How your property can be used is determined by many factors. First, on a big-picture scale, the County’s vision for its future is reflected by a County-wide plan known as the Comprehensive Plan. This plan directs development of different types (and non-development) to general areas across the County. To achieve the goals of the plan, zoning districts are “painted” over all properties in the County; some districts allow farming and other rural activities, and others allow more intensive housing developments, businesses, or manufacturing.
The Zoning Ordinance
The County Zoning Ordinance spells out how property in each zoning district can be used, along with what can be built on property and where (i.e. distances to property lines.) The zoning ordinance also outlines procedures for obtaining permits to use a specific property for more than is otherwise allowed in a given zoning district (i.e. special use permits.) It also establishes procedures for requesting to change a property’s zoning district designation, known as rezoning.
Land Use Services
County Staff who provide land-use services includes planners, who work with the big-picture aspects of writing and implementing the Comprehensive Plan (including rezoning of property) and zoning officials, who administer the zoning ordinance, respond to land-use complaints and assist with zoning applications such as special use permits, site plans, home business permits, and variance requests. Staff also reviews subdivisions, one-lot rural land divisions, and boundary adjustments. Planning and Zoning Staff often work hand-in-hand on various types of applications.