You are here

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see the Permitted Use Chart and the Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Civic and Agricultural Land Use Classifications.

Using the Permitted Use Chart

Find out what the zoning code is for the property.

  • Open the Permitted Use Chart and cross-reference the property’s zoning code with the use you are interested in.
  • Use the code in the cross-referenced box to find out if the use you would like is permitted:
    • P” means a use is a permitted use.
    • C” means a use is a conditional use (a use that is allowed on a discretionary and conditional basis in accordance with the conditional use process established in Chapter 25-5 - Site Plans).
    • -” means a use is not permitted in that zoning district.

Conditional Overlays are combined with base zoning districts on specific properties to further restrict a zoning classification or land use. The CO is intended to provide flexible and adaptable use or site development regulations by requiring standards tailored to individual properties. A conditional overlay may be applied to any base zoning district. A CO may be applied to do the following:

  • Prohibit permitted, conditional and/or accessory uses otherwise allowed in a base district
  • Make a permitted use a conditional use
  • Decrease the density that may be constructed
  • Decrease building heights
  • Increase minimum setback requirements
  • Decrease maximum impervious or building cover requirements
  • Restrict access to adjacent roads and require specific design features to minimize the effects of traffic.

Real estate deed restrictions restrict or limit the way in which a property can be used. Deed restrictions generally run with the land regardless of property ownership. Deed restrictions can also take the form of conditions, covenants and restrictions. To find out whether a specific property has any deed restrictions, you can ask the owner or property agent to provide you with the details. Deed restrictions on a property can be found by researching either the "DEED " or the "RESTRICTION"  on the Travis County Clerk’s Official Public Record Search.

The Zoning Site Development Standards are listed below. These tables do not constitute a comprehensive list of all site related regulations within the zoning or planning jurisdiction of the city.

Chapter 25-2-492 - Site Development Regulations

A FLUM is an acronym for “Future Land Use Map”, a map that provides broad direction as to the type and location of future development. A FLUM depicts the types of future development using different colors for different types of development such as yellow for single-family, red for commercial, and green for parks and open space. Each one of Austin’s Neighborhood Planning areas has its own FLUM, which can be viewed on this page.

In some cases these requirements will preclude the issuance of a site plan exemption. In other cases the exemption may be granted, but the applicant should be advised that other regulations must be met before the business can open. Refer to the Land Development Code, Sections 25-5-146 (B), 25-2-587(D), 25-2-808 and 25-6-471 (C).

  1. Restaurant is an establishment engaged in the preparation and retail sale of food and beverages for on-premise consumption or in a ready-to-consume state. Restaurants are further classified as General or Limited. Only a Restaurant-General may serve alcoholic beverages. At least 51% of the gross income must be derived from the sale of prepared food. A restaurant use is first allowed in the LR Neighborhood Commercial District.
  2. Cocktail lounge is a business engaged in the preparation and retail sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. Uses such as billiard parlors, dance halls, and live music venues may be included in this category if alcohol sales exceed 49% of the gross revenue. A cocktail lounge use is permitted in the CBD district, and conditional in the L, DMU, CS-1 and CH districts.
  3. Liquor sales refer to an establishment engaged in retail sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premise. A liquor sales use is permitted in the CBD, DMU, CS-1 and CH districts and conditional in the LI and MI districts.
  4. Alcoholic beverage permit is a permit issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages.
  5. Late-hours permit is a permit issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission authorizing a restaurant to serve alcohol between midnight and 2:00 a.m.

A zoning change can be requested by submitting an application to the Intake division of the Development Services Department. Please contact (512) 974-7208, (512)  974-2681 or (512)  974-2350 to schedule an appointment. A pre-application conference with planners in the Development Assistance Center is encouraged.

A nonconforming use is the use of any land, building or structure that does not conform with current applicable use regulations but complied or was not under requirements to comply with regulations at the time the use was established.

Specific requirements govern the discontinuance of nonconforming uses. Also, specific code requirements address damages and the ability to make major substantial changes to structures designated as nonconforming uses.

Austin City Code limits valid petition rights to rezoning requests. Please note that valid petition rights are not available to properties that have interim zoning and are in the process of establishing permanent zoning.

For information about initial zoning of a property and subsequent rezoning, please refer to Section §25-2-241 and Section §25-2-284 of the City of Austin Land Development Code (LDC).

§25-2-241 - DISTINCT/ON BETWEEN ZONING AND REZONING.

  1. Zoning is the initial classification of property as a particular zoning base district. Zoning amends the zoning map to include property that was not previously in the zoning jurisdiction or that was not previously included in the boundaries of a base district.
  2. Rezoning amends the zoning map to change the base district classification of property that was previously zoned.
  3. Source:Section 13-1-401; Ord. 990225-70; Ord. 031211-11.

The protest provisions contained in Section §25-2-284 are commonly referred to as "petition rights." This provision generally provides that when the Land Use Commission has not recommended

  • approval of a request for rezoning to a planned unit development (PUD) district, or
  • when a written protest against a proposed rezoning is signed by 20% or more of either the area of the lots or land included in such proposed change, or
  • of the lots or land immediately adjoining the same and extending 200 feet,

--such rezoning shall not become effective except by the favorable vote of three-fourths of the Council.

This usually consists of nine votes; however, if a Council Member must recuse, it could require fewer votes to obtain a three-fourths majority. An absence or abstention does not reduce the number of votes required. In computing the percentage of land area, the area of streets and alleys shall be included in the computation.
Zoning Petition
Zoning Petition in Spanish - Como emitir una petición

 

A Planned Unit Development (PUD) is intended for large or complex developments under unified control planned as a single continuous project, to allow single or multi-use projects within its boundaries and provide greater design flexibility for development proposed within the PUD. Use of a PUD district should result in development superior to that which would occur using conventional zoning regulations. PUD zoning is appropriate if the PUD enhances preservation of the natural environment; encourages high quality and innovative design and ensures adequate public facilities and services for development within the PUD.

The minimum size generally considered appropriate for a PUD is ten acres. Absent unique or special topographic constraints or other exceptional circumstances affecting the property, creation of a PUD is not justified for development of tracts of less than ten acres since conventional zoning regulations should provide for adequate development. Please refer to Chapter 25-2, Division 5, (Subpart A, Subpart B, Subpart C,and Subpart D ).  You can also download the  PUD Ordinance approved by City Council on June 18, 2008.

A Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) provides information on the projected traffic expected from a proposed development. A TIA also evaluates the impact of proposed development on the roadways in the immediate proximity of the proposed development. The TIA should identify any potential traffic operational problems or concerns and recommend appropriate actions to address such problems or concerns. 

A traffic impact analysis shall be consistent with the code requirements and the Transportation Criteria Manual. The geographic area to be considered in the TIA shall be established by the Director. The TIA should consider and account for the potential traffic to be generated by other undeveloped sites within the established study boundaries.

A neighborhood traffic analysis is a simplified TIA that assesses the impact of a proposed project on residential streets. A neighborhood TIA is limited to an evaluation of existing and projected operating levels of residential streets and an identification of mitigation measures needed to minimize traffic impacts.

TIA requirements apply to each individual lot when an application is made to zone or rezone the lot or for site plan approval to develop the lot.

Generally modifications to an application may include but are not limited to:

  1. A reduction in the number of projected vehicle trips per day.
  2. Dedication of additional right-of-way.
  3. Rerouting of traffic and of proposed access and egress points serving the proposed project;
  4. Participation in the funding of traffic signal and /or intersection improvements.

Vehicle Trip Thresholds A local or collector street means any roadway not designated as an arterial street. A residential local or collector street is one along which 50% or more of the frontage within 1,500 feet of the proposed project's property lines (or the nearest arterial, whichever distance is less) is zoned SF-5 or more restrictive uses.

  • A TIA is required if the expected number of trips generated by the project exceeds 2,000 vehicle trips per day.
  • A neighborhood traffic analysis is required if the project has access only to a residential local or collector street and the expected number of vehicle trips generated by the project exceeds 300 vehicle trips per day over the existing uses.

The Applicant and his designated agent, as well as property owners, renters and utility account holders, registered neighborhood associations, community groups and environmental interest groups located within 500 feet of the zoning change are mailed an initial notice of filing within 14 days of application submittal. The notice includes the applicant's contact information, descriptions of the existing and proposed zoning, and Staff contact information. Subsequent notice(s) identifying the date and time of the Land Use Commission and City Council meetings are also mailed prior to these public hearings. Signs which identify the case number are also posted on all properties under zoning review.

Zoning establishes the types of land uses permitted on a parcel of land within the full or limited purpose jurisdiction of the City of Austin. Zoning also sets the development standards for a site, such as building height, setbacks, floor-to-area ratio, neighborhood compatibility, screening, landscaping, and impervious cover limits. The zoning on your property can be found using the Zoning Profile Report Tool by typing in the address you want to search for.

For official legal verification of the zoning on a particular property, please call the Development Assistance Center at (512) 978-4000.

Please have the County Appraisal District reference number of the property (14 digits) ready prior to calling. You can get this number from the  Geographic Information System viewer once you have the address and have clicked on GO. Once the red marker appears on your map, under Map Tools (top right side of the screen), click on the TCAD Profile link to get the reference number.

Here is the link to the GIS Viewer tutorial.

 

Section §25-2-241 of the City of Austin Land Development Code (LDC) defines the distinction between zoning and rezoning.

  1. Zoning is the initial classification of property as a particular zoning base district. Zoning amends the zoning map to include property that was not previously in the zoning jurisdiction or that was not previously included in the boundaries of a base district.
  2. Rezoning amends the zoning map to change the base district classification of property that was previously zoned.

The process begins with submitting an application on any business day at the Intake Center, 4th floor, One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road.   Each zoning application is assigned to a Case Manager and a review team. Once your application has been submitted, any questions, problems, conflicts, etc. should be directed to the Case Manager, who will serve as the liaison between you and the City of Austin and be your main point of contact. If you need to see your Case Manager, it is suggested an appointment be made in advance. A written report from staff will be available to the applicant and the public several days before the item is scheduled for review by the Land Use Commission.

Zoning requests are typically heard by the assigned Land Use Commission on the fourth or fifth Tuesday of the month following the date of submittal (approximately 6 to 7 weeks), and by the City Council on the fourth Thursday following the Commission’s recommendation. City Council approvals or approvals with conditions result in a city ordinance which must be voted on and approved by the City Council in three readings (2nd and 3rd readings can be combined). Adopted city ordinances are available at the Public Records Search.

In an area with a neighborhood plan, a zoning or rezoning within a neighborhood planning area follows the same procedure as cases outside of the planning areas as long as the application is not amending the neighborhood plan or the Future Land Use Map for that area. You would need to file a neighborhood plan amendment case if you are seeking a land use designation that is different from the Future Land Use Map for the neighborhood plan where the subject property is located. To determine if you need a neighborhood plan amendment, please follow the instructions on the Plan Amendment Process application.