Everything you need to know about permits for home basketball courts, tennis courts and every other type of sports field. 

If you are looking to install a sports field or court at your home, you probably have questions about the permits, approval and pre-construction process. As with any home renovation, there are various steps that homeowners have to go through prior to building in order to comply with the local laws. For those who are not familiar with the process, it is highly recommended to seek out professional help, which can ensure that your applications are approved and expedite the permitting process.

When is a permit needed for a home sports facility?

The permitting requirements vary between municipalities, however almost always there will be a need for a permit on any large-scale construction on your property. Anything involved laying a base surface, such as tennis or basketball courts, definitely require building permits. Grass-based fields such as soccer or golf may not, depending the size of your property and the proximity to property lines, neighbors and if any fencing is necessary.

The types of permits for backyard sports fields

Again, everything depends on the town that you live in and the type of field you would like to build. The standard paperwork involves an application for home construction/renovation, a building permit, zoning compliance and in some cases construction licenses. The local code officer has all the necessary information, however speaking with an experienced builder with knowledge of the process is highly suggested.

What is the process to obtain a sports building permit?

Each town will have its own unique permit acquisition process, but the standard procedure is to speak with your local code officer to understand which specific application you must file. Then, you fill-out the application with the information about the type of sports field you would like to build, your property information and anything else that is requested. The application is then reviewed by the township to see if the provided information is in compliance with zoning and building laws. If necessary, an inspection may be scheduled and a site visit conducted.

How long does the permit approval process take?

The permitting process for home sports fields should not take long if the application is completed properly and the steps have been taken to ensure the construction is within compliance laws. Typically, an application will be reviewed within three days and if required, an on-site inspection will be done by a member of the municipal board. If everything is within the local code and there are no zoning problems, then a permit can be granted. However, there are specialist sports landscaping firms that are able to expedite the process due to their past history of working within the business and relationships with municipalities.

Cost of the backyard sports permits

Permits for sports facilities will be different amongst each town, but the standard price for the permit itself is in the $100 to $300 range. There can also be some auxiliary fees, which include the application review fee, the inspection cost and zoning fees. Typically, the entire cost of the permits for a tennis court is $250 with all the paperwork and fees included in the state of New Jersey, yet can be lower if working with a professional company that better understands the application process.

What can happen if you build without a permit

The municipalities do not look favorably upon homeowners who undertake any type of construction projects without a valid permit. Depending on the type of facility being built, the location and the zoning bylaws, fines can range from $250 to $2000. Even if you have provided an application to build and it appears that all the information is in order, it is very important not to begin building until you have received the actual permit itself. Building prior to receiving the permit is still illegal and can result in the same fines.

Examples of home sports facilities that require building permits

Generally, any large structures, base-laid courts, lighting or fencing will require some sort of permit. Tennis courts, basketball courts, batting cages, ice hockey rinks, racquetball and more will all need one due to their size and materials needed. Some grass-based fields included soccer, football and golf greens may be exempt, with the size of your property and proximity to the property lines playing a factor in the decision. Regardless of the sport, you should always consult with a professional before building any home sports field, as failure to comply with your town’s regulations can result in a hefty fine and loss of the field.

Professionals can make your permit process easy

If this is your first time considering a home sports solution, it is recommended that you contact a professional sports builder before calling your code office. Companies that have knowledge in the field of sports landscaping already know how the application process works and often have a permit expediter that can have your application approved in a much shorter time.

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