Land Use Back To F.A.Q. Page
What is "zoning"?
Zoning is the process by which properties in the county are divided into districts, each having a different set of uses, densities, dimensional requirements, design standards, and other requirements found in the Forsyth County Unified Development Code. Zoning is a regulatory tool intended to guide land development and use in a way that protects property values, promotes functionality and aesthetic qualities, ensures compatibility of adjoining uses, preserves critical areas, and implements the goals and ideals of the Forsyth County Comprehensive Plan 2004-2025. The appropriateness of a zoning district for a particular location is usually linked to the “intensity” of the permitted uses and compatibility with the current, or future surrounding uses. Each parcel of land in the county is zoned, yet a property owner can apply to change the zoning district, or rezone the parcel through a public hearing process outlined in UDC Ch. 8.
How do I determine the zoning of my property?
You may utilize the Planning GIS Viewer or visit the Department of Planning and Community Development during office hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:00. Please request assistance from our Planner of the Day to view any of our files, plans, or plats. To expedite the process, be sure to have the tax parcel identification number (also known as a tax map and parcel number) for the property about which you are inquiring or other information for reference purposes.
You may also submit a written request to Cindy McBrayer for a “Zoning Verification Letter” affirming the zoning of your property. Please be sure to reference the tax identification number of all subject parcels.
ATTN: Cindy McBrayer
Forsyth County Planning and Development
110 E. Main Street, Suite 100
Cumming, GA 30040
How do I determine what uses are allowed in a particular zoning district?
The Forsyth County Unified Development Code outlines the permitted uses and requirements associated with each zoning district. In order to first determine the zoning of your property you may utilize the Planning GIS Viewer, or for further assistance you may visit the Planning Department during regular office hours Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:00; ask to see the Planner of the Day. After determining the applicable zoning, choose the appropriate chapter of the Unified Development Code:
Chapter 11 – Residential – Table 11.1 a or b
Chapter 12 - Commercial – Table 12.1
Chapter 14 - Industrial & Mining – Table 14.1
Chapter 15 – Agricultural – Table 15.1
(Note: Formerly zoning VCR – Vacation Cottage Residential is now renamed to LR.)
What are zoning conditions?
During the zoning process conditions may be placed on the use or development of the property in addition to the county codes and ordinances. Conditions are often proposed by county staff, the applicant, and the public or interested citizens during the public participation phase of the application in an effort to ensure compatibility between the property and surrounding areas. A condition for example may require additional landscaping to mitigate potential nuisances of a proposed use. Zoning conditions are enforced by Forsyth County. Zoning conditions may be amended through a public hearing process that involves another public hearing before the BOC. A zoning condition is binding (runs with the land) on the property until that zoning condition is amended or replaced via the public. Please visit eStatus.
How do I get a copy of zoning conditions?
Zoning conditions, site plans, and other documentation on file is available to the public upon request on the eStatus web site or in the Department of Planning and Community Development. Please visit our office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30-5:00 and ask for assistance from our Planner of the Day. Please be prepared to provide a ZA number, tax map number, property address, or other information to cross-reference the request.
What is a Variance?
A variance is a grant of relief from the Forsyth County Unified Development Code by relaxing or modifying a dimensional or numerical requirement based on the demonstration of a hardship, or circumstances that may otherwise preclude the applicant from complying with this standard. For example, an applicant may request a 10’ variance to reduce a setback from 50’ to 40’. The Board of Commissioners appoints 5 members of a Zoning Board of Appeals to decide in a public hearing format whether or not to grant this relief. UDC Ch. 6 outlines this process and criteria to guide consideration of these applications assuring that if granted the variance will not harm another property or conflict the overall intent of the code.
What is a Design Overlay District?
Certain portions of unincorporated Forsyth County is divided into overlay districts. Overlay districts promote development objectives specific to an area within the county through the implementation of specific standards for site development, vegetative buffers, exterior architectural design, landscaping, and natural resource protection that contribute to the district’s overall character. Overlay Districts are found in the Unified Development Code Chapters 9 and 21, and include: Atlanta Highway-McFarland Parkway-Mullinax Road Overlay, Castleberry-Bethelview Crossroads Overlay Campground-Castleberry-Kelly Mill-Pittman-Post-Shiloh Road Overlay, Peachtree Parkway-Bethelview Road Overlay, and Ronald Reagan/Union Hill Overlay. New development shall be required to conform to these regulations, please contact a staff planner to discuss development of your parcel and the documentation necessary for submittal of a commercial, office or industrial development.
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