New Construction Information


Property Purchase & Construction Information

Recommended steps prior to buying or building in the City of Houston, Alaska

  • The City of Houston has zoning laws that limit the types of construction in certain areas. To view the City of Houston official zoning please use the Matanuska-Susitna Borough parcel map for the most up to date map layer, click here. (Search by street address and add the zoning layer) To view zoning rules and regulations in Title 10 of Houston Municipal Code, click here.
  • Contact the City of Houston Public Works Department at or call (907) 892-6869.
  • Check for existing or planned uses nearby that could impact your site such as noise, heavy traffic, vibration, smoke, lighting/glare, odor, safety, etc. Remember that residential and commercial uses are allowed in many areas of the City of Houston. If nearby land is zoned HI (Heavy Industrial) you may have more traffic and noise in the future as the city grows.
  • Obtain Driveway Permits from the City of Houston to access public roads and streets. Click for Permit
  • Obtain Construction Permits for anything over 480 square ft. from the City of Houston. Click for Permit
  • Flood zones will require a flood zone permit from the Mat-Su Borough and permits in these areas may have additional construction requirements. Click here


 Additional Property Rules and Regulations

  • Construction Permits are required. Click Here for more information.
  • To find setback requirements click here and then type "Setback" in the search box on the upper left of the page. This will highlight the word "Setback" making it easier to find them in each zone.
  • When constructing or placement of any building in a Special Flood Hazard Area a Flood Hazard Development Permit is required. Please check with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for a flood plan permit. No building is allowed within 75' of a watercourse or a waterbody. Click here
  • Check for problems in the area with flooding, erosion, road problems, etc. Contact the Code Compliance office at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and request a “Flood Hazard Determination”. Development permits are required in Designated Flood Hazard Areas through the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
  • If in doubt, hire a professional Engineer or Surveyor to determine if your proposed development affects wetlands, and obtain required authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (907) 753-2712 Click here
  • Check with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) before working along shores and in water, including creeks, rivers, lakes, etc. Permits may be required prior to installing docks on lakes. Click here
  • Find out if covenants, deed restrictions, easements, plat notes, or other special rules affect you. You may obtain this information from the borough's Platting Division. Contact the Platting Office at 861-7874. Please keep in mind the City and Borough do not enforce private covenants. Contact the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Recorders Office for a copy of recorded covenants. Click here
  • Have the lot surveyed. Monument all corners with permanent, self-identifying markers. Make sure you know where all easements, section lines, and lot lines are located. A “mortgage drawing” is not a lot stake survey.
  • Remember that Setbacks are minimum, plan to allow more separation between structures, lot lines, shorelines, easements, etc. if possible.
  • Make sure the well driller and septic system installers are certified, and ensure that the proper paperwork, such as well log and information about septic system design and installation, are filed with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC).
  • For information regarding water and/or wastewater disposal systems, please contact the State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). Address: 1700 E. Bogard Road, Bldg. B, Suite 202, Wasilla, AK, 99654, Telephone: (907) 376-1850. Click here
  • Public sewer and water systems are not available at this time in the City of Houston.
  • If you are using an onsite well, apply for a water use appropriation certificate from Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) (907) 269-2033. This protects your rights to use the water. Click here
  • Check with the Fire Code Office about Alaska building codes or fire and life safety issues at (907) 861-8030.Click here
  • It is recommended to hire a certified building inspector to inspect the construction from design to completion. This verifies that the house is properly constructed and may facilitate refinancing and obtaining insurance.

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA): Formerly the 100-year flood zone
Some areas inside the City of Houston Boundaries are located within the Special Flood Hazard Area "SFHA" also known as the 100-year flood zone. These areas require additional permits prior to starting any construction activities or remodels exceeding a certain cost. Currently the Mat-Su Borough issues these permits within the City of Houston and we will require that you obtain their permit as a condition to make any city issued permits valid. 
Visit the FEMA maps website for the most current maps. Here is an example of the areas.
Fema_Firmette_Areas - Copy (2)
Here is an example of a detailed "FIRMette" that can be map using the FEMA website.
Fema_Firmette_City_Hall - Copy