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It is the process that divides land into different zones (residential, commercial, industrial, etc). Each zone is regulated as to the density, location, size and type of building permitted in each zone.
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There are three ways to find zoning on a property:
The first step is to determine the type of business (retail, service, manufacturing, etc) and location of the business, and then submit a completed Privilege License Application (Business License) to the Planning Department.
The City of Natchez has seven (7) adopted local review historic districts. In 1999, the City of Natchez adopted the Historic Natchez Design Guidelines, a document guiding development and preservation in the Historic Districts of Natchez. Any repair or construction work involving the exterior of the building must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA Application). "In-kind" repairs using the same materials existing on the house can be approved administratively by the Planning Director, however any new construction, demolition, addition, or exterior alteration must be approved by the Natchez Preservation Commission
To view the map of the Historic District, click here. The colored lines indicated districts, while the thick black line indicates the extent of the local review district regulated by the Preservation Commission.
Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses are allowed in Natchez, however they are only permitted within certain districts and all must be approved by the Planning Commission. Bed and Breakfasts must submit a Bed and Breakfast application follow the requirements in the Bed and Breakfast Ordinance. Guest Houses are allowable on a case-by-case basis and approved through the submission and approval of a Special Exception Application. Special Exceptions must meet all seven of the criteria adopted in the Natchez Development Code.
After approval, short term rentals must attain a privilege license and be inspected by the Building Official and Fire Marshal.
Prior to operating a short term rental establishment, please contact the Planning Department at (601) 445-7518 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, if you live within the area defined by the thick black line, known as the Historic District. If you live within the Historic District and would like to change the color of the exterior of your home, you must submit a Paint Application to the Planning Department. There is no fee for the application, and they take 1-3 business days to process. For questions, call (601) 445-7518.
Yes, but not without a permit.
Operating a business out of your home depends on your residential zoning and type of business you intend to operate. Home Occupations are businesses that do not require customers to come on-site, and have no signage nor commercial vehicles indicating there is a business present. Home Businesses, such as physician’s offices and salons, are permitted on a case-by-case basis in certain residential zoning districts. Please see the Planning Department if you intend to open a business out of your home.
Bed and Breakfasts or other short-term rentals require a different process. See the FAQ addressing Bed and Breakfasts for more information.
Dimensional standards or setbacks for properties in the City of Natchez depend on the zoning of the property, and its current use. If you do not know your zoning, please see the FAQ "What is zoning?" If you do know your property’s zoning, please click the following link (Dimensional Standards Table) to see the dimensional standards table from the City of Natchez Development Code.
A variance is a request made to the Planning Commission to relieve certain dimensional constraints, inhibiting the property owner of rights of enjoying the same rights as adjacent property owners. The most common variances are to setback requirements, allowing the construction of structures closer to the property line. Other variances can include, but are not limited to the number of parking spaces, building height, fence height, etc. Variances to the permitted use table are not allowed, an example of a use variance would be to allow a retail business within a residential zoning district. Click here to view Chapter 8: Variances, from the Natchez Development Code.
Special Exceptions are used by the Planning Commission to approve uses on a case-by-case basis. To approve a special exception, the Planning Commission must deem that the application meets all of the Special Exception Criteria. This is due to the fact that uses that are labeled as "special exceptions" have the potential to negatively affect other land uses. Additionally, the special exception process is used to control nonconforming ("grandfathered") uses. When seeking to change, alter, reestablish or repair a nonconforming use,a special exception must be approved. Click here to view the section controlling nonconforming uses.
Requesting to rezone a property involves making an application to the Planning Commission, and then Mayor and Board of Alderman. When requesting a rezoning it is important to first meet with the City of Natchez Planning Department to ensure the rezoning conforms with the plans and regulations of the City of Natchez. Click here to view the rezoning regulations.
The regulations for fences depend on whether your property is located inside or outside the historic district. However all fences are regulated by the corner visibility and visual clearance section in the Natchez Development Code. If your property is outside of the Historic District (map here) you may construct a fence six (6) feet in height, without a permit. If you would like to build a higher fence, you must submit a permit application to the Planning Department.
If you live inside the historic district, the maximum height for a wooden privacy fence is six (6) feet without review by the Preservation Commission. Additionally, wooden privacy fences must have a flat or horizontal top. Any other new fences, such as rod iron, handrails, or gates must receive an approved Certificate of Appropriateness from the Natchez Preservation Commission. See the Fence Guidelines in the Historic District for more detailed information.
The City of Natchez accepts most forms of payment, including check, cash, credit or debit card, and money order. We can even process payments over the phone, with receipts emailed