Grading Season Exceptions

Grading Season Exceptions

The Lake Tahoe Basin grading season runs from May 1 through October 15 as long as conditions are dry. Outside of the grading season, construction sites must be winterized and all soil disturbing activities (excavating, backfilling, etc.) are prohibited unless a Grading Season Exception is issued by TRPA. Exceptions are only approved for projects where an emergency exists and the grading is necessary for the protection of public health and safety, for erosion control purposes, or for the protection of water quality. Grading Season Exceptions are not issued to excavate a new foundation.

The following activities do not require an exception, even outside the grading season:

    • Up to 3 cubic yards of soil disturbance (when not part of a larger project) if completed within 48 hours and the site is stabilized to prevent erosion
    • Paving, if all grading and base compaction is already complete


1. Gather information about the property. In order to complete the form, you will need the permit number (TRPA, County, or City permit) and either the property address or APN. Photographs are required for review of your GSE request. Required photographs include:

    • Driveway (Paved access is required)
    • Proposed work area
    • Temporary BMPs
    • Stabilization

2. Register for an account with our online records service in order to access online applications.

Apply Online
Sign into your account, click “Building”, and click “Create an Application.” Step-by-step guide for using online portal

3. Pay fees. The online form requires payment by credit card. If you wish to pay by cash or check, call or visit our office to submit payment. The fee is required for review of your request and does not guarantee approval. No refunds will be issued if your request is denied.

4. Once your request is submitted, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the address provided. An inspector will review your request and will send e-mail notification within 3 business days to let you know if your request has been approved.

5. Occasional e-mail updates may be sent out regarding weather conditions or other important news related to your grading season exception.



    • Residential projects: $93
    • All other non-residential projects: $223
    • EIP projects: contact inspector for more information


1. Temporary BMPs must be installed and fully functioning at all times.

2. All grading/soil disturbing activities must be suspended during periods of precipitation or when the soil is covered in snow, saturated, or muddy.

3. The property owner/contractor is responsible for checking the National Weather Service forecast daily to determine if weather conditions are appropriate for grading/soil disturbing activities.

4. The property owner/contractor must be able to winterize the construction site within 12 hours, in case weather conditions change suddenly.

5. No sediment or waste materials may be discharged from the construction site.

6. Upon completion of the grading/soil disturbing activities, the entire site must be winterized in accordance with the TRPA Winterization Guidelines. Failure to comply with the conditions of the Grading Season Exception and Winterization Guidelines may result in a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation per day.