Property and Roads

Property and Roads

Citizen's Guide to the Zoning Process

The Zoning Ordinance of St. Louis County (SLCRO Chapter 1003) is the regulatory tool used to secure coordinated development within the unincorporated portions of St. Louis County. Every parcel of land in unincorporated St. Louis County has a zoning designation. The zoning district defines the types of land uses or development that are allowed within that district. Within each district, standards such as building setbacks, minimum lot area requirements, parking needs, and sign provisions are specified. This web page is intended to serve as a quick reference source for the zoning process and not a substitute for the Zoning Ordinance.


Frequently asked questions about Zoning and the Rezoning and Public Hearing process.


What is zoning?

What are the steps/timeframe involved in the public hearing and rezoning process?
Who can rezone?

How do people find out about proposed rezoning changes?

What information is available before the public hearing?

Where are the public hearings held?

What happens at the public hearing?

What can you do before the public hearing to prepare?

Who holds the public hearing for zoning changes?

Is a decision made at the public hearing?

When does the Planning Commission make a recommendation?

Who makes the final decision?

What are the requirements to request rezoning or a special procedure?

Does the zoning of property determine the tax rate?

What is zoning?

Zoning controls the development of property by controlling two aspects of land use. First, the uses permitted within a given zoning district are identified, second, the amount of building that may be developed on a parcel of land is regulated. Every parcel in unincorporated St. Louis County has a zoning classification. In general, zoning is divided into three major classifications - R Residential, C Commercial, and M Industrial. Height, lot coverage, setbacks from right-of-way and adjacent properties are specified. The zoning ordinance also specifies the amount of parking required for each use and the size and number of signs permitted. Rezoning is a change in the zoning classification of a property.
 
Parcels without a special procedure are covered by the zoning district regulations in the Zoning Ordinance for that specific district. In addition to zoning classifications, the development of some parcels are also governed by special procedures and planned districts. Special Procedures and Planned Districts have specific conditions that must be adhered to if development is to occur. A special procedure is a Planned Environment Unit (P.E.U.), a Conditional Use Permit (C.U.P.), Special Business Permit (S.B.P.), or a Commercial Industrial District Development (C.I.D.D.). A Planned District includes C-8 Planned Commercial District, MXD Mixed Use District, and M-3 Planned Industrial District.



What are the steps/timeframe involved in the public hearing and rezoning process?

  1. Application is submitted to the Department of Planning and reviewed for accuracy and completeness. For more information on the application process, please view our Citizen's Guide to the Application Process brochure.
  2. Application is accepted.
  3. Public hearing date is set (at least fifteen days prior to the public hearing).
  4. Signs are posed on the property - this may be the first information surrounding residents have regarding the pending change of zoning.
  5. Letters are mailed to property owners within 1000 feet of the proposed rezoning area notifying them of the public hearing.
  6. Public hearing is held. Usually, the Planning Commission holds public hearings on more than one zoning request at a meeting.
  7. No decision is made at the public hearing. The Planning Commission takes the matter under advisement.
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Who can rezone?

  • You must either own the property or have a contract to purchase the property contingent on the rezoning or special procedure in order to apply for a zoning change, a planned district or a special procedure.
  • In addition to "owner generated" zoning changes, the Planning Commission or the County Council can initiate proposals to rezone property. This happens fairly frequently in the case of Planned Environmental Units (P.E.U.) where the property has not been platted within the prescribed length of time and the P.E.U. has expired. Instances of County Council initiated rezoning are generally rare.
  • In a very few instances, rezoning may be initiated by either the St. Louis County Council or the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is the petitioner and a public hearing is held.
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How do people find out about proposed rezoning changes?

Approximately two weeks before the public hearing:

  • Signs are posted on the property - this may be the first information surrounding residents have regarding the pending change of zoning.
  • Postcards are mailed to property owners within 1000 feet of the proposed rezoning area notifying them of the public hearing.
  • The public hearing notice is posted on the Planning Department web site.
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What information is available before the public hearing?

I saw a sign in my neighborhood or I received a notice about a public hearing. What does this mean? What can you do if you need more information or don't understand the notice?

  • The posted property or property shown on the notice is the subject of a St. Louis County Planning Commission Public Hearing.
  • Some change in use is proposed for the property.
  • Further information can be obtained by calling 314 615 2520 or by emailing the Planning Department
  • Some commonly requested information such as who is the builder, how much are the homes going to sell for and how big will they be, what particular businesses will be located in a development, is not always included in the application packet. This information may not be available until the public hearing
  • Some of these questions will be answered at the public hearing, however, the development may be speculative and the answers are not available.
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Where are the public hearings held?

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What happens at the public hearing?

For detailed information about the public hearing procedure, view the Public Hearing Presentation Guidelines.

  • The staff greets the public prior to the meeting and is available to answer questions.
  • Handouts are available, including the rules of order for the public hearing and comments regarding the proposal from MSD, Missouri Department of Transportation, and St. Louis County Departments of Highways and Traffic, Health, and Parks and Recreation.
  • Generally, the Planning Commission holds public hearings on more than one zoning request at a meeting.
  • The Chairman reads a brief introduction explaining the rules of order, and time limits for speakers.
  • Planning Department staff shows a brief video of the property, highlighting physical aspect of the site.
  • The petitioner presents his case and answers any questions the Planning Commission may have.
  • Persons wishing to address the Commission are taken in the following order - persons in favor representing a group, individuals in favor, persons in opposition or with concern representing a group and individuals in opposition or with concern.
  • Anyone who addresses the Commission must give their name and must fill out a speaker card.
  • Only the petitioner is offered the opportunity to make a rebuttal statement and to address any questions that the speakers may have raised.
  • A hand count of persons in the audience in favor and in opposition to the request is taken. This hand count is not binding on the Commission, but it is made part of the record for purposes of the rezoning request.
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What can you do before the public hearing to prepare?

  • Call or email the Planning Department for more information. A planner is assigned to each zoning request.
  • 8 1/2 by 11 inch copies of the plan are available by fax or mail.
  • Organize your thoughts.
  • Organize speakers to make your presentation as complete as possible and to avoid repetition.
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Who holds the public hearing for zoning changes?

  • The Planning Commission holds public hearings on zoning changes and special procedures.
  • These hearings are normally held on the second or the third Monday of each month.
  • The Planning Commissioners are citizens appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. They make recommendations to the County Council regarding zoning and land use changes. There are nine members of the Planning Commission, three from municipalities and six from the unincorporated parts of St. Louis County. See the Planning Commission Membership page for information and email links.
  • The public hearing notices, Planning Commission score sheets, and letters of recommendation that the Commission has acted on are available at the Planning Commission web page.
  • The Planning Commission does not consider whether there is a need for a specific use or business or look at whether there are other sites available for a particular business. They look at whether the proposed use or zoning district is appropriate at that specific location.
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Is a decision made at the public hearing?

  • No action is taken by the Planning Commission at the public hearing.
  • The purpose of the public hearing is for the Commissioners to gather information on the request.
  • After the public hearing, the Planning Department staff prepares a report for the Commission on each rezoning or special procedure request.
  • Additional comments from the public or signatures on petitions are accepted up to the next Executive Meeting, typically the first Monday of the month.
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When does the Planning Commission make a recommendation?  

  • Once a month, generally on the first Monday of the month, the Planning Commission holds an Executive Meeting to make decisions on zoning requests.
  • This meeting is held at 6:00 p.m. in the County Council Chambers.
  • This is a public meeting, however, no additional public comment is taken at this meeting.
  • The Planning Commission decision is in most cases, a recommendation.
  • That recommendation is forwarded to the County Council for the final action on the rezoning request.
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Who makes the final decision?

Ultimately, all decisions regarding zoning districts and special procedures rest with the elected members of the County Council. Approval of any zoning change requires the Councilperson who represents that district to initiate the law changing how the land can be used. Approval by the County Council usually requires the active support of the Councilperson in whose district the use is proposed. back to questions

What are the requirements to request rezoning or a special procedure? 

  • The completed application form. For more information on the application process, please view our Citizen's Guide to the Application Process brochure.
  • Filing fee. This is based on the size of the property or in the case of a P.E.U., the number of units proposed.
  • Out-boundary survey of the property, prepared, signed, and sealed by a Registered Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer.
  • A metes and bounds legal description of the property.
  • In addition, special procedures and planned district rezoning applications must include a site plan showing the proposed building, parking and circulation, and landscaping and green space proposed on the property. Copies of this plan are available at the Planning Department and can be reproduced by the Revenue Department at an approximate cost of $5.00 per plan sheet or a reduced 8 1/2 by 11 inch version can be mailed or faxed upon request.
  • Both rezoning and special procedures require a public hearing before the Planning Commission.
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Does the zoning district determine the tax rate for a piece of property?

Please note that the rate at which a property is taxed is based on the use of the property, not on the zoning. The assessor determines what is the use of a particular piece of property.

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Contact


Department of Planning
St. Louis County Government
41 S. Central Avenue, 5th Floor
Clayton, Missouri 63105

Phone   314-615-2520
Fax  314-615-3729
planning@stlouisco.com

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