Retaining Wall


A building permit is required for any wall that exceeds four (4) feet in height (from bottom of footing to top of wall) or that supports a surcharge or any Class I, II, or IIIA liquids, regardless of height, unless determined otherwise by the City. A Natural Resources Management Permit (NRMP) may also be required for retaining walls.


The plan must show the details of how the wall will be constructed. A site plan showing the location of the wall on the property must also be submitted. The plans shall be prepared and signed by a licensed engineer. Certification that the wall was constructed according to the plans may be required from the engineer who prepared the plans. Plans will be reviewed by the inspection and engineering departments.


The construction of a retaining wall cannot change the drainage patterns of any lot or area without approval of the engineering department.


Setbacks are specific to your lot. Contact the Planning Department at (952) 953-2575. Impacts to drainage will be considered in determining setbacks. Consideration will also be given to reinforcement required behind the wall. In no case can any portion of a retaining wall or its reinforcement encroach over a property line without consent of the adjacent property owner. Retaining walls cannot encroach into any easement of record including drainage and utility easements or -right of way without City of Apple Valley Engineering approval.


No excavation for a retaining wall may encroach over a property line. Excavation materials must be protected to prevent erosion. 


Inspections will be required at various times during the construction of the wall. Notify the inspection department when the work begins. Some inspections may be required by the design engineer. Inspection by the City is not a guarantee of the structural integrity of the wall.

Note: Wall height is measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall. The footing is the base material specified on the plans.

This information applies to most retaining wall situations. The City reserves the right to evaluate each situation and make changes accordingly.


  1. Specify height and length of retaining wall
  2. Submit plans to be reviewed
  3. Submit certificate of survey showing the location of the proposed retaining wall. The dimensions to the property lines must be shown on the site plan
  4. Complete a Natural Resources Management Permit (NRMP) Application