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What is the Zoning Code? 

The Zoning Code is the adopted law of the City that regulates land use, growth, and development. It divides the City into different zone districts that are applied in different geographic areas of the City. The geographic area where each zone district applies is identified on the City’s Official Zoning Map. For each district, the zone district regulations allow specific types of uses (for example, single-family homes) and regulate the location and size of development. They include standards such as maximum height, the minimum distance a building must be setback from the front of the lot, and maximum size of secondary buildings. The Zoning Code also includes general development standards that apply to most or all development in the City, such as the amount of required parking, the maximum height of fences, and requirements for landscaping and signage. 

The Zoning Code also includes provisions that establish the procedures for how development proposals are reviewed and approved or denied. 

A link to City’s current Zoning Code can be found under the Background Documents tab of this site. 

What is the Official Zoning Map? 

The Official Zoning Map is the map maintained by the City that identifies where each zone district included in the Zoning Code is applied within the City. The City maintains an interactive Official Zoning Map that is linked from the Background Documents tab of this site. 

Where can I get copies of project documents? 

The Work Products page of this website will be updated regularly to include links to all documents produced as part of this effort, as well as supporting information. 

Why comprehensively update the Zoning Code? 

The Zoning Code was last comprehensively updated in 1966. Over the past 50 plus years, it has been amended numerous times but never comprehensively updated. As a result, the document is lengthy, not well-organized, not easy to understand, or use. It has not taken advantage of the use of graphics to better communicate zoning concepts that many modern codes use, and in some instances lacks other modern zoning best practices.  In addition, the current Zoning Code does not address the policy direction for future growth and development reflected in the recently adopted Charleston City Plan, in particular the need to change development rules to address the rising water levels and flooding the City now faces and will face into the future, and the need to modify regulations to ensure all members of the community are equitably treated.  

The purpose of this project is to address all these issues, and prepare a modern code for Charleston that is user-friendly, graphically rich, procedurally efficient, equitable to all, and that also establishes development rules that locates and designs development to mitigate against the City’s rising water environment. 

How long will the project take? 

The project is expected to take two and one-half to three years.  

Who is managing the project? 

The project is being conducted under the direction of the City’s Department of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability, with assistance from a consultant team led by Clarion Associates. 

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