DIY Zoning

Every year, property owners find themselves in situations where they need zoning relief for a simple project, but they have to weigh the costs of retaining professional services to assist with the zoning process. In some cases, due to financial constraints, property owners choose to go through the zoning process on their own. Although it’s not ideal, it’s understandable. However, there are many challenges that come with DIY Zoning, so we thought we’d put together some general suggestions for brave property owners who decide to embark on the journey on their own.

Conduct Research: The most common first step is to look at the official zoning map to identify your property’s zoning district. The next step is to research the zoning ordinance for development standards and other applicable regulations. Most local government offices publish their zoning maps, ordinances, and regulations online. However, if they are not available there, you should be able to locate them by reaching out to the zoning staff.

Identify Relevant Contacts and Stakeholders: Seeking zoning relief often requires working with zoning staff, local government officials, and the community. Identify all people who will need to be made aware of your zoning application. What questions are they likely to have? Consider discussing your proposal with them before you submit the application. 

Preparing the Application: Carefully review the zoning application. Make sure you follow the instructions and complete each section, provide all supplementary documents, and pay the relevant fee. Depending on where the property is located, you may be required to send notices to the neighbors and/or publish notices in a local paper. If you are not sure about any aspect of the application, reach out to the zoning staff and ask for clarification. 

Public Meeting or Hearing: Public meetings or hearings are a crucial part of the zoning process and can be intimidating for those seeking zoning relief on their own. Preparation for public meetings or hearings involves several essential steps, including crafting a concise presentation of your zoning proposal, explaining how your project meets the relevant legal criteria, and incorporating visual aids, if helpful. 

While some property owners manage to submit zoning applications on their own, self-representation at a public meeting or hearing can be difficult. If you embark on a DIY zoning journey but need guidance or representation at the public hearing or meeting, we’d be happy to talk to you. You can reach us at

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. The information provided here does not create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from an attorney licensed in your own state or country.