LUES Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the zoning on my property and what are the allowable uses?
A: Property zoning varies based on location. The zoning will determine the allowable land uses and accompanying development standards. The tax parcel identification number (parcel ID number) is used in determining zoning. Your 13-digit parcel ID number can be found on your tax bill. You may call City Growth Management (850 891-7100) with your parcel ID number or property address for further information or you can visit www.tlcgis.com to utilize our maps.
Q: What are my building setbacks?
A: Setbacks are the minimum distance required from a property line to any structure. They are specific to the zoning of your property and the proposed use. You need to know setbacks prior to submitting an application for a building permit. Accessory structures such as sheds, workshops, and detached garages have a setback of ten (10) feet from the property line unless the principal building setbacks as outlined in the zoning district in which the property is located are less than ten (10) feet. In such instances, the accessory structure setback is the same as the principal building setbacks.
Q: What are the setbacks for a swimming pool?
A: They are the same as the setbacks for an accessory structure (see the information about building setbacks above). Also, swimming pools shall be permitted only on the side or rear of the property and shall not encroach into any required building setbacks.
Q: Do I need a permit to put up a fence on my property?
A: The City of Tallahassee does not issue permits for fences. However, if a fence has concrete or brick columns with a footer type foundation, this may require a review by the Building Inspection Division. Additionally, if the property is zoned Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO), approval from the Architectural Review Board (ARB) is required. If you would like to determine whether your property is zoned HPO, click on www.tlcgis.com to utilize our zoning maps. If your property is located in the HPO zoning district and you have questions about the ARB application process, please contact Mike Wing, Executive Director of the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation at (850) 488-7334.
If your property is a corner lot, there is a minimum site triangle that must remain free of all structures, including fences. The purpose of the site triangle is to preserve visibility for traffic safety purposes. It is recommended that you contact Growth Management's Land Use and Environmental Services Division (850) 891-7100 and ask to speak with a Planner to verify that the proposed fence location meets the minimum site triangle requirement.
Also, you may need to investigate the conditions of your plat or homeowner's association documents, since these typically contain specific language related to the placement of fences, especially in easements.
Q: Do I need a permit to cut down a tree in my yard?
A: If a tree on your single-family residence is 36" in Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or less, you do not need a permit to remove it. Removal of a tree over 36" DBH may require a permit depending on the health and condition of the tree.
Q: What is a tree's Critical Protection Zone (CPZ)?
A: The CPZ is the area surrounding a tree within a circle described by a radius of one foot for every inch of the tree's DBH. A ten-inch DBH tree will have a CPZ with a ten-foot radius.
Q: Is my property in a flood zone?
A: By logging on towww.tlcgis.com you can search your property on I-Maps, by address or parcel identification number. You can view your property and it's proximity to the 100-year flood zone. The flood zones show as blue or red hatched areas. You may also call 891-7100 and staff will look it up for you.
Q: Will my project require a stormwater pond?
A: Unless there is an existing stormwater facility that has capacity reserved for your project the answer is probably yes. If your project is small (with a minimal amount of impervious) you might be able to use swales and berms to direct the stormwater to an approved public conveyance.
Q: Is my stormwater management facility required to be fenced?
A: If the side slopes of the facility are greater than 4:1 then a fence is required. The fence shall be green, brown, or black vinyl coated at least four feet in height.
Q: I received a renewal notice for a stormwater operating permit. What does this mean?
A: Stormwater operating permits are required to be renewed every three (3) years. If you received a renewal notice that means your stormwater operating permit will be expiring shortly and renewal is required.
Q: My property floods now but didn't in the past. What can I do?
A: If you believe flooding is the result of an active development site that is uphill from your property, please contact Growth Management's Land Use and Environmental Services Division at (850) 891-7100 for assistance. If you believe that flooding is due to something other than active development, please contact the City's Stormwater Division at (850)-891-6860.
Q: Can I build a retaining wall without a permit?
A: If the wall is less than 24" tall you do not need a permit. For retaining walls taller than 24", you will need a permit and plans prepared by a licensed engineer. The permit application will be reviewed by the Growth Management Department's Building Inspection Division. The contact number for the Building Inspection Division is 891-7050.
Q: Where can I find the City of Tallahassee's codes and requirements?
A: The Tallahassee Code of Ordinances can be found here. After clicking on the link, you will be directed to the Tallahassee Municipal Code Corporation website. On the left hand side of the screen you can scroll to all of the Cities codes and requirements.
Q: What types of environmental permits are available for development of a property?
A: There is a Standard Environmental Permit. This is for projects that impact stormwater runoff and generally involve the addition of a stormwater management facility as well as landscaping and tree removal components. There is a Minor Environmental Permit. This is for projects that that have an existing stormwater management facility with capacity to handle the additional runoff generated by the proposed project. There is a Combination Environmental and Building Permit. This is for the construction of a single-family residence, a duplex, or a triplex.
Q: Do I need a building permit?
A: The answer is probably yes. A building permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any required impact-resistant coverings, electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system. There are exceptions allowed for general maintenance work that is non-structural in nature. It would be best to contact Growth Management's Building Inspection Division at (850) 891-7050 to determine if a building permit is required for your specific project.
Q: Do I need a permit for a shed?
A: If the shed is 100 square feet (10' x 10') or larger you will need a permit. You won't need a permit for a shed smaller than 100 square feet, but you will need be sure the placement meets the building set backs for you property.
Q: Is site plan review required?
A: Site Plan review through Growth Management's Land Use and Environmental Services Division for projects that consist of greater than 2,500 square feet of building floor area. Substantial modification to the exterior of a site may require site plan review as determined by the Land Use Administrator. The construction of one single, two, or three family dwelling unit requires building permitting but is exempt from the formal site plan review process in the Land Use and Environmental Services Division.
Q: Can I have a business in my home?
A: There are specific requirements for home occupations in the Land Development Code, Section 10-412(2) (see instructions above for accessing the City's Land Development Code). If you meet these requirements and your Homeowner's Association doesn't prohibit them, you may have one in your home. Home businesses require an occupational license, which can be obtained from the Revenue Division of the Treasurer Clerk's Office located in the Renaissance Building.
Q: Can I have an accessory apartment?
A: Accessory Apartments are permitted in all zoning districts, provided that all of the requirements of the Land Development Code, Section 10-412 (see instructions above for accessing the City's Land Development Code) are met. Accessory apartments are limited to 1/3 of the square footage of the principal structure or 750 square feet, whichever is less. For example, if a house is 1,500 square feet, the maximum size of an accessory apartment is 500 square feet. If a house is 3,000 square feet, the maximum size of an accessory apartment is 750 square feet. Accessory apartments must be located within or be attached to the principal structure. Existing detached garages may be converted into accessory apartments when certain conditions outlined in Section 10-412 of the Land Development Code can be met.
Q: What are the fees associated with permitting?
A: Permitting fees vary depending on the project size and the type of permit. You can view the City's development review fees specific to your project at Talgov.com (PDF).
Q: Is a permit required to redo or install a driveway?
A: Growth Management's Building Inspection Division (850) 891-7050 reviews permit applications for new driveways for one and two family residences. The City's Infrastructure Compliance Division in the Public Works Department (850) 891-8476 issues driveway permits for multi-family residential and commercial projects.
Q: When do I need an environmental permit?
A: An environmental permit is needed when more than 2,500 square feet of development activity will occur. Development activity includes Development activity includes earthwork, clearing, scraping, grubbing, or removing, damaging, or destroying the vegetation on a site. Underbrushing alone (with no associated earthwork, tree removal, or underbrushing within conservation areas) is not considered development activity and, therefore, does not require an environmental management permit.