Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are some of the common questions that the Inspections Division receives.  If there is any doubt, or if you have a question not listed below, please feel free to contact the Inspections Division at (507) 457-8231.

What do I need a building permit for?

All new construction, additions, remodeling, alterations and most replacements.
Sidewalks and Driveways. (Contact Engineering 507-457-8269)

What kind of work does not need a building permit ?

  1. Fences not over 7 feet tall. (If over 7 feet, a variance will be required).
  2. Storage sheds less than 200 sq. ft.
  3. Painting, papering, tiling, cabinets, counter tops, floor coverings and similar finish work.
  4. Retaining walls not over 4 feet in height.
  5. Decks & Platforms not over 30″ above grade unless attached to a permanent structure.
  6. Prefabricated swimming pools above ground not exceeding 5,000 gallons and not more than 24″ deep.
  7. Window awnings.
  8. Moveable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 to 9 feet in height.
  9. Playground equipment.

Where are my property lines?

Property lines can best be determined by calling a surveyor.  Many surveyors are listed in the Winona Telephone Directory.  The City of Winona does not mark property lines.

What do I need to know about putting up a fence?

  1. Permits are not required in most cases (please call the Inspections Office to verify).
  2. Determine your property lines by contacting a surveyor (listed in the telephone book).
  3. You may put your fence up to, but not on the property line.  On street sides, it must be at least one foot back from the sidewalk.
  4. Fences may be up to 6′ high in the back (non street side) and up to 4′ high  in the front or street sides of lot.
  5. For corner lots, please call the Inspection Division as the height regulations and setbacks differ. In any R-district on any corner lot, no fence shall be erected or maintained within 20 feet of the corner (the point of intersection of the right-of way lines), which interferes with traffic visibility across the corner.
  6. Placing the “nice” side toward the neighboring lot is a courtesy to neighbors, however, there is no code to require this practice.