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What to Include in a Site PLan Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


The site plan is crucial when it comes to designing a building. That's why a lot of time, thought and money go into conducting a site analysis before the conceptual phase of design is started. The elements of your site such as topogr­aphy, vegeta­tion, infras­tru­cture, weather, culture and even existing buildings and local policies all influence the final design of a building.

Once you've conducted a thorough site analysis, you then need to present your concept with a site plan showing existing as well as proposed condit­ions.

Property lines

Property line Including the property line of your site is one of the most important elements you'll want to include in your site plan. In a way, it sets the stage for your design. You can have the most innovative or beautiful building, but you don’t want to encroach on an adjacent owner’s property. If you do, you’ll likely be in for extra time conducting more surveys, more drawings and possibly even lawsuits depending on how nice your neighbor is.

Existing and proposed conditions

Proposed Conditions For city officials and plan reviewers to grasp the full scope of your design, you'll want to present both existing and proposed condit­ions. This shows how your design will affect the site and maybe even how the site impacts your design. It also lets you know if other city officials such as inspectors need to be present throughout the constr­uction of your concept.

Distance between buildings & property lines

Unders­tanding your site goes beyond knowing what happens within your property line. Surrou­nding infras­tru­cture and buildings play an important role in shaping your design. Issues like building height, zoning, building usage and even fire hazards are all determined by what goes on around your site. So make sure to include those dimensions in your plan.


Parking is a huge issue when it comes to planning a site, especially in a commercial setting or even a dense downtown enviro­nment. Not only is parking at a premium in these areas, but a lot of time, thought and research goes into determ­ining the adequate amount of parking. So make sure you include parking diagrams equipped with dimens­ions, the flow of traffic, signage and even handic­apped access­ibility in your site plan.


Many code requir­ements govern the design of access onto your site from the driveway width to curb cut dimens­ions. Make sure you know the rules and then include all dimensions in your site plan.

Surrou­nding streets

Unders­tanding how traffic flows through and around your site is crucial. Showing the surrou­nding streets whether they're main arteries, avenues or dead ends will help illustrate the impact your design traffic loads around your site. It also provides context for your building. Often times the people reviewing your plans are familiar with the area they live and adding street names makes it easier for them to understand your design and if it's something that's approp­riate for that particular area.

Ground sign locations

Street This one is almost an extension of the last one. You want to tell the whole story of your site. So when you draw your streets, include things like stop signs, highways signs, etc. You'll even want to include traffic lights, too.

Landscaped areas

Landsc­aping is not only there for aesthetics but often times it's part of a fragile ecosystem that must be preserved. Bulldozing all the trees and starting over may seem like a quick fix but often times is not ideal, especially in this day and age of sustai­nab­ility and reducing site impact. So make sure you include existing and proposed landsc­aping improv­ements in your site plans.


easements Make sure you include easements in your site plan. There are many types of easements out there like right-­of-­ways, easements of support and even utility easements. You can show these graphi­cally or with text. Using both is ideal; this way there's no question what easements exist on your site.

Fire hydrants

Access to the site is necessary for emergency help. There are codes governing the distance your building will need to be from fire hydrants depending on the type of constr­uction. If doing a renovation often times this won't be needed, but if you’re doing new constr­uction this issue will come up when submitting your plans to the govern­ment.

Make sure fire hydrants are included in your site plan.