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Zoning is established to protect the community’s health, safety and welfare. The restrictions on how certain areas are developed ensure safer neighborhoods, more attractive business areas, and well-designed communities. Regulating how property develops also provides citizens with an idea of the type of future development that can occur in their neighborhood or adjacent to their business. Zoning is also one of several tools to use in implementing the Town’s long-range plans.
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Zoning is a manner of establishing the types of land uses permitted on a specific tract of land. Zoning also sets development standards, density, parking and loading requirements, lot coverage, lot area, and screening requirements.
Property must be zoned correctly before a building permit will be issued. In addition, development plans must comply with the development standards for that district. For example, there are increased setback and screening standards in the more intense commercial and industrial districts when located next to residentially-zoned properties. These standards decrease adverse impacts on residential property.
The specific zoning district you need depends on the type of uses you wish to develop. The Town of Little Elm has 22 zoning districts, each with its own requirements and allowed uses. In addition, an applicant can ask for a Planned Development, which enables the applicant to “pick and choose” their uses and development requirements. A PD will require additional reviews by Town Staff before going to a public hearing, and the applicant will have to provide the Town with detailed site plans and their application.
The Town’s processing fees are based on the type of zoning request and the land area being zoned: Zoning Request(<50 acres): $500 Zoning Request(>50 acres): $500 + $10/acre Planned Development(PD): $900 + $20/acre Specific Use Permit(SUP): $300
All uses are listed in a chart in Section 6 of our Zoning Ordinance. Contact the Planning and Development Department at 214-975-0472 to verify the type of zoning you need for a specific use. Staff will discuss your proposed uses and whether those uses are permitted in your current zoning district. If your intended use is not permitted, staff will advise you as to the zoning district you would need to apply for.
The Planning staff will discuss the surrounding zoning, land uses, recent area zoning trends, adopted development-related policies and any other factors important to your zoning change. Staff will also provide you with a zoning application form and a submittal schedule.
A signed and completed zoning application form and fee should accompany any submission for a zoning change. A survey of the property with metes and bounds and a certified tax certificate for the property are also required. The applicant will also be held responsible for making sure that a sign is erected on the property to make the public hearing known.
A Specific Use Permit (SUP) allows for specific uses on a property that is not commonly allowed in that zoning district. These are typically used for daycares, self-storage facilities, used car lots and other uses. The process for obtaining a SUP is similar to the zoning process. The Planning and Zoning Commission, Town Council and/or Town Staff may require a site plan and/or a feasibility study to be included with the SUP application. Section 6 of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance lists what SUPs are available in each Zoning District.
During public hearings, the applicant and any individuals in “favor” of or “opposed” to the request have an opportunity to present their views. In addition to speaking at the Public Hearing, you may also send letters to the Commission and Council or discuss the case with the members. A more formal process is to submit a petition of support of opposition to the case.