Getting Started with DeKalb County Zoning

There’s nothing more unsettling than finding out a developer has big plans for your neighborhood. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? How does your neighborhood fit in to the plan? Who do you talk to if you have a question? If you’re unfamiliar with the zoning process, not sure what questions you should ask the developer or where to go to find information, it can be stressful and even exhausting.

The citizens play a major role in shaping the communities they live in.

Luckily, in Unincorporated DeKalb County, there’s a fair amount of checks and balances throughout the zoning process. Along with your community’s involvement, the planning staff, Community Council, Planning Commission, District Commissioners and sometimes even the Zoning Board of Appeals all play a role when a property is rezoned. The council & commission members depend on your input to make their recommendations at meetings. These officials maintain the idea that zoning in DeKalb County is a citizen-led process. The problem is, how can you lead a process you’re unfamiliar with? Where do you start if you’ve never been through the process before? Understanding the basics will give you insight and enable you to directly impact meaningful growth in your neighborhood.

 

Learning the Basics

In the next few pages. we’ll cover the core information you’ll need to get you started in the process. From finding out who your commissioners areto learning about the different meetings you’ll attend during the entire zoning process. Learning the basics will help you communicate more effectively with developers and public officials. It will also empower you and your neighborhood when you’re tasked with figuring out what’s best for your community.

Before you dive in…

… a couple things you should know when using our site:

For the purpose of this website, we sometimes use the term ‘developer‘ as a general reference to a zoning applicantRefers to a developer, investor or landowner who is seeking a change in zoning or land use to their property. and it may not always accurately reflect all situations. A zoning applicant could mean several things, including an investor, lawyer, landowner, commercial tenant or a general resident. For simplicity and clarity, we may generalize these terms to give a general idea of the process or information. Use common sense when using this site and how it may be relevant to your situation.

Also, you can find commonly used zoning terms and definitions in our Zoning Glossary. We use these terms throughout the site which are notated by blue lettering. If there’s a zoning term you still don’t understand, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out or add it to our glossary!

Lastly, while we do our best to keep this site updated with accurate and current information, we make no guarantee that all information contained in this website is correct, complete or up-to-date. Also, zoning code and property rights are a personal matter and no general information like the kind we provide can fit every circumstance. Please research and verify information as it pertains to your zoning application. You can read our full Disclaimer on Information and Advice in our Terms of Use.

Let’s Get Started!

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