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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Zoning?

    New York State’s zoning enabling statutes give cities, towns, and villages the power to enact local zoning laws. Zoning is a set of land use regulations that set forth limits related to how property can be utilized with respect to use, density, height, and open space, among other elements. The City of Syracuse has 31 zoning districts, which each have their own set of regulations.

    Learn more at: Zoning Ordinances

    What is the Office of Zoning Administration?

    The Office of Zoning Administration provides staff to the Syracuse Planning Commission and the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals. The staff offers assistance to various governmental agencies as well as the public. The Syracuse Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board, and Zoning Administrator review proposals and render zoning decisions.

        City Hall Commons 
        201 East Washington Street, Room 500 
        Syracuse, NY 13202 
        Phone: (315) 448-8640 
        Fax: (315) 448-8621

        Zoning Staff Directory 

    How is property zoned?

    Zoning districts within the City of Syracuse have been established for various land uses such as Residential, Office, Local Business, Commercial, and Industrial. The Zoning Atlas illustrates the particular zoning districts, and provides a link to the zoning regulations that apply specifically to that district. Historic and architecturally significant properties are also identified on the zoning atlas as overlays to the established zoning districts.

        Zoning Atlas

    When do I need zoning approval?

    Commercial construction and renovation projects usually trigger some form of zoning approval, and certain residential projects may as well. The review depends on the proposed use of the property and any alterations that may be involved in the project. Residential zoning districts permit less intense uses, such as a single-family dwelling, while other zoning districts permit more intense uses such as retail or light industrial establishments. Some reviews involve public hearings or referral to other applicable departments.

    Learn more at: 
        Do I Need a Permit or Zoning Review? 
        Zoning Reviews

    How long does it take to get zoning approval?

    Typically, smaller projects and projects that fully comply with the applicable zoning regulations can be reviewed more quickly than large, complex projects, or proposals that do not comply with the applicable zoning regulations. Other factors can affect the review time, such as prior actions affecting the property, referrals to other departments or agencies, or projects affecting properties located within historic districts or those listed on the Syracuse Historic Property List.

        Flowchart of Zoning Reviews & Approval Paths

    What is a public hearing?

    Some types of zoning actions require a public hearing, which allows the public to voice their support or opposition to a proposal. The Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals holds public hearings to review requests for variances, and the Syracuse Planning Commission holds public hearings to review special permits and resubdivisions, among other zoning actions. Unless otherwise noted, all Public Hearings are held in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall, 233 East Washington Street, 3rd floor.

        Flowchart of Zoning Reviews & Approval Paths

    How do I apply for zoning approval?

    Zoning applications can be found in fillable .pdf form on the city’s website. It is highly recommended applicants consult with the Zoning Office to determine the appropriate review path before submitting an application.



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Syracuse, NY 13202
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