Zoning & Land Use

Land Use

The City of Waco has adopted a Comprehensive Plan to guide development of all property within the city. This plan includes a Land Use Plan(PDF, 49KB)  which takes into account existing land use, development trends, and policies, which guide zoning decisions in the form of a map of proposed land use patterns. Each lot is assigned a specific zoning classification to further regulate development. The correlation between land use categories, zoning classifications and specific uses allowed are generally outlined in the charts in this brochure.

The Need For Zoning

Zoning requirements are enacted to promote the public health, safety and general welfare within a community. By regulating the way property is developed, cities protect these interests while providing citizens with a guide to the future uses for property within the city.

Land Use And Zoning Changes

When an owner wants to change the use of his property to a purpose not permitted in the current classification assigned to the property, he must apply for a change in classification.

Step 1: Filing An Application For Change In Zoning Classification

Applications for changes in land use and zoning are submitted on our Citizen Self-Service Software. All required documents are necessary to complete the online application. Planning Services then reviews the request and obtains comments from other City Departments.

Step 2: Public Hearings

Notices of the public hearing are published in the local newspaper and all property owners within 200 feet of property proposed for change are notified by mail.

Step 3: Meeting Of The Planning Commission

The Plan Commission holds the initial public hearing on the request for the change in land use or zoning. At this time:

Staff makes a recommendation
The applicant presents evidence in support of the requests
Other parties may present information (including petitions) in support or in opposition to the change.
Step 4: Recommendations Made To City Council

The Plan Commission weighs the evidence presented and makes a recommendation to the City Council to grant or deny the request.

City Council Makes The Final Decision

The City Council holds a second public hearing on the request at which time the applicant, supporters, and opponents again present their evidence. At this time, the Council makes the final decision to grant or deny the request. They may uphold or reverse the Plan Commission's recommendation. On occasion, they may even send a case back to the Plan Commission if they feel that the issues need broader study.

Special Permits

Special permits relate to uses that are allowed in specific zoning districts provided they meet certain conditions set out in the ordinance. Those conditions are generally related to avoiding adverse impacts on the neighboring area. Special permit requests need to be approved by the Plan Commission and City Council, and special conditions may be attached to the permit approval.

Apply for a Special Permit
Checklist for Special Permit(PDF, 13KB)
Permitted Use Chart(PDF, 159KB)

Special Overlay Zoning Districts

Planned Unit Development (PUD) Regulations
The purpose of planned unit development regulations is to encourage flexibility in the use and development of land in order to promote its most appropriate use; to provide a high level of urban amenities; to preserve the quality of the natural environment; and to provide flexibility in the development of land subject to development standards coordinated with the provision of necessary public services and facilities. Who is involved in reviewing the Zoning Process Planning Services Engineering Services Health Services Inspection Services Legal Services Traffic Services Fire Services Police Services How long does the process take to complete? The process takes approximately 60 days to complete based upon complete and correct information submitted. This time frame may vary depending on when the application is submitted and if there are delays in decisions by the City Plan Commission and/or City Council during the public hearing process.

Permitted Zoning under Proposed Land Use Designations Explained Here(PDF, 49KB)

Quick Links