Planning & Zoning FAQs


 What is the difference between a principal and special use?

Principal uses are those permitted by right in any zoned district.  They are typically subject to site plan review either by the Planning Commission or administratively by staff.  Special uses are those that may or may not be appropriate for a particular parcel.  They are granted at the discretion of the Planning Commission and City Council after the holding of a public hearing.

 From what point of a structure are building setbacks measured?

Building setbacks are measured from the property line to the eave or overhang of the structure, as opposed to the foundation.  Setbacks from the street are measured from the property line/right-of-way line.  Setbacks are NOT measured from the edge of the pavement.

 What is a Master Plan and how does it relate to the City's Zoning Ordinance?

The Master Plan, or Comprehensive Plan, is a generalized, coordinated land use map and policy statement of the City that guides activities relating to the use of lands, including but not limited to sewer and water systems, transportation systems, recreational facilities, and natural resources.  The major instrument for enacting land-use planning is the Zoning Ordinance which establishes zone districts that are subject to specified regulations.  Zone districts cover most potential uses such as residential, commercial, office, industrial, recreational and agricultural, as well as detailed regulations on how each zone is used.