City of White Oak

Planning & Zoning Amendments


 ZONING AMENDMENTS


Merriam-Webster defines zone as "an area that is different from other areas in a particular way" and "one of the sections in a city or town that is used for a particular purpose." A comprehensive zoning ordinance then is the tool used by cities to divide the city into sections or districts prescribing regulations specific to each zone. Chapter 211 of the Texas Local Government Code states the purpose of zoning is to promote "the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare" and protect and preserve "places and areas of historical, cultural, or architectural importance and significance." Chapter 211 gives cities the ability to regulate:

    • The height, number of stories, and size of buildings and other structures;
    • The percentage of a lot that may be occupied;
    • The size of yards, courts, and other open spaces;
    • Population density;
    • The location and use of buildings, other structures, and land for business, industrial, residential, or other purposes; and
    • The pumping, extraction, and use of groundwater by persons other than retail public utilities, as defined by Section 13.002, Water Code, for the purpose of preventing the use or contact with groundwater that presents an actual or potential threat to human health.

As an advisory board to the White Oak City Council, the White Oak Planning & Zoning Commission is responsible for making recommendations regarding amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, changes of zoning, and shall make recommendations regarding the approval of plats and subdivisions as may be submitted to it for review and other planning related matters.

The current Zoning Ordinance was approved and adopted in 2009. The ordinance classifies uses of land into zones of commercial, residential, and industrial districts. Unless given a specific use provision, all property must adhere to the zoning category in which the property is located. Procedures that govern proposals for changes to zoning standards and rezoning are included in the ordinance. This Zoning Quick Reference Guide provides a table of the requirements for each zoning district, such as allowable uses, minimum lot sizes, and setbacks. The Guide is not intended to be comprehensive; therefore, always refer to the specific Zoning District Regulations. Section 26 of the Zoning Ordinance is the Use Regulation Chart. It is helpful to the user by designating what type of use is allowable or requires a SUP in each zoning district.

Zoning Application Categories
There are three types of zoning applications and each must be signed by the property owner accompanied by the respective filing fee when submitted.

  • The Zoning Amendment Application is to amend the Zoning Ordinance and to change the Zoning District Map of the City of White Oak.
  • The Specific Use Provision Application is to allow certain uses within base zoning districts that, under most circumstances, would not be compatible with other permitted uses but with certain conditions and development restrictions may be compatible.
  • The Site Plan Application is used to get approval for any new development or construction in the following zoning districts and uses:
    • All multi-family residential districts and uses with proposed developments of two (2) or more dwelling units;
    • All manufactured home districts and mobile home parks;
    • All non-residential districts and uses having one (1) or more acre of land area, and/or twenty thousand (20,000) square feet of building (i.e., floor) area.

There are special exceptions to the Zoning Ordinance called specific use provisions "SUP" (or permits). Each SUP is considered by the P&Z Board on an individual basis and specially approved by the City Council for situational suitability. When the P&Z Board considers a SUP application, the following items are taken into consideration:

  1. The use is harmonious and compatible with surrounding existing uses or proposed uses;
  2. The activities requested by the applicant are normally associated with the permitted uses in the base district;
  3. The nature of the use is reasonable;
  4. Any negative impact on the surrounding area has been mitigated; and/or
  5. That any additional conditions specified ensure that the intent of the district purposes are being upheld.
Application Timelines
When an application and filing fee is received for either a zoning amendment or a specific use permit, a timeline is initiated. Property owners within 200 feet of the property to receive the change is notified by U.S. mail at least ten (10) days before the first public hearing, which is held at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. The Notice for a Public Hearing must be legally advertised in the White Oak Independent newspaper. Once the Commission makes a decision, it is placed on the next City Council meeting agenda along with the second public hearing. The City Council has the right to approve or not to approve the Commission's recommendation on the application. If the application is denied, the applicant will receive a letter with the reason for the denial.

ZONING VARIANCES


The Board of Adjustments is allowed to:

  • Reverse an order, requirement, decision or determination of an administrative official
  • Decide in favor of an application on a matter on which the Board is required to review under the Zoning Ordinance
  • Authorize a variance from the terms of the Zoning Ordinance
  • Grant special exceptions, as permitted in the Zoning Ordinance under §10.6; Variances.

 

Variance Definition

The Sixth Edition of Black's Law Dictionary defines a zoning variance as an "authorization to a property owner to depart from literal requirements of zoning regulations in utilization of his property in cases in which strict enforcement of the zoning regulations would cause undue hardship."

 

Conditions Required for Variance

A variance can only be granted if an unnecessary hardship exists. In order to grant a variance, the Board must make written findings that an undue hardship exists, using the following criteria:
  1. That literal enforcement of the controls will create an unnecessary hardship or practical difficulty in the development of the affected property; and
  2. That the situation causing the hardship or difficulty is neither self-imposed nor generally affecting all or most properties in the same zoning district; and
  3. That the relief sought will not injure the permitted use of adjacent conforming property; and
  4. That the granting of a variance will be in harmony with the spirit and purpose of these regulations.

 

The Board of Adjustments must find:
  1. That there are special circumstances or conditions affecting the land involved such that the strict application of the provisions of this Ordinance would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of his/her land; and
  2. That the variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the applicant; and
  3. That the granting of the variance will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, or injurious to other property within the area; and
  4. That the granting of the variance will not have the effect or preventing the orderly use of other land within the area in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance.

 

ALL DECISIONS OF THE ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS ARE FINAL AND BINDING. The Board may impose such conditions, limitations and safeguards as it deems appropriate upon the granting of any variance. An applicant may only appeal a decision of the Board of Adjustments with a writ of certiorari to state district court, county court, or a county court at law.

 

Application Process

To apply for a variance, a Request for Zoning Ordinance Variance must be submitted accompanied by a $150 filing fee and any supporting documentation for your case. When these items are submitted, a specific timeline is initiated. Property owners within 200 feet of the property to receive the variance is notified by U.S. mail at least ten (10) days before the first public hearing, which is held at the Board of Adjustments meeting. The Notice for a Public Hearing must be legally advertised in the White Oak Independent newspaper.

City of White Oak, Texas

Contact Information

City of White Oak
906 S. White Oak Road
White Oak, TX 75693

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Monday - Friday
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info@cityofwhiteoak.com