Our Policies and Ordinances
Planning and Zoning provides assistance to ensure that future growth and change happens in accordance with polices and ordinances adopted by the community. The division provides services including:
- Development review for current planning projects
- Review zoning action, conditional use, and variance request
- Serve as liaison for Planning Commission
- Long-range planning services, including general plans, infill development and strategies for new growth
The department reviews and assist with zoning actions including:
Rezoning Actions – When a property owner wants to use land in a way that is not permitted by the zoning of his or her property, the owner must request to rezone the property to a classification which permits the desired use. A rezoning is a legislative action and is heard by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Aldermen.
To be granted, an application must meet the following requirements:
- The amendment will correct a manifest error in the ordinance.
- The amendment to the official zoning map is necessary because of changing conditions within the City, new development patterns or annexation
- The amendment will more suitably promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare than the existing district boundaries, which said amendment would replace.
Dimensional variances are the most common type of zoning action. A dimensional variance modifies a zoning district requirement related to building height, lot area, structural coverage, or setbacks. A variance is heard by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Aldermen. A variance must meets the following requirements:
- Special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure, or building involved, and which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings, in the same district.
- Literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance.
- Granting the variance requested will not confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this ordinance to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same zoning district.
Variances must be the minimum to afford relief, demonstrate unnecessary hardship, be in harmony with the spirit of the code, and not injurious to the neighborhood.
*Existing non-conforming uses are not grounds for variance.
Conditional Use Actions
The zoning ordinance identifies certain land uses which do not precisely fit into existing zones, but may be allowed upon approval of a conditional use permit (CUP). A conditional use permit allows the City to consider uses which may be essential or desirable, but which are not allowed as a matter of right within a zoning district, through a public hearing process. CUP’s are heard by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Aldermen. A conditional use request must make satisfactory provision and arrangement concerning all of the following requirements:.
- Ingress and egress to property and proposed structures thereon with particular reference to vehicular and pedestrian safety and convenience, traffic flow and control, and access in case of fire or catastrophe.
- Off-street parking and loading areas
- Refuse and service areas
- Utilities, with reference to locations, availability, and compatibility
- Screening and buffering with reference to type, dimensions, and character
- Required yards and other open space
- General compatibility with adjacent properties and other property in the district
- Any other provisions deemed applicable by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen
- Site plan required: Site plan review is required for all conditional use applications.
- Public hearing required: A public hearing shall be held for all proposed conditional uses.
Development review is required for all commercial construction as required by the Zoning Ordinance. See the Development Review Project Initiation Sheet and Development Review Process for the full details on getting a project approved.
Development Review Step by Step Process
- Project Initiation Sheet – Submit Development Review Project Initiation Sheet – Staff will assign a project number, a project coordinator, and schedule conceptual/pre-application meeting.
- Conceptual/Pre-Application Meeting – Present conceptual plan for proposed development. The City will provide verbal comments and guidelines related to project and answer questions related to the development proposal and review processes.
- Formal Submittals
- Formal Site Plan Review/Architectural Review – Staff will arrange formal site plan review and architectural review sessions for all City staff necessary for review. Staff will provide written comments to project contact.
- Board Approval – Staff will make presentation at the next regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen. Representatives are welcome to make a short presentation at this meeting. The Board meets at City Hall on the first and third Monday of each month at 6:00 PM.
- Construction Plan Review – Construction Plan Review can occur simultaneously with formal site plan approval. Three full sets of construction documents plus a code analysis must be submitted, along with application for a building permit. See construction document guide for specific requirements.
- Building Permit Issuance
The Planning Commission consists of 11 members appointed by the Board of Aldermen. The commission makes recommendations to the Board of Aldermen regarding comprehensive planning, land development, zoning, and plan implementation.
The Board hears the following:
- Variance Requests
- Rezoning Requests
The Planning Commission meets the fourth Monday of the month at 6:00 PM in the board room at the Municipal Complex at 1000 Municipal Drive.