Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find my property's zoning?
What do I do if I want to develop my property?
You should first determine how your property is zoned, and then determine whether your proposed use is allowed.
If it is allowed by right, you must apply for a Building Permit at the Permit Center in City Hall, 175 E. 2nd St. For more information about the Permit Center, call 918.596.9456.
If your proposed use is not allowed by right, but may be allowed by Special Exception (as defined in the Zoning Code, see above), you must apply for that at our office, 175 E. 2nd St., 4th Floor.
If the proposed use is neither allowed by right nor allowed by Special Exception, you may need to first apply for an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan.
For more information or assistance, contact our Current Planning Staff.
How long does a rezoning typically take?
For straight zoning (i.e., involving no overlay zoning; see below), you can expect the process to take approximately 60-90 days, which includes the state-required noticing time, advertising, preparation of and mailing of official notice to all property owners within 300 feet of your property, and setting the public hearing.
If you wish to develop your property in a Master Planned Development (MPD) (within Tulsa) or Planned Unit Development (PUD) (within Tulsa County), that requires more time, typically 90-120 days or possibly more, depending upon the complexity of the MPD/PUD.
Expectations for Neighbor Communications
Work With Your Neighbors
Even if your project does not require re-zoning, It is best to let your neighbors know about your plans ahead of time, and work with them to alleviate any concerns they may have. Section 70.010-E of the Zoning Code outlines expectations for Neighbor Communications:
- Neighbor communications are encouraged by the board of adjustment, planning commission and city council to help:
- educate applicants and neighbors about one another’s interests;
- resolve issues in a manner that respects those interests; and
- identify unresolved issues before initiation of formal public hearings.
- Applicants are encouraged to submit a summary of their neighbor communication activities at or before the first required public hearing. The recommended content of such summaries is as follows:
- Efforts to notify neighbors about the proposal (how and when notification occurred, and who was notified);
- How information about the proposal was shared with neighbors (mailings, work-shops, meetings, open houses, flyers, door-to-door handouts, etc.);
- Who was involved in the discussions;
- Suggestions and concerns raised by neighbors; and
- What specific changes (if any) were considered and/or made as a result of the neighbor communications.
How much does it cost to rezone or apply for a Special Exception?
You may view fees on our Applications & Resources page. Costs include staff time to review the application, notification and publication costs, and public hearing fees. Costs vary with actions requested, the number of adjacent property owners to notify and size/type of project.
When may I apply for a Planning Commission or Board of Adjustment action?
You may apply at any time; however, the Planning Commission and Boards of Adjustment have specified application cut-off dates for each meeting:
I thought Agricultural (AG) zoning protected fields from development.
The Truth About Agricultural Zoning
We often hear stories from homeowners who were falsely promised by a seller or agent that a nearby field would never be developed because it has agricultural (AG) zoning. Like all zoning districts, land that is currently zoned as AG may change in the future.
In fact, Section 25.020 of the Zoning Code says that in addition to agricultural, mining, low-density residential, and other uses, AG zoning “serves as a holding zone pending an orderly transition to more urban development that can be efficiently served by public facilities and services.”
Since 2005, there have been around 140 approved rezoning cases in Tulsa County from AG to another zoning district.
🛑 Remember that the word “always” is typically a red flag. Unless there are deed restrictions or conservation easements in place, most properties can and will change over time. If someone makes such a claim, ask to see details in writing and call our office at 918-596-7526 to confirm.
🕵🏽♀️ Read the zoning code: https://tulsaplanning.org/
What is the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission?
The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) is a joint City-County cooperative planning commission authorized by Oklahoma Statutes, Title 19, Section 863. It was created in 1953 by the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County. TMAPC is a recommending body for zoning requests within the Tulsa city limits and the unincorporated areas of Tulsa County. The Planning Commission typically meets at 1:00 p.m. on the first and third and Wednesdays of each month in the Tulsa City Council Chambers, 175 E. 2nd St. More info
What is a Board of Adjustment?
There are two Boards of Adjustment (BOA) that serve our metropolitan area: one for the City of Tulsa, and one for Tulsa County.
City of Tulsa Board of Adjustment
The City of Tulsa Board of Adjustment is empowered by state law to grant variances and special exceptions to the zoning code due to hardships. The City BOA meets in the Tulsa City Council Chamber, 175 E. 2nd Street, 2nd Level, 1:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. More info
Tulsa County Board of Adjustment
The Tulsa County Board of Adjustment hears appeals from the County Inspector, may grant special exceptions or variances, and make interpretations of zoning maps and text within the unincorporated areas of the county. More info
Do I need a Letter of Deficiency (LOD)?
City Board of Adjustment applications should include by a Letter of Deficiency (LOD) issued by the City of Tulsa Permit Center after an application for a Zoning Clearance Permit.
What if my neighbor is proposing to use his/her property in a way that I object to?
If your property is within 300 feet of your neighbor’s (about the distance of one city block), you will receive of the proposed rezoning through the mail. That notice will indicate the date and time of the public hearing for the rezoning. You may attend the hearing and voice your objections or ask questions.
For properties within Tulsa city limits, you may send an email, or send a letter to: Tulsa Planning Office, 175 E. 2nd St., Suite 480, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103. In your letter, express why you object to the proposal. All correspondence concerning a case becomes part of the official record and is transmitted, in the case of zoning or MPD/PUD requests, along with the minutes of the public hearing, project description and staff recommendation, to City Council for final hearing.
I have questions about fences and walls.
View our Fences/Walls FAQ page.
Why don't BOA cases go to the City Council?
The Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body, unlike the TMAPC. As such, actions of the Board of Adjustment are final. Appeals of Board decisions must be made through District Court. Procedures and requirements for filing appeals are described in the City of Tulsa Zoning Code.
What is the difference between a Variance and a Special Exception?
Both are actions people may request through the Boards of Adjustment.
A Variance is typically relief from a setback requirement, height limitation or spacing, and requires that a hardship be shown. A hardship is a condition that is unique to the particular property such that meeting the zoning requirements is not feasible. A hardship cannot be economic or self-imposed.
Special Exceptions are specific uses that may be appropriate under particular circumstances on a piece of property. The Boards review requests for these on a case-by-case basis. Both City and County Zoning Codes list allowable Special Exception uses.
What can I do if my neighbor isn't using their property according to its zoning designation?
The first and usually easiest thing to do is to approach your neighbor with your concerns after you have confirmed that the use is in fact not according to the regulations. They may not realize they are doing anything wrong. If that doesn’t get results, you should call the Mayor’s Action Center at (918) 596-2100 for routing to the appropriate City personnel. You may also report it online at tulsa311.com, on the Tulsa311 smartphone app, or by calling 311.
How do I obtain a Zoning Verification Letter?
For properties within Tulsa city limits, email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail a request to:
Tulsa Planning Office
Tulsa City Hall
175 E. 2nd St., Suite 480
Tulsa, OK 74103
In your request, please include the Tulsa County parcel number, and the legal description of the property (which you can find on Tulsa County Property Assessor’s website).
Be aware that our Zoning Verification Letter will only serve to confirm the Zoning of a property, provide information regarding Board of Adjustment action on the property and information about the MPD/PUD or Corridor District. Determining compliance to zoning or building code requirements is not a function of this office. For properties within the City of Tulsa, the Building Permits Division (918.596.9456) will address compliance upon application for a building permit or occupancy permit. Contact a Planner for more information, or email email@example.com with ‘Zoning Verification Letter’ in the subject line.
What do the large yellow signs posted on properties mean?
Those signs are part of the notification process for all rezoning public hearings and some Board of Adjustment public hearings. The signs indicate date, time and place of public hearing, the action requested, and contact information.