The Zoning Department’s mission is to promote an orderly pattern of development and to separate incompatible land uses, such as industrial uses and homes, to ensure a pleasant environment. The Zoning Ordinance is a legal guidance used to regulate and establish limits on the use of land and building size, shape, height, and setback.

Each plot of land within the City’s jurisdiction has a zoning designation — residence, commercial, or manufacturing—to establish relevant parameters for building and land use. The City continues to update the Zoning Ordinance as land use patterns change through private and public actions.

You can use this portal to submit applications for zoning review and approval. Our goal is to make the process as easy and as convenient as possible.

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What is zoning?
Zoning is the process of dividing land in the city into zones (e.g. residential, industrial) in which certain uses are permitted or prohibited. In addition, the sizes, bulk, and placement of buildings are regulated. It may also indicate the size and dimensions of land area as well as the form and scale of buildings. These guidelines are set in order to guide urban growth and development.

What is zoning determination?
The first step for any development or re-development to a parcel of land or an existing structure is to determine whether the proposed work or action is permitted by the Zoning Ordinance. A zoning determination is review by the zoning office to clarify what the zoning of a specific lot allows.

What is a legal use letter?
A legal use letter is a letter that details the zone and what the legal use of the property is based on zoning records.

What is a certificate of non-conformity?
A certificate or letter from the Zoning Office that states: a use or activity which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reasons of such adoption, revision or amendment.

What are the fees?
The fee schedule is as follows fee schedule.

What is my zoning?
You can determine the zoning designation of your property quickly and easily by using our online tool,
Online Zoning Map. You can look up all relevant zoning information by providing the address of the property in question.

What if my zoning designation does not allow what I want to build?
If what you want to build is not allowed by the current zoning, you have the option to request a variance. Applications for a variance are considered by one or more Boards. Property owners seeking a variance must demonstrate that there are “practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships” they face in meeting the zoning regulations.

My property used to have a different zoning designation than it does now. Can I build under the old zoning rules?
Generally, no. Any new building permit filed after a zoning change must comply with the zoning regulations that are in place at the time. However, after a zoning change, any legally-built existing building is considered “grandfathered” and is afforded special rights to repair and rebuild in the event of damage or destruction. Please see Article V of the Zoning Resolution for more information on damage and destruction of existing grandfathered (called “non-complying” and “non-conforming”) buildings.

My question isn’t answered here. Who can I ask?
If your question is not answered in the FAQ, contact the Zoning Office at 973-733-3714.