How to Prepare a Site Plan

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 when proposing to add new structures to your residential property or any new development/redevelopment that includes exterior work. For example, you need to have a site plan if you are doing an addition to your home, constructing a new garage, re-configuring a commercial parking lot, or any new construction. A site plan is also required with many types of land use applications, including land divisions, design review, and use permits.

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 Sacramento County 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. To obtain copies of recorded maps, contact Sacramento County Recorder's Office

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, there may be a possibility that the City may have an archived copy the original site plan. To request a record search, complete a Public Request

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, creeks, and other site features are located in relation to the property boundaries. Measure the distance from these site features to the surrounding property lines.

The site plan must include the location of any easements or flood zone that may exist on the property.  

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 for accuracy

Check your work for accuracy before submitting it with the permit application.