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Zoning FAQs

You can apply for the following requests:

  1. Lift/Amend Conditions
  2. Right-of-way Closure/Abandonment
  3. Planned Unit Development (PUD)
  4. Special Permit
  5. Zoning

If you are not sure which application to use, please call RPA Development Services at (423) 643-5902.

In the case of rezoning and special exceptions permits, property owners or their appointed representatives may apply. Adjacent property owners may apply for street and alley closures.

The appointed representative is a person authorized by the legal current property owner to represent the case as the applicant. As part of the application, the representative shall submit a SIGNED document by the current property owner stating knowledge of the request and acknowledging that the applicant is representing the owner.

Applications are due by noon on the 4th Monday of each month. All applications and payments must be made in person.

Rezoning Application Process

Pre-Application meetings with RPA staff are no longer required prior to submitting an application for rezoning. If a potential applicant would like to schedule an optional pre-application meeting, they should contact the Regional Planning Agency to schedule.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform the applicant of the zoning process, the site plan requirements, applicable plans and policies, and to help RPA staff understand the proposed project and the purpose of the rezoning or special permit.

Neighborhood/Community Meeting – Depending on the nature of the project proposal, the applicant is often encouraged to conduct a public neighborhood meeting sometime before the Planning Commission meeting. The purpose of a public neighborhood meeting is for the applicant to inform stakeholders of the proposed project and answer questions about the proposal and gather and respond to feedback from the neighborhood or community. This meeting is the applicant’s responsibility to coordinate and set up.

Staff will determine and identify the information required for the application submittal, based on the scale and complexity of the proposed project.


It is the intent of the RPA Site Plan policy to require site plans that will provide sufficient information for planning staff, planning commissioners, elected officials, and other interested parties to make more informed decisions regarding rezoning requests. Site plans promote greater understanding of the request and help to communicate the applicant’s intent for how a site is to be used and developed.

Site Plan Required:

A site plan shall be required for all rezoning requests and special permits. The RPA site plan policy does not apply if a site plan is already required by the zoning regulations. In those cases, the applicant must submit a site plan as required by the zoning regulations.

Exempt Zones:

The following zones in the various jurisdictions are exempt from the site plan requirements: Chattanooga: R-1 / Hamilton County: A-1, R-1, R-5 / Lakesite: R-1 / Lookout Mountain: R-1, R-2 Ridgeside: R-1 / Walden:A-1, R-1, E-1

Plan Submittal:
  1.  All site plans must be submitted by the monthly application deadline with the application. No application will be accepted without a site plan, unless exempted as indicated above.
  2.  A five day grace period from date of submission may be considered, on a case by case basis, when approval has been obtained from the Planning Agency Executive Director prior to filing the application. Such approval will extend acceptance for five (5) days from the stated deadline date.
  3. Zoning applications are available at the RPA Development Services counter or online at
  4. Site plans may only be binding to the extent that a site plan is referenced in an ordinance or resolution or elements of a site plan are added as conditions to the rezoning.
  5. A site plan submitted as required for the application review process is for informational purposes only and, unless specified by ordinance or resolution, does not constitute a “development plan” under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 13-3-413 or Section 13-4-310 and therefore does not establish a vested property right.


Minimum Site Plan Requirements:
  1.  All site plans must contain the following:
    1. Area for proposed zone request (labeled as such)with dimensions shown
    2. Approximate location, size and dimensions of the existing or proposed building(s)
    3. Property lines that contain the tract of land to be developed
    4. Vehicular and pedestrian points of ingress and egress, existing or proposed
    5.  Landscape buffers as required by ordinance or otherwise proposed
    6.  Any Proposed sidewalks
    7. Approximate parking area design/redesign, including number of spaces
    8. Location of dumpsters (if applicable)
    9. A legend with these items:
      1. North arrow
      2. Graphic Scale (in feet)
      3. Area in acres (total area being requested for rezoning)
      4. Number of residential units, if applicable
  2.  All site plans must be submitted on a minimum of tabloid size (11” x 17”) paper. Larger sizes may be requested or provided. If a larger size is provided at least one (1) copy must be of tabloid (11” x 17”) size.
  3. Only one (1) copy of the site plan is required. PDF files are also acceptable and may be emailed.
  4. All plans must be clear, legible, and drawn to scale.


Additional Requirements:​

Based on the scale and complexity of the proposed project, one or more of the following items may be required in addition to the minimum site plan requirements:

  1.  Phasing plan
  2. Grading plan
  3. Storm water plan
  4. Traffic study
  5. Cross section drawings
  6. Building height/elevation drawings
  7. Any additional information determined necessary during the pre-application meeting or neighborhood meeting.

The following shall be submitted:

  1. Application
  2. Project Site Plan
  3. Any additional studies, drawings, plan requirements required by staff
  4. Application Fee

Applications submitted to the Regional Planning Agency for rezoning, Planned Unit Developments and other special permits, or right-of-way closures must be submitted by the deadline to be placed on the appropriate Planning Commission agenda.

Applications will only be accepted when all required information is submitted. No application will be accepted without a site plan unless exempted as indicated in the previous section.



Application Deadlines

Application Fees

Rezoning Notice signs will be issued to the applicant. It is the applicant’s responsibility to post the sign on the subject property. No rezoning signs should be displayed on the property until after five business days following the monthly application deadline. This allows time for the applicant to withdraw their request, if they desire, before posting the public notice sign. Once the sign is posted, the request cannot be removed from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission agenda.

The RPA will notify Neighborhood Associations of rezoning requests within their neighborhood boundaries by letter approximately three weeks before the Planning Commission meeting. For requests in the City of Chattanooga, adjacent property owners will be notified. A notice of the Planning Commission date, location, and time is also placed in the newspaper.

The Planning Commission meeting is held the second Monday of every month on the fourth floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse, 625 Georgia Avenue, at 1:00pm. The Planning Commission reviews requests for zoning, special permits, closures/abandonments, and other mandatory referrals. They vote on each case after it is heard. Except for certain special permits, the Planning Commission vote is a recommendation to the appropriate legislative body (Chattanooga City Council, Hamilton County Commission, etc.). This is only a recommendation.

Final action on Special Permits for single-wide manufactured homes is by the Planning Commission.  An appeal to the Planning Commission’s action may be made to the County Commission who will hear said appeal at the 2nd County Commission meeting, which is held on the 3rd Wednesday of the following month.  A request for an appeal should be made at the Planning Commission meeting the day of the hearing.

The public is invited to participate in the meeting and will be given an opportunity to express support or opposition to cases. Planning Commission discussion is typically focused on zoning and land use. Topics include the applicant’s request, site plan, site description, zoning history, plans and policies. Except for subdivision plats, the Planning Commission does notreview or have authority to approve building or road construction plans, storm water plans, flood plans, or any other similar engineering-related issues.

Request to Defer

After filing an application with the RPA and within five business days after the zoning application deadline, an applicant may request (in writing) to defer the case.
If the applicant requests deferral after the five business day period following the zoning application deadline, the staff can not remove the zoning case from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission agenda. If the applicant then desires to have the case deferred, he or she must make the request at the scheduled Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meeting.  Action to allow deferral of the zoning application will be determined by the Planning Commission.

Request to Withdraw

After filing an application with the RPA, an applicant may request (in writing) that their case be withdrawn at any time before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meeting.  Such a request will be honored and the zoning case will be removed from the Planning Commission agenda.  A request to withdraw a case may also be made at the Planning Commission meeting.

The final decision on each case is made by your local legislative body at another public hearing which is usually four to six weeks following the Planning Commission meeting. Notification of the local government meeting is done by a legal notice in the newspaper.  To be certain of the exact date and time of the legislative body’s public hearing, you should call one of the below listed numbers at least one week after the Planning Commission meeting.  All interested parties should be present at the local government meeting.

Additional Information

Zoning Process questions: contact RPA Development Services at (423) 643-5902.

Infrastructure and Operational questions: contact one of the following:

Public Works – (423) 643-6000

Engineering – (423) 643-6190

Chattanooga Department of Transportation – (423) 643-5950

Technical Information – (423) 643-6033

Building Inspection – (423) 643-5800

Board of Appeals – (423) 643-5883

Landscape Coordinator – (423) 643-5885

Land Development Office– (423) 643-5880

Neighborhood Services – (423) 425-3700

Public Works – (423) 209-7800

Engineering – (423) 209-7810

Traffic Engineering – (423) 209-7810

County GIS – (423) 209-7760

Building Inspection – (423) 209-7860

Board of Appeals – (423) 209-7860

Environmental Health – (423) 209-8110




EAST RIDGE: (423) 867-7711

LAKESITE: (423) 842-2533

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN: (423) 821-1226

WALDEN: (423) 886-4362