Zoning Process Quick Reference Guide

The Zoning Process in Hillsborough County Explained

If you have ever wondered how the zoning process in Hillsborough County works, look no further. This zoning quick reference guide will explain how it works, how to find what's being proposed in your area, how to participate in the process, and resources to help.

Table of Contents


How Does the Development Process in Hillsborough County Work?

Typically, new projects in Hillsborough County follow a 3-step process*:

Step 1 - Zoning
The project is reviewed to ensure that the proposed use(s) and development standards (height, setbacks, bulk, etc.) meets the Land Development Code (LDC) requirements. If it does not, applicants may request modifications or propose specific uses for the property.

An application of rezoning, variance or special use is submitted by the proponent for review by staff, a Land Use Hearing Master and/or the Board of County Commissioners. An advertised Public Hearing is required to approve these changes. This is also the part of the process with the most opportunities for public input and participation exist.


Step 2 - Site Review
Once the project’s zoning development rights are in place, an engineering review of the project’s proposed site/subdivision must take place. County staff and engineers will look at the proposal and determine if it meets code requirements and infrastructure county standards or if additional infrastructure must be put in put place to meet the new demands the project will place on roads and transportation, utilities, natural resources, drainage, etc.


Step 3 - Building Permitting
Once the site review has been completed and approved, the permitting process will begin for the structures to be placed on the property. All building plans are reviewed for compliance with the Florida Building Code. Required safety inspections are completed during the construction process. After completion of all necessary steps, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued certifying that the buildings are suitable for occupancy.

*The processes described are generally the path a project may follow. However, specific processes and requirements are determined based on the unique nature of each project and may differ from those described.


How Do I Find Out What is Being Proposed in my Area?

Typically, when a zoning application is submitted that requires a public hearing, a large yellow sign will be posted at the property indicating the type of change being sought, the hearing date and other useful information. Additionally, property owners and civic organizations within a specified area of the property to be rezoned will also receive a notice in the mail regarding the application and its scheduled hearing.


The County website also has a map of submitted zoning applications available. By selecting an application noted on the map, you can view the type of application, application number and hearing date. This map also provides an option where residents can sign up to receive notice via email whenever a new application is submitted within a specified radius of their location.


To view additional information regarding the application, Hillsborough County has a public database where all information submitted relating to an application may be viewed. Detailed and illustrated instructions are available, but in general, a search is done through the document repository using the application number. Once the correct application is found, individual documents relating to the application can be selected and viewed.



How can I Participate in the Process?

Tell us what you think

If you’d like to voice your thoughts on opinions on a matter being determined through a zoning application, participation opportunities are readily available. Participation in the hearing process can occur at any time up to and including the hearing date. Interested parties can speak on an application by attending its hearing in person at the date and time indicated. Currently, virtual participation is also available by signing up ahead of time and attending the hearing virtually through your computer or smartphone.


Can’t attend the hearing?

No problem! You may still submit your testimony or evidence by submitting an email to Hearings@HCFLGov.net at any time prior to the hearing.


Still have questions?

We’re here to help! For questions related to the zoning hearing process simply email Hearings@HCFLGov.net or call (813) 307-4739.


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