What is zoning?
The City of Atlanta is divided into zones or districts that regulate the physical development of the land and limit the uses to which a property may be put. These zoning districts also regulate the height, overall size, and placement of buildings on a lot, the density at which buildings may be constructed, and the number of parking spaces that must accompany each new building.
What is the purpose of the Zoning Ordinance?
To provide Regulations with the general objective of promoting desirable living conditions and to encourage the most appropriate use of land for orderly growth and development.
Who is responsible for administering the zoning ordinance?
Zoning Review Board (ZRB) – This body consists of nine members, appointed by the Mayor and City Council, who meet twice a month to consider property rezonings and special use permits. The Zoning Review Board takes into consideration the recommendations of the relevant neighborhood planning unit (NPU) and the Bureau of Planning staff and makes recommendations on rezonings to the Zoning Committee of City Council.
Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) – This body consists of five appointed members who meet twice a month to consider applications for variances and special exceptions from the zoning ordinance. The Board of Zoning Adjustment takes into consideration the recommendations of the relevant neighborhood planning unit (NPU) and the Bureau of Planning staff.
Bureau of Buildings Zoning Division – This office is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the zoning ordinance. The Zoning Division checks all building permits for compliance with the zoning ordinance, conducts research to verify the zoning classification for a given property, and responds to permit related zoning complaints. It is also responsible for approving sign permits, business licenses, and liquor licenses.
What is “Lot Area Coverage?”
Lot Area Coverage is a specific percentage of the lot, which may be used for buildings and structures, and/or paved areas such as swimming pools, and other property features that create imperious surfaces.
What is “Floor Area Ratio (FAR)?”
Floor Area Ratio is a certain percentage of development on the lot, which controls the density.
What are required yard setbacks?
Distance from property lines which define the area in which structures and/or parking may be constructed.
What is a non-conforming use?
A land use that does not comply with the currently assigned zoning classification.
What is a non-conforming structure?
A structure that does not meet currently applicable yard setbacks.
To what degree can a non-conforming use be expanded?
Only by the granting of a special exception by the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
To what degree can a non-conforming structure be expanded?
To any extent that complies with the particular zoning classification and/or by approval of a yard setback variance by the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Can the Bureau of Buildings grant administrative variance?
Generally No – however there is limited authority to reduce required parking requirements for the preservation of trees or modifications to improve water runoff.
What are the parking requirements for a restaurant?
Most zoning classifications require 1 parking space per 100 sq. ft. of floor area. Additional parking may be required for an outdoor seating area.
What parking restrictions does the Zoning Code have on a single-family residence?
Restricts parking in certain locations or on a residential lot and may assign a required number of parking spaces.
What distinguishes a single-family residence from a duplex?
A single family dwelling shall contain only one (1) kitchen. A duplex has two living units containing independent kitchen facilities.
What fences are allowed in residential districts?
Four (4) ft. fences are allowed in required front yard setbacks; 6 ft. open fences; 8 ft. walls are allowed in side and rear yard setbacks.
What is the City of Atlanta position on alleys?
(a) The City of Atlanta is not and shall not be responsible for the maintenance of alleys, with the exception of three alleys (sometimes referred to as “public alleys”), which have been historically maintained by the City of Atlanta. These three alleys are located in the central business district, connect major thoroughfares, are paved, and serve general transportation and public purpose. The alleys thus excepted are:
1. Mortgage Place, N. W., from Carnegie Way to Ellis Street
2. Equitable Place, N. E., from Auburn Avenue to Edgewood Avenue
3. Cain Place, N. W., from International Boulevard to Harris Street.
(b) The City has no interest in, and shall not be responsible for any other alley within the City limits. Public service vehicles such as garbage trucks, fire safety vehicles, or police vehicles may make use of alleys in the provision of their service. However, none of these or other historic or present uses shall constitute public ownership of, interest in, or responsibility for said alleys.
(c) The City shall not maintain or improve any private alley except when the City is an abutting property owner or the alley serves as access to a City facility.
(d) The Board of Zoning Adjustment is authorized to approve variances to allow access to properties via alleys in lieu of required individual driveways from public streets.
How do I find out what a property is zoned?
Consult the official online zoning maps.
Fill out an online zoning verification request form.
Contact the Zoning Division of the Bureau of Buildings:
- Call 404-330-6175 and leave a message that includes the address of the property in question.
- Download and print a zoning verification form and fax it to 404-331-8902 or mail it to the following address:
Atlanta Bureau of Buildings
attn: Zoning Enforcement
55 Trinity Avenue SW, Suite 3900
Atlanta, GA 30303
How do I find out the regulations in a specific zoning district?
The Atlanta Code of Ordinances is maintained online by Municode, a third party company that electronically publishes municipal codes. You can browse the entire ordinance online – City of Atlanta Zoning Ordinance at Municode – just select Atlanta, Georgia, and the Code of Ordinances will appear. Scroll down to Part 16 (Zoning) on the left or use the search box in the upper right corner.
A copy of the Atlanta Zoning Ordinance can also be purchased from the Bureau of Planning.
Zoning District Description Table – These brief descriptions of each zoning district are intended to give a general idea of the intent of each district. For specific questions, please refer to the regulations for each district in the zoning ordinance.
Residential Zoning District Regulations – This table summarizes the basic requirements for R zoning districts and provides diagrams to illustrate setbacks and minimum lot sizes.