The Engineering, Surveying and Permit Services Department (ESPS) was established as a component department of the Development Serivces Agency during the 1991-92 fiscal year by action of the Board of Supervisors. On September, 5, 1992, the Building Inspection function was also transferred to the department from the Planning Department. On July 1, 1994, the County Service Area function was transferred from the Waste Management Department. The department is divided into seven operating groups: Field Survey, Office Survey, Engineering Division, County Service Areas, West Kern Inspection Operations, East Kern Inspection Operations, and Counter Operations.
This Section performs field surveys requested by other County Departments and the Board of Supervisors. They also replace or perpetuate Government corners, set or replace road monuments, County property corners, and points used for horizontal and vertical control in construction projects. This Section may conduct investigation surveys, cadastral surveys and also geodetic surveys, which aid in the development of subdivisions, roads and large drainage studies. This type of control is also used for photogrammetry.
This Section processes final tract and parcel maps, corner records, amended maps, certificates of correction, records of surveys and filed maps. Also, legal descriptions, as well as accompanying plats, are prepared and/or checked at the request of other County Departments. The Map Room provides a multitude of historical information including archived field books, maps, government notes and aerial photographs, as well as the most up-to-date information. Much of this information is also available on our website under “Maps”. The County GIS is also maintained with many layers of information to assist Emergency personnel, County Departments and the general Public.
The Engineering Division is comprised of the Floodplain Management/Grading, Drainage Maintenance, and Development Plan Review and Field Inspections.
Floodplain Management is responsible for management of potential flood hazards created by new development encroaching on floodplains and imposing flood protection requirements, including hydrologic studies, flood mapping, rainfall and stream gauging, and implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program. The benefit of having an active floodplain management is that it facilitates reduced flood insurance rates for the residents of Kern County. It is also a requirement for federal cost recovery in case of a disaster. Additionally, this Section is responsible for review of grading plans and geologic reports submitted to the county.
The Development Review Unit reviews and inspects tentative tract, parcel maps, and other development projects in accordance with the Land Division Ordinance and Subdivision Standards. They review and approve street plans and profiles, water system plans, sewer system plans, improvement agreements and securities, and other documents relating to conditional use permits and map approvals.
The Drainage Maintenance Unit is responsible for operation and maintenance of the county maintained drainage facilities. They review proposed modifications to existing facilities and are responsible for implementation of federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") requirements.
County Service Areas are administered by this unit which provides a wide range of services to county residents, such as streetlights, landscape maintenance, street sweeping, school crossing guards, sewer services, etc. County Service Areas are required for most new development. The unit is now required to administer the CSAs in compliance with proposition 218. This unit also oversees the office administrative functions of the department.
Counter Operations consists of four groups: Customer Service, Plan Check/Specialist, Records and Clerical Support, and Counter Staff. The Customer Service group is the first point of contact for anyone entering the building. They provide telephone support for some of the departments and guidance to the public seeking any service provided throughout the Public Services Building. The Plan Check/Specialist group has responsibility for reviewing plans for compliance with all applicable building code requirements. The Records/Clerical Support group is responsible for maintaining the records of all building permits, dispatching inspectors on called inspections, and providing necessary clerical support. The Counter Staff is the primary interface with the public and is responsible for answering questions from the public, reviewing building applications, determining and collecting fees, and tracking of the permits as they proceed through plan check and review required by other departments such as Zoning, Fire, Health, etc.
These two Sections are responsible for field inspections of various building projects to assure compliance with the approved plans during the construction process. Also, they are responsible for operation of outlying permit offices, which also issue permits and coordinate reviews by the Plan Check/Specialist staff when necessary. Finally, these groups are responsible for enforcement of the zoning ordinance.