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State law prohibits the rezoning of any property without the property owner’s written consent.
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When a property is rezoned, all uses permitted within the new district are allowed. For example, even if the applicant is planning to start a restaurant in a General Business zoning district, at a later date the property could be used for other commercial uses like a convenience store or gas station, regardless of the ownership. A list of allowable zoning districts for each Plan Designation can be found in Article 4 of the Zoning Regulations.
A change in a zoning district requires a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission and final approval by the Board of Supervisors, another public hearing.
Under ordinary circumstances, the process takes about 10 weeks. If extensive research such as an in-depth environmental or traffic analysis must be completed, the time needed to review the application could be longer.
All rezoning requests are evaluated by the County based on how the proposed zoning district complies with certain criteria - such as the size of the parcel being able to comply with site development standards, adequate services, and infrastructure, compatibility with existing development, and public input. A list of the criteria is provided with each application. No rezoning proposal can be processed unless it is in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan Designation and Growth Area. If not, then it will be necessary to concurrently request a change in the Comprehensive Plan.
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Conditions reasonably related to the impacts of the rezoning can be required, such as the submittal of a Traffic Impact Analysis, to determine off-site road impacts and are therefore the responsibility of the applicant. If a proposed rezoning will increase the residential density or intensity of uses significantly in a particular area or is comprised of a number of different uses or zoning districts, then a Master Development Plan may be required with the request.
A Master Development Plan (MDP) is a way for the applicant to communicate to the County how the proposed area will be developed with regards to roads, sewage treatment, drainage, location of uses, and other issues of public health and safety. An MDP must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Details regarding MDPs can be found in Article 4 of the Zoning Regulations.