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General Information about Zoning

Zoning shapes the City of Chattanooga. Through zoning, our community is divided into districts or zones which regulate building size, location, population density, and the way land is used. Typical zoning categories include districts for residential, commercial, office, manufacturing, warehousing, and flood hazard areas. Zoning is also a key tool for carrying out planning policy. There are two types of zoning found in the City of Chattanooga. One is the Euclidean zoning that is found in the majority of the City Limits and was adopted June 20, 1961, by the City of Chattanooga. 

Euclidean zoning codes are the most prevalent in the United States and throughout the City of Chattanooga. The zoning outside of the downtown is identified as euclidian zoning. Euclidean zoning is characterized by the segregation of land uses into specified geographic districts and dimensional standards stipulating limitations on development activity within each type of district.

The Form-Based Code (FBC) "Downtown Code" zoning zones and standards were developed to promote urban development form that aligns with the vision and policies set forth by the Downtown, ML King, Southside, and North Shore plans. These plans define a vision for growth that is urban, mixed-use, walkable, neighborhood-friendly, and contributes to a high-quality public realm. Chattanooga's Euclidean zoning districts provide very limited options for urban development. This Downtown Code provides a set of zones and standards that are intended to be applied in several defined "Context Areas" (Sec. 38-693.) where planning policy has defined a clear direction for urban development. The FBC zoning was adopted on June 21, 2016, and became effective on July 5, 2016. The City of Chattanooga's Form-Based Code Zoning website can be found here. 

The City of Chattanooga has also adopted Historic Preservation Zoning. This is an overlay zone designated by Local Historic Districts. Overlay zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district, placed over an existing base zone(s), which identifies special provisions in addition to those in the underlying base zone. The City of Chattanooga's Historic Zoning website can be found here. 

How to determine your Zoning

For step-by-step instructions to determine your zoning, click here.

Zoning Letter Request Process

You must submit a zoning letter request and the required payment through our online portal, here: 
Zoning Verification Letter

The turnaround time is 5-10 business days but we do everything in our power to get it out sooner.

We do not accept emailed or faxed requests.

Please make checks payable to the City of Chattanooga for $75.00. 
If you have more than 1 address and more than one tax map and parcel number, the cost is $75.00 per address.


The Zoning Ordinance

The City of Chattanooga Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 38, may be found here.


Boards & Commissions 

2021 Board Meetings & Deadline Calendar (BOZA, BOSA, & BOCA)

  • Board of Zoning Appeals - Meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at 10am. 
  • Board of Sign Appeals - Meets the 4th Monday of every month at 4pm. 
  • Board of Construction Appeals - Meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 3pm.

Form-Based Code Zoning Committee information here. 

Historic Zoning Commission information here.


Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA)

If your project does not meet the zoning requirements you can request a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.  You can access the meeting dates and deadlines for applications here.  Submissions (applications, site plan, and payment) can be made through our Online Portal.  The cost is $150.00.  


Rezoning Property

The Land Development Office is not involved with property rezoning. For rezoning questions, please reach out to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA). For more information, please visit the RPA website at or call their office at 423-643-6900.


Zoning Office Location

Land Development Office
1250 Market Street, Suite 1000
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

Phone: (423) 643-5800
Main Fax: (423) 643-5848

Office hours of operation are Monday through Friday (excluding Holidays), from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. including the lunch hour. Inspection hours of operation are Monday through Friday (excluding Holidays), from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Permit payments are not accepted for processing after 3:30 p.m. We accept checks, money orders, and credit cards (Visa, Discover, American Express, and MasterCard Only). We do not accept cash.


Zoning Staff

Administrative Assistance

Dottie McKinney, 423.643.5883,

Levi Witt, 423.643.5878, 

Zoning Development Reviewers and Inspectors

Randy Ridge, Zoning & Sign Code Inspector II (Outside of Downtown), 423.643.5868,                           

Sarah Robbins, Form-Based Code Zoning Planner (Downtown), 423.643.5842,

Melissa Mortimer, Historic Preservation Planner (Overlay Zone in specific districts), 423.643.5834, 


Staff return calls as quickly as possible. For faster responses, please be sure to email staff.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea