General Information
General Information

What's the Difference between a Zoning Permit and a Building Permit?

Most development is regulated under two different codes: the Zoning Code and the Building Code.  Receiving a Zoning Permit is generally the first step in the development process, followed by applying for and receiving a Building Permit.  For some projects, zoning clearance is given as part of the review of an application for a Building Permit; in other instances, a separate Zoning Permit is required prior to application for a Building Permit.

  • Zoning Code is oriented toward how a project fits into a community:  it regulates setbacks, types of uses, height, parking requirements, design (for some types of projects) and similar concerns. The City is divided into zoning districts and each zoning district will have its own set of regulations.  For example, the regulations that would apply in a single family residential district (R-1) will be different then those for a multi-family (R-3 or R-4) or commercial district.  When a separate Zoning Permit is required for a new development, the City will generally require that an application be accompanied by site and building plans (including preliminary architecture).  

  • Building Code is oriented toward ensuring that structures are constructed to an appropriate standard and are safe for the uses intended.  Application for most Building Permits must be accompanied by detailed construction drawings. 

In addition to these codes, subdivision of land is regulated under the Subdivision Ordinance, and other codes may apply to particular types of projects, including the Fire Code. 

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