The City of Boulder City Planning and Zoning Office provides a high level of staff support to the City Council, other committees and agencies, the public, the private sector and other City departments relative to land use, planning, zoning, development, population and certain federal grant matters.
The overriding goal is to provide expert guidance to all affected parties with regard to the planning process, primarily as it relates to land use. Objectives include:
Striving to comply with deadlines and legal requirements, for local committee actions as well as federal grants.
Working with citizens and developers to address their land use goals within the framework of the City Council's adopted codes.
Providing a high level of expertise to the citizen committees that must deal with these issues.
Tracking development and working with outside committees with regard to generating acceptable population estimates for the City.
PLANNING & ZONING – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DO I FIND THE ZONING OF A PROPERTY? The City's zoning maps are not yet online. (The information on the County's website is NOT for Boulder City zoning). In the meantime, please call the Community Development Department at (702) 293-9282 to obtain the zoning of a property. Zoning maps are also available for purchase in the Public Works Department at City Hall. You may contact the Public Works Department office at (702) 293-9200.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE ZONING ORDINANCE (TITLE 11) REGULATIONS? The City's zoning ordinance (Title 11) is part of the municipal code, which is available online:
Copies of specific chapters are also available at the Community Development Department. A copy of the entire code may also be purchased from the City Clerk's office for a fee of $20.00. You may contact the City Clerk's office at (702) 293-9208.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT SETBACKS APPLY TO MY RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY? You would first check the zoning chapter for your zone, such as Chapter 11-3 for R1 for single-family residential. If your property does not meet the minimum requirements for a lot in that zone (for instance, if your property is in the R1-7 zone but it is less than 7,000 square feet in size or less than 70' in width), your property is entitled to some "breaks" on the setback requirements, which can be found in Chapter 11-21 for substandard lots of record. These chapters address the principal building on your property (the house), and any additions to it. There are different setback requirements for accessory buildings, found in Chapter 11-20.
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS FOR A DETACHED STRUCTURE ON MY LOT? These regulations are found in Chapter 11-20 of the City Code. (See question for "Where can I find the zoning ordinance regulations?")
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS FOR AN ATTACHED PATIO COVER OR CARPORT ON MY LOT? These regulations are found in Chapter 11-20 of the City Code. (See question for "Where can I find the zoning ordinance regulations?")
WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS FOR A FENCE OR WALL ON MY LOT? These regulations are found in Chapter 11-20 of the City Code. (See question for "Where can I find the zoning ordinance regulations?")
WHAT DO I NEED FOR A ZONING REVIEW? If for residential property, bring in a plot plan showing your entire property and all existing structures on it. Verify where your front property line is relative to the street. (See question for "Is my front property line at the back of the sidewalk?") You can usually get your property line dimensions off the County Assessor's office website (see question for "How do I access the County Assessor's office website?"). Then show what it is you want to build (detached garage, house addition, patio cover, etc.) and what the setbacks (feet and inches) would be from the nearest property lines (front, side, rear). For commercial property, bring in the same type of information for a plot plan, but also provide your parking layout, showing dimensions.
IS MY FRONT (OR STREET SIDE) PROPERTY LINE AT THE BACK OF THE SIDEWALK? Probably not. Over the decades, roads in Boulder City were built at varying widths for the right-of-way, and the front property line for your property may be 4.5' behind the sidewalk, 3' behind the sidewalk, or something different. Please call either the Community Development Department at (702) 293-9282 or the Engineering Division at (702) 293-9200 for this information.
CAN I BUILD A FENCE THAT EXTENDS TO THE BACK OF THE SIDEWALK? In most cases, yes. Your property may not extend to the back of the sidewalk (see question for "Is my front property line at the back of the sidewalk?"), but the Public Works Department may be able to issue an encroachment permit for a fence or wall within the City's right-of-way. You may contact them at (702) 293-9200.
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT MY PROPERTY LINE DIMENSIONS ARE? Most property line dimensions can be found on the County Assessor's Office website (see question for "How do I access the County Assessor's office website?"). Sometimes the County's maps do not include all property lines, and sometimes (though rarely) their information is incorrect. The City's Engineering Division (702-293-9200) can verify all property line dimensions, and you can also get a scaled copy of your property from that division.
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHERE MY PROPERTY LINES ARE? For the location of property lines along streets, you may contact the Engineering Division at (702) 293-9200. The staff there can also tell you how to find your other property lines, but it may be necessary for you to hire a licensed land surveyor to officially determine this on site.
DO I NEED MY NEIGHBOR'S PERMISSION TO BUILD A FENCE ON OUR PROPERTY LINE? If the fence or wall will be located on the property line, yes. Since most homeowners do not have their property lines surveyed, the City will require you to get your neighbor (the property owner, not a renter) to sign off on your request. If you are willing to provide a survey and have your property lines staked by a licensed land surveyor, and your wall is built entirely on your property, permission from the neighboring property owner will not be required.
HOW DO I ACCESS THE COUNTY ASSESSOR'S OFFICE WEBSITE? Here is the link:
Under the "Real Property Records" heading click on "Address" to enter the address you're looking for. Once you've entered the street number, street name and Boulder City, you have access to the property ownership data for that property, as well as links to the Assessor's maps and aerial photos.
WHAT DO I NEED FOR A VARIANCE? First, you need to discuss your request with the City Planner (702-293-9282); it's very possible that a variance is not necessary. If you do need a variance, the City Planner will go over the procedure with you.
DOES MY REQUEST NEED TO GO TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION OR CITY COUNCIL FOR APPROVAL? Most requests for residential or commercial development can be approved by City staff without going to the Planning Commission or City Council. These other approvals are usually only required if the proposed use requires a Conditional Use Permit or a variance (and in most of those cases only approval by the Planning Commission is required).
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT SIGN REGULATIONS? Sign regulations are found in Chapter 24 of Title 11. (See question for "Where can I find the zoning ordinance regulations?")
WHAT KIND OF "FOR SALE" SIGN AM I ALLOWED TO HAVE ON MY PROPERTY? The sign regulations are found in Chapter 24 of Title 11. However, we also have a brochure on this webpage, which you can also download and print, titled "Temporary Sign Brochure." Click on this link for the Temporary Sign Brochure: temporary sign brochure.pdf
WHERE ARE "OPEN HOUSE" SIGNS PERMITTED? The sign regulations are found in Chapter 24 of Title 11. However, we also have a brochure on this webpage which you can also download and print, titled "Temporary Sign Brochure." Click on this link: temporary sign brochure.pdf
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT EASEMENTS ARE ON MY PROPERTY? Call the Engineering Division at (702) 293-9200.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF THERE IS AN EXISTING PLOT PLAN FOR MY PROPERTY WHICH SHOWS WHERE MY HOUSE IS? Call the Community Development Department at (702) 293-9282 and we will check your address file to see if there is a usable plot plan there. If not, you will need to draw your own plot plan if you intend to submit a request for a building permit.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF THE CITY HAS A COPY OF THE BUILDING PLANS FOR MY HOUSE? You may call us at (702) 293-9282. Due to lack of space, most house plans are destroyed after a year's time, but you can ask us what we have on file. You are also welcome to copy any or all of the items in the address file for your property (copy fees will apply).
HOW IS BUILDING HEIGHT MEASURED? The zoning restriction is typically 25' maximum for a house and 16' for an accessory building. How this is measured is determined by the building code: a summary is that the height is measured from the average grade around the proposed building to the midpoint of a pitched roof or to the top of a flat roof. Basements may be partially exposed above grade; you may contact the Building Official at (702) 293-9282 to get more information on how basements and building heights are calculated.
ARE THERE SPECIAL RESTRICTIONS FOR PROPERTIES IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT? No, not at this time. If historic restrictions are considered in the future, this answer will be updated at that time.
I OWN A CORNER LOT. IS THE FRONT PROPERTY LINE THE ONE MY FRONT DOOR FACES? Possibly not. The zoning ordinance states that for a corner lot, the front property line is the shorter of the two property lines which abut the streets. This can affect where you can build an accessory building, or how high your fences can be, since there are usually different regulations for front yards vs. side and rear yards. (Typically there are greater restrictions and limitations for what is permitted in the front yard.)
THERE IS AN EXISTING APARTMENT IN / BEHIND THE HOUSE I OWN, OR AM CONSIDERING PURCHASING. CAN I CONTINUE TO USE THE APARTMENT? Possibly. It depends on if the City has records in our building files for the other unit. If the City has previously approved permits for the other unit, then it is considered to be "grandfathered in." If we don't have records, the issue is more clouded, as we may not be able to determine if the unit was ever legally allowed. If the unit was illegally built or converted, then it will need to be returned to a state where it is not a separate dwelling unit.
CAN I BUILD A MOTHER-IN-LAW QUARTERS OR GUEST HOUSE ON MY RESIDENTIAL LOT? Not if your property is zoned R1, Single-Family Residential. You may have additional bedrooms, but nothing that could be locked off and used as a separate dwelling. Also, detached buildings are not permitted for living or sleeping purposes. (You may use a detached building for a garage, workshop, home office, pool house or music room, but with no bedrooms or kitchen.) Variances are not allowed for additional dwellings in a single-family zone.
WHERE CAN I GET DEMOGRAPHIC DATA FOR BOULDER CITY? The same place we do, at the census website, www.census.gov. From that homepage, on the right in the "population finder" box you can enter Boulder City's zip code (89005) and click on "go" to get the 2000 population, and from that next page you can click on the link to the "fact sheet" which gives you access to much more census 2000 information.
WHAT IS BOULDER CITY'S CURRENT POPULATION? The State's preliminary population estimate for Boulder City for July 1, 2007 is 15,863 persons, although this has not yet been certified by the Governor.
WHEN DOES THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEET? The Planning Commission generally meets the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. (The exceptions are when the third Wednesday is on or too near a holiday, or rescheduled due to early voting – check with the City Planner at 702-293-9282 regarding any changed dates.) Submission deadlines for applications are generally the last Thursday of the prior month, or about three weeks in advance. Please talk to the City Planner about items for Planning Commission approval.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SETBACK, AN EASEMENT AND A RIGHT-OF-WAY? A setback is simply the closest distance that a structure is "set back" from a property line. An easement is a separately recorded item that designates that some other party has a right over that portion of land, although the property owner owns the underlying land. (For example, the City or other utilities may have a 5' wide easement along a side property line, which means that they have the right to trespass over and work within that easement area.) A right-of-way is the term used for the land owned by a public agency and used for city roads and state and federal highways; the right-of-way usually extends beyond the roadway itself. (Many city roads may be between 31' and 41' wide within a 60' wide right-of-way, which would also include any parkway, the sidewalk, and up to 4.5' behind the sidewalk.)
HOW DOES THE CITY'S GROWTH CONTROL ORDINANCE APPLY TO ME? The ordinance, being the Controlled Growth Management Plan (Chapter 41 of Title 11), only affects you if you're planning to build a house that you intend to sell, and not to live in yourself. It also applies to construction of all apartments, multi-family condominiums and hotels. For these requests, contact the City Planner at (702) 293-9282 to discuss the procedure for obtaining an allotment. The ordinance also technically applies to owner-builders on newer lots (created since 1996), but these requests are merely counted towards the annual total and can be approved at the staff level.
WHAT DO I NEED TO RUN A BUSINESS OUT OF MY HOME? The City's zoning regulations for "home occupations" are found in Chapter 29 of Title 11. You may pick up an application in the Business License Division (702-293-9219) at City Hall, and you may call the City Planner at (702) 293-2982 if you have any questions about the submittal requirements.
CAN I GET ZONING OR SUBDIVISION APPLICATIONS ONLINE? Not yet, but we are working on this. In the meantime, applications are available for pick up or mail out in the Community Development Department, (702) 293-9282.
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