The Zoning Administrator is responsible for administering, interpreting and enforcing the zoning regulations contained in the Zoning Ordinance. In May 2022 the County adopted a new set of zoning regulations. These regulations govern the types of activities which can occur on a given parcel as well as define where structures can be built. It also outlines a variety of special requirements for commercial and industrial uses such as parking, lighting and landscaping standards.
Before establishing any new activity or building (i.e., new construction or addition) on a parcel, a zoning permit is required. A site plan is needed with the permit application. An example of what is typically found on a site plan can found at the LEFT SIDE of this page explaining what a zoning site or plot plan is. If a use is not allowed within a zoning district, property owners may seek to “rezone” their property to allow an activity or use. This type of request is processed through approvals granted by the Planning Commission and County Council.
The Board of Appeals has three major duties. It can hear appeals from decisions made by the Zoning Administrator if the applicant questions the code interpretation provided by the Administrator. The Board can also hear variances. A variance is a relaxation of the dimensional requirements found in the Zoning standards due to a hardship that prevents the strict application of the codes from being applied, as long as the hardship is not created by the applicant. The justification for a variance is not be based on the actions or choices of the applicant but to unique characteristics of the property. The third responsibility is to hear special exceptions. A special exception is a conditional use allowed in a zoning district if the Board of Zoning Appeals agrees to allow it. The Board has the right to require additional controls on a use as a condition of granting permission. The Zoning Board of Appeals regularly meets on the 4th Thursday of the month.
The zoning ordinance allows a maximum of two dwellings (2 houses, or 2 mobile homes, or 1 house and 1 mobile home) on one (1) lot of record provided that the lot meets the minimum lot size for both units and the lot width required by the zoning district regulations.
All signs have minimum requirements like height, size, sign face area and location. However, not all signs require permits, such as government and temporary signs. That said, most business signs and billboards do require permits and almost as often building permits if they are large enough and require construction, mounting or electrical connections.
Zoning permits are usually issued at the time a building permit is issued for new construction whether it is a house or commercial project. It is also required for construction of accessory structures like sheds, fences, barns, etc. However, if the structure or building already exists but the use changes, like from a store to a restaurant, a zoning permit is required.