Zoning Verifications & Determinations

Zoning Determination requests cover several items and may take a few forms. These requests are generally seeking an official determination from the Department of Safety and Permits regarding the official zoning designation of a property, classification of a specific use, completion of a zoning verification form for an outside government agency, or a determination related to a specific zoning regulation for a property. All these items are covered in more detail below.

General Zoning Determination Request

As of May 17, 2023, all Zoning Verification (ZV) requests require a processing fee of $100 and Non-Conforming Use requests require a processing fee of $200. Once all fees are paid the application will be processed in the order received.   

Zoning Verifications pertaining to Established Multi-family are not assessed a fee at this time. 

General zoning verification requests cover most of the zoning verification requests made to the Department. These requests cover the following:

  • An official determination of the zoning of a particular property
  • Determination of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) classification of a specific use (requires a use description)
  • Zoning verification for an outside government agency, like the Louisiana Housing Corporation or Used Motor Vehicle Commission (please provide their form and any information that may be required to complete the form)

For these general requests, please provide in writing the specific information you would like to have included in the request - otherwise, the zoning verification letter will only include the base zoning district, overlay district(s), and historic district(s).

How to Apply

Please apply for the Zoning Determination on the One Stop website.

Debulking Request

A debulking request is a request to the Orleans Parish Tax Assessor when there are multiple lots under one tax bill, and the property owner wants to "debulk" the lots into separate tax bills. To debulk a property, the owner needs approval from the Zoning Division to verify that the separate lots comply with the CZO and Zoning Memo Z-21-01. To request a debulking, the following items are required:

  • A recent survey with the setbacks of all existing structures on the lots
  • The current and proposed use of the lots (including number of dwelling units, if residential)
  • Approval of the Building Division will be required if there are any structures within 3 feet of a property line

Established Two or Multi-Family Dwellings

An Established Two- or Multi-Family Dwelling is defined as a residence with a legal history of two-family or multi-family use that is authorized to operate as a two-family or a multi-family residence in districts that typically do not allow those uses. The Zoning Division is required to confirm that the structure meets the standards in CZO 20.3.W.

Established two- or multi-family dwellings are only permitted uses for up to four dwelling units per lot, and only in certain zoning districts (as indicated with either "P" or "P/C" in the Use Table for that zoning district). To find the zoning for a particular property, you can go to the New Orleans Property Viewer.

Applicants must document the total number of dwelling units and the legal history of those dwelling units. Documenting current or recent occupancy is typically not required. Several documents are accepted - here are some of the most common documents used to support a history of two- or multi-family use:

  • A narrative that addresses the number of dwelling units with a time line detailing the periods of use and vacancy of the subject property
  • Most recent leases and/or rent receipts for tenants to demonstrate the number of units
  • Utility bills or records that indicate the number of accounts and/or dwelling units (Entergy and Sewerage and Water Board)
  • A floor plan of the building indicating the use of each room
  • Interior and exterior photographs of the structure documenting the dwelling units and number of gas and/or electric meters
  • Notarized affidavit(s) from the property owner, tenants, neighbors, or anyone else with knowledge of the property, indicating the number of dwelling units

This list of document types is not meant to be exhaustive. The Department will evaluate any evidence submitted.

Providing this information as part of an application for review does not guarantee that the Department will approve the request. Safety and Permits may require additional documentation to supplement the information described above, and the Department will verify the provided information against the City's records. The Department may request that the property be made available for inspection.

Grandfathered Parking Determination

In accordance with CZO 22.2.E, structures may be grandfathered the deficiency of vehicle parking spaces of the immediate previous legal use. These grandfathered parking spaces can be used to meet the parking requirement of the future use of the structure. The Zoning Division can issue a Zoning Verification letter to identify any grandfathered parking spaces. The following items are required:

  • A site plan including the location of any current off-street parking spaces on the lot, or within 300 feet
  • Floor plans indicating the floor area of the most recent legal use of the structure
  • A calculation of the grandfathered parking

Review Process

Once an application is received, the Zoning Division will review the documents that have been submitted and provide a verification letter to the applicant. Zoning Verification requests are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Review times vary based on volume and staffing, but typically take 4-8 weeks.

Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Director of Safety and Permits with respect to the application of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance may be appealed to the Board of Zoning Adjustments within 45 days of the decision.