Building a Home in Boundary County

July 7, 2016

There are relatively few administrative requirements for building a home in Boundary County and Boundary County does not require building inspections beyond what the state requires to build a home or set up a modular or mobile home.

There are no building inspections other than those required by the state; for the minimum recommended construction standards it is recommended that an engineer or construction contractor be contacted. Building your home in Boundary County involves some considerations regarding optimum placement on your property: in addition to locating septic drain fields and the need for a perc test (Panhandle Health), you will want your garage and driveway situated to take advantage of the contours of your land in conjunction with conforming to county driveway standards (Road & Bridge) such that not only is your home situated where you want but your parcel is in compliance with current health and highway guidelines.

Before beginning construction or installation of a residential structure, however, it is necessary to obtain a residential placement permit (see Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance, Section 6.4), which requires completion of an application and a $35 fee. Upon receipt of an application for a residential placement permit the zoning administrator will ensure that the parcel meets the minimum lot size for the zone district in which construction is taking place or that the parcel is a legal non-conforming lot of record, that set-back requirements are met, that the property where the home is being placed does not lie within wetland or flood zones identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and that the application meets airport overlay provisions.

Upon receipt of an application for a residential placement permit, a copy will be provided the County GIS Mapping Department for assignment of a physical address and to Road & Bridge to ensure the driveway conforms to standards. The zoning administrator may take up to ten business days to approve or deny an application or provide an explanation as to why this deadline can't be met. If a new address is part of the request it will be provided with the approval permit.

If you are building within the incorporated city limits of Bonners Ferry or Moyie Springs, separate city regulations apply; in Bonners Ferry, call City Hall at (208) 267-3105, in Moyie Springs, call the City Office at (208) 267-2598.

Before purchasing a parcel in the county on which you intend to build a home, it is a good idea to contact the Planning and Zoning office at (208) 267-7212 with the parcel number of the property you are interested in to find out what the zoning of that parcel is and whether a zoning certificate to allow construction can be approved. If the parcel does not meet the standards established in the Boundary County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance, no permit will be issued and residential construction on that parcel will be in violation of the ordinance, subjecting the owner to the possibility of prosecution and removal of the structure (See Zoning & Subdivision Ordinance, Section 4.6.3).

If the property is located in a flood zone identified by FEMA, a National Flood Insurance Program Certificate of Elevation is required, which must be completed by an engineer or surveyor licensed in Idaho to determine base flood elevation and to ensure that the first floor elevation of the structure is above base flood level. Failure to obtain a valid Certificate of Elevation when building in a flood zone is not only a violation of the zoning and subdivision ordinance, but can result in Boundary County being excluded from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, meaning that flood insurance, most often required for financing a home or land within a FEMA-identified flood zone, will not be available to anyone in the county.

In addition to these County requirements, the State of Idaho requires an electrical inspection and a plumbing inspection, administered through the Idaho Division of Building Safety. If you are installing a septic system, a permit is required from Panhandle Health; if you are drilling a well, a permit is required from the Idaho Department of Water Resources; and if you are building or improving a driveway connecting to a county road, a permit from County Road and Bridge is required. Information on each agency is provided below.

Boundary County Road & Bridge

PO Box 518
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 267-3838

Idaho Division of Building Safety

1250 Ironwood Dr., Ste 220
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(800) 955-3044

Idaho Department of Water Resources

7600 Mineral Drive Suite 100
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815-7763
(208) 762-2800

Panhandle Health

7402 Caribou
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 267-5558

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