Community Development

Community Development includes the Department of Building Safety and the Department of Housing. It also includes Planning and Zoning services.

Permit Portal
The Community Development portal provides access to the following online services:
  • Permits
  • Rental Housing
  • Development Projects
  • Tax Abatement
  • Code Compliance
  • Zoning Applications
Permit Portal

If you have questions regarding any of the Portal services, please call (515) 957-5128. 

Building Inspection

Building
About
The mission of the Building Department is to oversee and regulate all construction activities within the corporate limits of Altoona through the adoption and enforcement of nationally recognized standards. Establishing minimum building requirements helps to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.
Insurance Rates
History has proven that without these minimum regulations many lives would be lost prematurely and insurance costs increase. The Building Department has voluntarily agreed to be inspected and reviewed every five years by the insurance industry. This allows insurance providers who participate in the program to offer lower insurance rates to the citizens of Altoona based on the rating the Building Department receives. Our current rating is “3” which is equal to larger communities in the metro area and surpasses others. We work with the Fire Department, as well as the Planning Department, to ensure the Fire Codes and the Zoning Codes are being met. Please feel free to call the contact the Building Department with any questions or concerns you may have.
Housing
About
On June 15, 2009, the City of Altoona Council established a Residential Rental Property Ordinance. This ordinance created and established a Department of Housing in the City and requires staff to conduct inspections of all rental properties in accordance with currently adopted International Property Maintenance Code.  For more details, see Altoona Code of Ordinances Chapter 162 – Housing Code.
Rental Properties

Altoona’s housing code contains provisions which apply to all residential properties that are occupied by a non-owner and requires all non-owner occupied residential properties to have a rental certificate. No owner shall rent, lease, let, or otherwise allow the occupancy of any dwelling or dwelling unit without having a current valid rental certificate.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to make certain that his/her residential rental property has a valid rental certificate. At least thirty days prior to initial occupancy as a rental property, the owner or agent shall apply to the Department of Housing for inspection of the structure and all units therein. Certificates shall be revoked if not renewed within thirty (30) days from the date of expiration.

In order to obtain a rental certificate, a property owner is required to submit a Rental Inspection & Certificate Application to the Department of Housing.  An application fee will be due prior to be scheduling a rental inspection. Upon receipt of the owner’s application and fee, the applicant will be contacted schedule an inspection.  If the property complies with the provisions of the adopted code, a rental certificate shall be issued.  If the inspection discloses the premises does not meet the provisions of the code, then notification to the applicant will be provided, and a re-inspection is required once the violations are corrected.

Single-family and duplex rental certificates are issued for thirty-six (36) months.  A certificate will not be issued for a duplex unless both units comply with code. Multiple-family dwelling rental certificates are issued for twenty-four (24) months.  A certificate will not be issued unless all dwelling units within the same structure comply with code.

If you have any questions about the Housing Code or about the procedure for obtaining a rental certificate, please call 515-957-5128. We look forward to working with you to provide safe, habitable environment for all occupants of rental properties in the City of Altoona.

Tenants
If choosing to lodge a concern or complaint with this office against a property owner, then the Tenant Complaint Form must be filled out and submitted to the landlord and a copy given to this office prior to Housing staff conducting an investigation. An owner or agent shall have seven (7) calendar days from the date of submittal to address the complaint. If the complaint is not remedied to the tenant’s satisfaction within seven (7) calendar days, the Department of Housing will schedule an inspection appointment with the tenant and owner. If upon inspection it is found that a deficiency exists due to the actions of the tenant, then said tenant will be charged for the inspection fee. This office will not resolve any cosmetic or personality disputes. For further information, see Housing Code Chapter 162.
Planning & Zoning
About
Planning & Zoning is responsible for reviewing new development proposals. Staff ensure compliance with the Altoona City Code and follow the guidance of the Altoona Comprehensive Plan. Planning & Zoning staff also handle requests for zoning changes, conditional use permits, and variances.
Development Projects
Planning & Zoning provides the following resources for prospective developers:
  • Application Fees
  • Submission Checklists
  • Meeting & Submission Schedules
  • Zoning Map
  • Altoona Comprehensive Plan
  • City Ordinances
Development resources can be accessed through our online portal. Under "Development Projects," click "Learn More About Development."
Online Portal Development Projects
Submitting Applications
Development applications can be submitted through our online portal, under "Development Projects."
Online Portal Development Projects 2

Applicants will be prompted to log in with an existing account or register for a new account.