How to apply for an emergency permit

Emergency permits are issued for work that is needed to avoid situations that pose an immediate danger to life, health, property, or essential public services. 

Timeline: As soon as possible

Cost: The application fee for an emergency permit is the same cost as for non-emergency permits. Check the fees for administrative or major permit applications, depending on the nature of project.

Contact BCDC immediately

Contact BCDC immediately when you become aware of the need for emergency work.

If you are calling outside normal business hours, you can either leave a message or follow the directions on BCDC’s outgoing voicemail message line for how to reach the Executive Director.

What projects qualify for emergency permits

The Executive Director may grant an emergency permit if:

  • It is determined that an emergency exists and requires action more quickly than can reasonably occur when following BCDC’s procedures for issuing permits
  • The work proposed is consistent with BCDC’s laws and policies

Do not apply for an emergency permit if you can obtain a regular BCDC permit in the time before you need to start work on your emergency repairs. 

For emergencies that require immediate action

In the event of an emergency that requires urgent action, BCDC’s Executive Director, after consulting with the Commission’s Chair, may issue verbal authorization for work within BCDC’s jurisdiction that is necessary to handle the emergency.

If authorization is verbally granted for an emergency permit, a regular permit application must be submitted, including the appropriate application fee, within five working days after having received an emergency permit.

To apply for an emergency permit

Email a scanned copy of your application letter to with the subject line “Emergency Permit Application.” Include the following information:

  • Name, address, and phone number of property owner(s)
  • Name, address, and phone number of the property owners’ representative(s), if any
  • Address where emergency work will occur
  • Assessor’s Parcel Number where emergency work will occur
  • Nature and cause of emergency
  • Proposed emergency work and method of work
  • An estimate of when work will be performed
  • The contractor or person(s) who will do emergency work (include the address and phone number, if different from representative above)
  • Name and phone number of local government contact
  • Any known existing BCDC permits or other authorizations for the site
  • As time allows, also submit the following:
    • Photographs of the emergency situation
    • Aerial photographs or a site plan showing where emergency work will occur
    • Evidence of the applicant’s interest in property on which emergency work is to be performed, such as a grant deed or other property documents
    • Evidence of approval by local planning department

For detailed and official instructions about this process, see Chapter 6 of BCDC’s administrative regulations.