Planning and Land Use | Cherokee County, GA - Where Metro Meets the Mountains
Frequently Asked Questions
Planning and Land Use

Zoning 101

What is Zoning?

Zoning governs the specific land use, height, area of land and density fo development allowed on a property.  Zoning in unincorporated Cherokee County is governed by the Cheorkee County Zoning Ordinance.  Properties located within the city limits (Ball Ground, Canton, Holly Springs, Mountain Park, Nelson, Waleska and Woodstock) are subject to that city's zoning requirements.  Except for Waleska, all inquires about city zoning requirements should be directed to the appropriate city staff.  Cherokee County currently serves as the Planning staff for the City of Waleska.

What do different zoning district designations mean?

In general, the zoning designations for residential uses begin with "R" (for example, R-40).  Residential uses are also allowed in our AG (General Agricultural) zoning district. Zoning designations for commercial uses, such as retail stores, restuarants, offices, etc., include the following zoning districts (OI, CP, NC & GC). Industrial zoning designations are LI and HI.  A complete list of districts and basic requirements can be found in Table 7.1 of the Zoning Ordinance.

How does the zoning district affect my property?

The zoning regulations for a specific zoning district limit the types of land uses, size of structures and their location on the property.  For example, accessory structures like detached garages, sheds, guest houses and pools may not be located in front yard of a house within residential districts.  Zoning district regulations also prevent someone from opening up an automobile service business at their home.  Zoning affects commercial and industrial property as well, including requirements for buffers against residential lots.

When will the zoning district change on my property?

In almost all cases, the zoning district of a specific property does not change without the property owners' approval. Rarely, it becomes necessary to modify the list of zoning districts within the Cherokee County Zoning Ordinance.  In these situations, the existing zoning districts are mapped to the most appropriate new zoning district.  Care is taken to ensure the minimum number of properties become legal non-conforming or "grandfathered" at that time.

What does it mean if a property is "grandfathered" ?

Buildings and land uses may have met all of the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance when they were built or started.  After that point, the provisions of the ordinance may have changed so now they do not meet requirements.  Now, this property is considered to have legal non-conforming status or be "grandfathered".  This status does not apply to buildings and land uses that were not legal.  These buildings and land uses are also prohibited from expanding once they are considered legal non-conforming. For land uses, there must be clear documentation that the land use took place continously without any breaks lasting 2 years or more.  Occupational Tax Certificates (OTC) or "business licenses" are our prefered method for showing continous operation of commercial or industrial land uses.

What do the notice signs along the road mean?

Notice signs being posted on a property mean that an application has been submitted for that property.  The dark orange signs are for rezoning applications to change the zoning district on the property to a different district.  The yellow signs are for variance or appeal applications to ask for an exception to the zoning ordinance requirements or to get clarification on the Zoning Administrator's interpretation of the ordinance.



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