FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. How can I find out how my property is zoned?
A. You should consult a zoning map.  To do this, you may access it through the County Assessor’s files (available on the computer at www.tmapc.org or through the City-County Library system) or through a visit to the INCOG/TMAPC offices.  The zoning map will give you the specific zoning designation, and the Zoning Code (also available at www.tmapc.org) chapter will explain what uses are allowed and what specific requirements are for the zoning designation.

Q. What if I want to develop my property?
A. You should first determine how your property is zoned, and then determine whether your proposed use is allowed under that category.  If it is allowed by right, you must apply for a Building Permit at the One-Stop Permit Center, City Hall, One Technology Center, 175 E. 2nd Street, (918) 596-9456 (visitor parking map).  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 the INCOG/TMAPC offices, Two West 2nd Street, Suite 800.  If the proposed use is neither allowed by right nor allowed by Special Exception, you may consult with a Zoning Officer at the INCOG/TMAPC offices (918) 584-7526 regarding how the Comprehensive Plan designates your property and the possibility of applying for rezoning.  Your chances of obtaining the rezoning you desire are generally much greater if the proposed use is in accord with the Plan designation, or if the property is within a Special District, wherein all uses “may be found” to be in accord with the Plan.  INCOG/TMAPC staff will assist you, should you wish, in preparing and submitting your application.

Q. How long can I expect a rezoning action to take?
A. For straight zoning (i.e., involving no overlay zoning; see below), you can expect the process to take approximately 60-90 days.  This includes the State-mandated noticing time, advertising, preparation of and mailing of official notice to all property owners within 300’ of your property and setting the public hearing.  If you wish to develop your property in a Planned Unit Development, that requires more time (90-120 days and possibly more, depending upon the complexity of the PUD).

Q. How much does it cost to rezone my property or to apply for a Special Exception?
A. The fee schedules are posted on the INCOG/TMAPC computer website www.tmapc.org.  Costs include staff time to review, notification and publication costs and public hearing fees.  Costs vary with actions requested, number of adjacent property owners to notify and size/type of project.  Once property has been rezoned, and with the approval of certain Special Exceptions, the property is required to be platted/re-platted.  These fees are also included on the fee schedule.

Q. When may I apply for rezoning or Board of Adjustment action?
A. You may apply at any time.  However, both the TMAPC and the Boards of Adjustment have specified cut-off dates for each meeting at which public hearings are held.  These dates are on the INCOG/TMAPC website www.tmapc.org.

Q. What is the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission?
A. It is the planning body created through State statutes (Title 19, Section 863, O.S.S.) whose jurisdiction includes the City of Tulsa and all unincorporated portions of Tulsa County.  It is a voluntary eleven-member board, six of whose members are appointed by the City of Tulsa Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, three appointed by the Board of County Commissioners of Tulsa County, the Chair of the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners and the Mayor of Tulsa’s designee.  All serve three-year terms without pay.  The TMAPC meets at 1:30 p.m. on the first, third and fourth Wednesdays in the Tulsa City Council Chambers, One Technology Center, 175 E. 2nd Street, 2nd Level (Visitor Parking Map)

Q. What are the Boards of Adjustment?
A. The Boards of Adjustment serve the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County.  Each is a five-member body serving three-year terms.  City Board of Adjustment members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, while County Board of Adjustment members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners.  The City Board of Adjustment meets in the Tulsa City Council Chamber, One Technology Center, 175 E. 2nd Street, 2nd Level, 1:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month (Visitor Parking Map).  The County Board of Adjustment meets at 1:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month in Room 119, County Administration Building, 500 S. Denver.

Q. What if my neighbor is proposing to use his/her property in a way that I object to?
A. If your property is within 300’ of your neighbor’s, you will receive notice 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.  Alternatively, you may send an email (esubmit@incog.org), letter (Two West 2nd Street, Suite 800, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103) or fax (918) 583-1024) detailing your objections to the proposal.  Such documentation becomes part of the official record and is transmitted, in the case of zoning or PUD requests, along with the minutes of the public hearing, project description and staff recommendation to either the City Council or Board of County Commissioners for final hearing.

Q. Why don’t Board of Adjustment cases go to the City Council or Board of County Commissioners?
A. The Boards of Adjustment are quasi-judicial bodies, unlike the TMAPC.  Therefore, unless appealed, actions of the Boards 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 and County Zoning Codes and are on the INCOG/BOA website www.cityoftulsa-boa.org.

Q. What do the large yellow signs that are sometimes posted on properties mean?
A. 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, action requested and contact information.

Q. What is the difference between a variance and a Special Exception?
A. 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 and may be accessed through the Board of Adjustment website www.cityoftulsa-boa.org.

Q. If my neighbor is not using his/her property according to its zoning designation, what can I do?
A. 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.  He/she may not realize they are doing anything wrong.  If that doesn’t get results, you should call the the Mayor's Action Center at (918) 596-2100 for routing to the appropriate City personnel.  You may also email the Mayor's Action Center at mac@cityoftulsa.org or Neighborhood Inspections www.cityoftulsa.org/Reporting/index.asp and describe the situation.  Officials at either of these locations will determine the appropriate action to take.