Streets & Sanitation FAQs

    1.  I cut down a whole tree, will the city pick-up all the debris?
    2.  Iím hiring a professional service to cut down my trees and landscape my yard, will the city pick-up any debris?
    3.  Why is the grass along the side of my house never cut?
    4.  Why is the drainage ditch beside my house never cut?
    5.  Where do I report a pothole Iíve seen?
    6.  Iíve already reported a pothole and nothing seems to be happening. Why is that?
    7.  Iíve seen a dead animal on the road, who takes care of this?
    8.  Iíve spotted a stray/wild animal in the area, what do I do?
    9.  What items can be disposed of down commodes and sinks?
    10.  What kinds of household items are biodegradeable?
    11.  Why canít I pour grease, chemicals, oils, or paints down the drain, if the water is treated anyway?
    12.  What about cleaning products and bleach?
    13.  I saw a red light flashing in a sub-station, what does that mean?
    14.  I saw a manhole cover ajar or out of its hole, what do I do?
    15.  Does every project require a building permit?
    16.  How do I get a building permit?
    17.  How much are building permits?
    18.  Iím not a professional contractor, would I need to get a permit if Iím building/renovating my home myself?
    19.  How long does it take to apply for a permit and subsequently receive it?
    20.  Do I need permit ifÖ
    21.  Iím buying a home, how do I find out if the one I want is in a flood zone?
    22.  I see a sign near my house stating a rezoning request, what does this mean?
    23.  I plan on protesting a rezone request, when/how can I do that?
    24.  I want to have horses or livestock on my property, am I allowed, or zoned for that?*
    25.  Is a permit required for a garage/yard sale permit?
 
    Q.  I cut down a whole tree, will the city pick-up all the debris?
    A. 

No, but we will pick-up any limbs up to two (2) inches in diameter and no longer than ten feet in length.

See  Trash Removal and Billing Agreement.pdf & Yard debris rules.pdf



    Q.  Iím hiring a professional service to cut down my trees and landscape my yard, will the city pick-up any debris?
    A.  No.  Itís the contractorís responsibility to remove any debris from your premises.

Yard debris rules.pdf

    Q.  Why is the grass along the side of my house never cut?
    A. 

The city is responsible for grass cutting along major roads only.



    Q.  Why is the drainage ditch beside my house never cut?
    A.  Draining ditches cutting and maintenance are the responsibility of the property owners. 

    Q.  Where do I report a pothole Iíve seen?
    A. 

At City Hall.



    Q.  Iíve already reported a pothole and nothing seems to be happening. Why is that?
    A.  On a city road, we must receive an appropriate number of reports before the major expenditure of asphalt is approved.  If itís a county or state road, the city is not responsible for pothole repairs.

    Q.  Iíve seen a dead animal on the road, who takes care of this?
    A.  We will pick-up once reported.

    Q.  Iíve spotted a stray/wild animal in the area, what do I do?
    A. 

Report to city hall or police department.

 



    Q.  What items can be disposed of down commodes and sinks?
    A. 

Any biodegradable items?

 



    Q.  What kinds of household items are biodegradeable?
    A. 

Toilet tissue



    Q.  Why canít I pour grease, chemicals, oils, or paints down the drain, if the water is treated anyway?
    A. 

Because grease will clog your drain and may clog the main sewer lines to all homes in your area.  Household chemicals pose a threat to our entire system because they can kill the microorganisms that treat the water.



    Q.  What about cleaning products and bleach?
    A. 

When used properly, these products will not hurt the treatment process.



    Q.  I saw a red light flashing in a sub-station, what does that mean?
    A. 

Itís a high-water alarm.  We encourage you to call the Utility Department (663-2894) during normal operating hours.  After hours, call the Police Dept. at 663-6499.



    Q.  I saw a manhole cover ajar or out of its hole, what do I do?
    A. 

Call the Utility Department at 663-2894 or Police Department.



    Q.  Does every project require a building permit?
    A. 

No. However, if the project is beyond routine maintenance, it may require a permit.

 



    Q.  How do I get a building permit?
    A.  You must fill out an application at City Hall.  Coming soon, you can do it on-line).

    Q.  How much are building permits?
    A. 

It depends.  Your permit cost will vary depending on cost and type of project.



    Q.  Iím not a professional contractor, would I need to get a permit if Iím building/renovating my home myself?
    A.  Yes. 

    Q.  How long does it take to apply for a permit and subsequently receive it?
    A. 

Typically, it can be issued within 48 business hours.  Other circumstances may cause a longer delay.



    Q.  Do I need permit ifÖ
    A. 

I want to have vinyl siding put on my house?*

Yes.  If anyone other than yourself will be installing your siding, they must also obtain a city business license.

 

Iím thinking about installing a pool in my backyard?*

Yes, a permit is required for an above-ground & in-ground pool if the pool will hold more than twenty-two (22) inches of water.

 

I want to fence in my yard?*

No, but contact City Hall first because each subdivision/area may have specific fence guidelines.

 

I want to purchase a pre-fabricated, storage building?*

Yes because there are specific guidelines for its placement on your property.

 

I want to build, extend, or repair my wood deck?*

Yes because it needs to be inspected for code and city ordinance compliance.

 

I want to have a professionally built storage building or garage?*

A permit is required also, as well as the contractor obtaining a business license.

 

My house is on a multi-acre lot and I want to remove some trees, one that is too near the house and some on the perimeter that I just want down.*

Yes and no.  You do not need a permit to remove any tree that endangers your personal property (car, garage, house, etc.) You may be required, however, to obtain a tree-removal permit for the others.

 

A heating and air service tech is coming to my house?

Maybe.  If the technician is servicing or repairing parts, then a permit is not required.  However, if they are replacing or upgrading the air handler or condenser unit, a permit is required.

 

Iím going to refresh my homeís exterior by getting a new roof and painting?*

Maybe.  No permit is required for painting your home or if youíre replacing your roofing with like materials.  However, if you are changing the roofing material, (e.g. from asphalt shingle to metal), a permit IS required.



    Q.  Iím buying a home, how do I find out if the one I want is in a flood zone?
    A.  Contact the Flood Plain Director at City Hall.

    Q.  I see a sign near my house stating a rezoning request, what does this mean?
    A. 

It means a petition has been made to request a different use of the property. Any further information can be obtained from City Hall or by attending the scheduled meeting advertised on the placard/sign.



    Q.  I plan on protesting a rezone request, when/how can I do that?
    A. 

By attending the scheduled hearing.  Contact City Hall for more information.

 



    Q.  I want to have horses or livestock on my property, am I allowed, or zoned for that?*
    A.  It depends.  You must contact the Zoning Administrator for that information.

*  All the aforementioned information pertains to the City of Helenaís requirements, additionally; it is the responsibility of the homeowner to check with any homeowner associationsí covenants or restrictions to ensure compliance.



    Q.  Is a permit required for a garage/yard sale permit?
    A.  Yes, a permit is required for a yard/garage sale permit.  The cost is $6.00 and it is good for 3 consecutive days.  You are allowed 2 yard sale permits per year and they can be purchased at Helena City Hall.  They will issue the permit and give you the sign guidelines as well.  City Hall is open Monday-Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM.  If you should have additional questions, please contact us at (205)663-2161. 

 
 

 

 

DEPARTMENTS

Police
Fire
Revenue
Building, Planning & Development
Parks & Recreation

HELPFUL LINKS

Area Lodging and Camping
Helena Museum
Lost Dog & Cat Page
Helena Amphitheater


Copyright © 2017 The City of Helena, Alabama. All Rights Reserved | Site Map | Designed and Developed by Ingenuity, Inc.