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Housing Zoning Code Amendments

At the conclusion of the 2020 Downtown & Surrounding Neighborhood Housing Study & Strategy, staff from the Tulsa Planning Office continued meeting with community members to discuss how to address Zoning Code barriers to new housing development in Tulsa.

What would the changes do?

Both the proposed citywide zoning changes and Neighborhood Infill Overlay (limited to specific neighborhoods near downtown) are meant to promote the development new housing in Tulsa.

The citywide changes focus on lot and building regulations. If adopted, it would reduce the lot area requirements for duplexes and cottage house developments, lot widths for duplexes and townhouses, and the required street setback in Residential-Multifamily (RM) zoning districts.
Learn more and see the proposed citywide changes

The Neighborhood Infill Overlay, would allow for a variety of different residential housing types in a manner that is compatible with the size and residential character of surrounding properties. The regulations are also intended to promote housing types that accommodate households of varying sizes and income levels and provide for a more efficient use of residential land.
Learn more and see the proposed overlay language

Current Status and Upcoming Public Meetings

The text amendment containing the overlay and citywide changes was approved by TMAPC and City Council in August, and the map amendment was recommended for approval by TMAPC at their September 15 meeting. The map amendment will now move to City Council for their discussion and consideration.

City Council

The Tulsa City Council will consider the map amendment at three upcoming meetings. The first will be a committee meeting, followed by two meetings by the full Council. If City Council approves the map amendment, the change will take place 30-45 days later.

  • Urban & Economic Development (UED) Committee – Wednesday, October 6, 2021 *Committee meetings are for councilors to learn about issues and do not include public comment. Public comment is accepted at regular City Council meetings.
  • Public Hearing – Wednesday, October 20, 2021

How to Participate / Provide Feedback

TMAPC hearings have already been conducted, but you may still provide feedback to the City Council or submit questions to Tulsa Planning Office staff.

  1. Attend or watch the City Council meetings in person, on TV (Cox Channel 24), or online ( or via GoToMeeting)
  2. For questions about the overlay, email or call Travis Hulse ( or 918.579.9452) or Nathan Foster ( or 918.579.9481);
  3. Contact the City Councilor for your area

Frequently Asked Questions


What is an overlay?

In general, an overlay is a type of special zoning district. Overlay zoning is intended to be used when the base zoning district applied to an area remains generally appropriate, but when an additional, modified or eliminated requirement could help implement the city’s planning goals or address an area-specific planning, design or land use regulation issue. For more information, see Chapter 20 of the Tulsa Zoning Code.

Why is an overlay being considered for infill housing development?

In May 2020, the City of Tulsa concluded a housing market demand study and strategy for the downtown and surrounding neighborhood areas. A key recommendation of that effort was to review the Zoning Code for any potential barriers to building new housing in these existing neighborhoods. During the review, Tulsa Planning Office staff identified several potential barriers that could be addressed through the development of an overlay, including: setbacks, open space, the number of units allowed on a lot, and parking.

Who has participated in the development of the overlay?

Including outreach conducted during the Housing Study, Tulsa Planning Office staff has coordinated multiple events to collaborate with residents and neighborhood leaders in the areas where the proposed overlay would be in effect, in addition to local housing builders and architects, elected officials, and various City authorities, boards, and commissions. Public surveys were also conducted for those unable to attend scheduled meetings.

Which neighborhoods will be included in the overlay boundary?

Near-Downtown NeighborhoodsThe initial focus of the proposed overlay will closely align with the neighborhood areas included in the Downtown & Surrounding Neighborhoods Housing Study & Strategy. View this interactive map to see if you are included in the proposed overlay boundary.

Other neighborhoods may be added in the future where similar infill opportunities exist.

The Tulsa Planning Office staff will continue to work with the community and elected officials to identify other appropriate neighborhoods for application.

If you would like your neighborhood to be included in this overlay in the future, contact us.

Will new housing be required to match the existing housing within a neighborhood?

Unlike Historic Preservation districts, the proposed overlay will not regulate specific building styles or features such as windows, roof pitch, color, or materials. Any new housing must comply with the Zoning Code, which regulates things like building height, placement in relation to the street and adjacent properties, and the amount of required open space.

How will parking needs be addressed in areas where new homes are being built?

All new housing development will still require off-street parking spaces. Because lots in many of these older neighborhoods are constrained, the proposed overlay would reduce the typical minimum off-street parking requirements by half. For example, a duplex within the overlay would require two (2) off-street parking spaces versus the minimum four (4) currently required in residential neighborhoods.

How will new housing affect surrounding property values?

Property values are a product of the overall housing market, based on several factors, including location, the types of and demand for housing, neighborhood conditions, and others. New infill housing is unlikely to have a negative effect on property values because the new housing often replaces vacant lots or abandoned buildings, or involves renovating buildings, which brings stability to the neighborhood.

When will the proposed overlay go into effect?

The final approval and adoption is tentatively scheduled for late 2021. The adoption process of an overlay has two separate phases. Each phase requires a public hearing at the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) and final decision by City Council. The first phase (text amendment) is considering the proposed text changes to amend the Zoning Code and create the overlay – which is not specific to any neighborhood. The second phase (map amendment) is considering the boundaries for application of the overlay regulations. We are currently in the text amendment phase.

How can I share my thoughts about the proposed overlay?

As the overlay proceeds through each phase, there will be multiple opportunities to both gather information and provide input. The next scheduled public meetings will be held May 4 and May 6, where Tulsa Planning Office staff will provide more information to the public about the proposed text amendments. The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) will then officially consider the text amendment item at a virtual public hearing on June 2. The agenda and meeting details will be posted at

In general, written comments and feedback for specific TMAPC cases may be sent to or mailed to TMAPC, 2 W 2nd St, Suite 800, Tulsa, OK 74103. You may also attend the meeting virtually or in person. Those detailed will be included in the agenda.

Who can I contact for any additional information?

Nathan Foster, Senior Planner

Travis Hulse, Principal Planner

Process Timeline

July 2020 – Housing Study Released

July – Small group meetings with City Councilors

August – TMAPC Work Session to discuss Housing Study findings

August-October – Discussions and three public meetings with local home builders to discuss zoning barriers they frequently encounter when trying to build new housing in existing neighborhoods.

September – City Council initiates creation of 1) citywide text amendments to housing barriers; and 2) a Neighborhood Infill Overlay

January 2021 – Five public meetings with residents of neighborhoods surrounding downtown and their City Councilors to discuss concepts and ideas for the proposed overlay text amendments.

February-April – Test and fine-tune proposal based on real-world lot and building conditions

March – Present concepts to TMAPC at Work Session

May – Public meeting with neighborhoods surrounding downtown to present the latest draft of the proposed overlay text amendments

May – Public meeting for the citywide text amendments

June 16 – TMAPC public hearing to consider the proposed overlay and citywide text amendments

July-August – After TMAPC considers the text amendment, it will move forward to City Council for discussion and consideration. If City Council approves it, it would take effect 30-45 days later.

August – City Council initiation of a zoning map amendment to apply the new overlay to a specific area or areas.

August-September – Re-engage with residents and property owners within the proposed boundaries of the overlay.

September – TMAPC public hearing to consider the proposed overlay map amendments

➤September/October – After TMAPC’s recommendation (yes or no), the map amendment would move forward to the City Council for their discussion and consideration. If City Council approves the map amendment, the change will take place 30-45 days later.