The Planning Department is responsible for reviewing all development applications for areas within the City and its two-mile extra-territorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ). This includes applications for changes of zone, subdivisions, special use permits, conditional use permits, street and alley vacations, redevelopment plans, and text amendments to either the Zoning Ordinance or the Subdivision Regulations. The Department is also responsible for flood plain management—ensuring that all local, state and federal regulations are followed when development is proposed within the 100-year flood plain.
Each year the Planning Department reviews the financial status of Sanitary and Improvement Districts (SID’s) within the City’s jurisdiction to determine which may be feasible for annexation. The last major annexation, completed in 2008, resulted in the annexation of eleven SID’s and added more than 5,000 residents to the City and increased the City’s property tax base by more than $315 million. The Department also reviews unincorporated areas of the county adjacent to the City for possible annexation.
The Planning Department also plays a role in the issuance of building permits. All building permit applications—for both residential and commercial construction—are reviewed by the Planning Department for compliance with the City’s design standards as well as other applicable zoning regulations, including landscaping, parking, and setback requirements. Additionally, all sign permits are approved through the Planning Department.