When is a building permit required?
By City Ordinance, a building permit is required “to construct, erect, demolish, install, alter or repair…any building, structure, equipment, appliances or system…”
Click here for complete information on City of Atlanta residential permits.
When is a building permit not required?
A building permit is not required for repair work with a total valuation of less than $10,000; provided such work is otherwise lawful. Repair work means in-kind repairs which do not add to, alter, or otherwise modify the building or structure. Click here for work the City of Atlanta says is exempt from a permit.
What is a variance?
Variances are modifications of zoning regulations, granted by the City of Atlanta’s Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA). The process is designed to allow citizens and neighbors to weigh in on the application for the variance in the form of supporting or not supporting a request, but the decision is always made by the BZA. For further details, click here for the BZA website.
I applied for a permit and I was told I need a variance. What is the process?
The Office of Buildings, where you apply for you building permit, should give you a Variance application which you will fill out and submit to the permit office. This initiates the variance approval process.
- The City sends your Variance application to the appropriate NPU (NPU-N) and neighborhood
- Zoning Chair should contact you, or you may contact them, to confirm the applicant’s ability to attend the appropriate meetings.
- In brief, the meeting schedule is:
CPNO Zoning Committee > CPNO Regular Meeting > NPU-N > BZA.
- CPNO Zoning Committee (1st Wednesday of the month unless otherwise noted, check calendar). Applicant is asked to present and the application is reviewed by the Members of the Zoning Committee. A vote for either recommending or not recommending support of your application is taken.
- CPNO Members Meeting (3rd Monday of the month). The Zoning Officer presents the details of the variance application and the Zoning Committee recommendation to CPNO members and residents. Applicant can add to the presentation and may need to answer questions. Then any CPNO member (could be you if you are a member) can make a motion to support or not support the variance application and, after discussion, CPNO members vote.
- Neighborhood Planning Unit-N (NPU-N, 4th Thursday). The outcome of CPNO Members’ vote is presented at the NPU-N meeting, see the NPU Agenda & Schedule website to confirm schedule and agenda. The NPU considers your application and votes to support or not support your application.
- Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). The NPU’s advice is communicated to the BZA, which votes whether or not to grant your variance.
At each step of the process an application may be deferred. Usually a deferral happens when not all documents are submitted or compromises need to be worked out. A deferral is free, except for deferrals with the BZA.
How long will the process for a variance application take?
Consider these steps and dates:
- CPNO Zoning Committee (1st Wednesday of the month unless otherwise noted, check calendar). Applications need to be submitted to the Zoning Committee chair a week before their meeting, which is usually the 1st Wednesday of every month, but be sure to check Upcoming Events on our web site as meetings may be moved based on BZA application deadlines or holidays!
- CPNO Members Meeting (3rd Monday of the month).
- Neighborhood Planning Unit-N (NPU-N, 4th Thursday). Check the NPU Agenda & Schedule website in case the 4th Thursday falls on or near a holiday. December especially has non-standard meeting dates.
- BZA. Check their website to download a PDF giving the schedule for the year. Usually the BZA scheduling leaves several weeks for the applicant to contact the Zoning Committee, but sometimes the dates work out to no more than a week and the documents will need to be submitted immediately for the application to make it on the agenda. It is the applicant’s duty to verify that this process can be completed before the scheduled BZA hearing date.
Should I bring a presentation board?
Other than the materials requested in the Zoning Committee Checklist, there is no need to bring anything. However, please consider that you may be asked to present at the CPNO Regular Meeting, the NPU-N meeting, and the BZA meeting. Many applicants choose to create one or more boards outlining their plans. The Zoning Officer can advise.
How do I know which zoning code an address/property is in?
There are two methods:
- Use the City of Atlanta overview map to find the relevant detail map.
- Search the City of Atlanta’s Property Information website. Search by address or parcel ID.
Where can I find property information?
- For tax information, property value, owner, and mailing address, check the DeKalb County Tax Assessor website. Search by street address or parcel ID. For best results search by simple street address, for example “101 Clifton” for 101 Clifton Ave NE.
- For information on issued building permits, complaints, inspections, and status updates, search the City of Atlanta’s Citizen Gateway. To the right of General Information, under the Building category, click Search Permits/Complaints. You do not have to log in. For best results search by simple street address for the best results, for instance “101 Clifton” for 101 Clifton Ave NE.
Where can I report a code violation?
Where can I report a noise violation?
- Call the Atlanta Police Department via 911 or for Zone 6 (our zone) call 404-371-5002.
- Click here to see the Atlanta Noise Ordinance.
When and where are the zoning committee meetings?
- When: Usually the 1st Wednesday of every month but may be later based on BZA application deadlines or holidays.
- Where: Online or at The Neighborhood Church (1561 McLendon Avenue, across from Candler Park; enter through the glass connector doors).
Click here for the next Zoning Committee meeting location, date, and agenda.
Click here for upcoming Zoning Committee meeting locations and dates.
How is tree removal handled?
Tree removal is typically handled through the Office of Buildings. Signs are required to be posted on the property. Trees are marked prior to the advisement period and then can be removed if no one objects. Objections are filed with the City of Atlanta and heard before the Tree Commission. To learn more, see the Office of Buildings – Arborist Division website.
Stop work orders
Decisions by the Office of Building and the Office of Zoning Enforcement are easily appealed – a temporary stop work order is issued and the appeal is reviewed by City of Atlanta staff.
What is the yard setback for my property? How high can I build? How many parking spaces is a community center supposed to have?
- The relevant section of the Code of Ordinances will tell you! First determine the Zoning Code of your property (Candler Park is mostly R-4 single family and R-5 duplex). Check the City of Atlanta Zoning Map.It’s a bit awkward to navigate, but will display detailed PDF files of all neighborhoods.
- Then open the City of Atlanta – Code of Ordinances. Click PART III Code of Ordinances – Land Development Code on the left and then scroll down to Part 16 – Zoning to se detailed zoning regulations.