and description of Public Works Permits are available via our website.
When applying for any permit, please allow 7-14 days for processing. The permit application process: Submission of Application --> Application Review --> Collection of Permit Fee --> Issuance of Permit --> Project Completion --> Final Inspection.