City Government


Guide to Zoning

YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?

Zoning is often viewed as a maze when encountered for the first time. This guide will assist individuals with the most common construction requests (new homes, building additions, garages, or accessory structures) to locate information necessary to obtain a zoning permit. Zoning documents can be found here.

Step I. Review the Zoning Ordinance (pdf) and Map to verify what zoning district the proposed improvements are located in {Country Estate (CE), Single Family Residential (R-1), Mixed Density Residential (R-2, etc.}.

Step II. Proceed next to the six generalized Use Classes found in Article 4, Table 4-1, to determine if your use is: P (permitted by right), C (permitted by right with conditions) or S (a special use requiring a Public Hearing). Most homeowners will find what they need under Residential Services Uses on pages 72 or 73, or Accessory Uses, Table 4-2 on pages 74 or 75

Article 5, General Provisions, of interest to homeowners (decks, mobile homes, temporary dwellings) are found on pages 76-80; (building demolition, accessory structures, lot regulations) pages 81-84, and (fences) pages 98-99.

Step III. Once the Zoning District and Use Class category are known, Article 6, Schedule of Regulations, pages 123-148, is consulted for site specific zoning district specified minimum lot or structure sizes, setbacks and heights. If the use was previously identified as C (permitted by right with conditions) or S (special use), the table will identify the particular section of the ordinace to be consulted for additional information requirements.

Step IV. One these facts are known, the forms (Zoning Action Request, Permit Plan and any necessary special forms) are completed, submitted, signed, and fees paid. The Zoning Action Request form identifies what authority will be responsible to approve the request (Zoning Administrator / Planning Commission / City Council). After securing zoning approval and, if required, a Building Permit from the Buliding Inspector, you have successfully completed the "Zoning Maze."

THE ZONING ADMINISTRATOR

The Zoning Administrator is to assist citizens with all aspects of the zoning process. Upon understanding what you want to accomplish, it is their responsibility to provide the proper zoning forms, explain the procedures to follow and aid in completing the necessary application forms. It is quite important that they be provided with all the facts and appropriate background information initially as there are often alternative methods to follow that may not be immediately known.

Upon receipt of a completed Zoning Action Request and supporting documentation, it will be reviewed for compliance with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance (pdf). In the event that documents are incomplete, they will be returned with deficiencies noted for re-submission. All other documents will be processed as dictated by the Ordinance

All uses identified as permitted by right (P) can be processed and approved by the Zoning Administrator. Additionally, used noted as permitted by right with conditions (C), Conditional Land Uses, may be approved by the Zoning Administrator in conjunction with a Minor Site Plan or may be referred to the Planning Commission for a decision. The Administrator will also approve Temporary Building / Structure Permits, Sign Permits and Certificates of Zoning Compliance. All other Zoning Requests will be forwarded to the body designated by the Ordinance.

THE PLANNING COMMISSION

The Planning Commission consists of 5 members appointed by the City Council and act on matters directed to them by the Zoning Administrator or others. They can approve uses permitted by right with conditions (C), Conditional Land Uses, along with Minor Site Plans upon referral by the Administrator. Minor and Major Site Plan Reviews are processed and approved by the Commission as specified in the Ordinance.

Furthermore, they conduct Public Hearings and function as a recommending body for the City Council on special uses marked (S), Special Land Uses, Zoning Test Amendments and Map Revisions, Conditional Rezoning, and Plat / Condominiums / Planned Unit Developments. The Commission has adopted Bylaws governing the transaction of business and a Master Plan to guide development within the City. They also have a role in developing the forms to adequately administer the Ordinance.

THE ZONING BOARD OF REVIEW

The Zoning Board of Appeals is composted of the 5 elected members of the City Council and appointed alternates. In a sense they function as a safety valve for the administration of the Zoning Ordinance (pdf) as anyone, an applicant or general member of the public, can appeal any approval or denial of a decision made by the Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission and address their concerns at a Public Hearing specially called for that purpose.

In the event of uncertainty of definitions, clarity of zoning text, locations of Zoning District boundaries, or classifications of uses, the Board is specifically authorized to make those interpretations or determinations upon application. They will also make decisions on Lots of Record, determine practical difficulties for non-use (dimensional) variances, relieve unnecessary hardship for use variances, and permit continuance of non- conforming uses and / or structures under specific circumstances involving exceptional hardship.

THE CITY COUNCIL

The Council has the responsibility to appoint individuals to perform the functions of the Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission, approves all forms used to administer the Ordinance, and determines the Zoning Fee Schedule.

Upon receiving the recommendations of the Planning Commission, the Council makes the final decision to approve Special Land Use Permits, amend the Zoning Map or Ordinance, accept a Conditional Rezoning, or authorize a Subdivision Plat / Condominium / or Planned Unit Development.