Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is the purpose of the Zoning Ordinance?
    To provide Regulations with the general objective of promoting desirable living conditions and to encourage the most appropriate use of land for orderly growth and development.
  • What is a variance?
    A modification of a zoning district regulation is granted by the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA)
  • What is a Special Exception?
    Exceptions to zoning regulations are granted by the Board of Zoning Adjustment for specifically-defined situations where affects on surrounding property is of principal importance.


  • What is “Lot Area Coverage?”
    Lot Area Coverage is a specific percentage of the lot, which may be used for buildings and structures, and/or paved areas such as swimming pools, and other property features that create imperious surfaces.


  • What role does the Zoning Inspector play?
    The Zoning Inspector provides enforcement of the Zoning ordinance through investigation of alleged violations, issuance of correction notices and/or prosecution of cases to Municipal Court.
  • When are home occupations allowed?
    When a person is a full-time permanent resident of a dwelling and engages in certain types of professions under limited conditions as defined by the Zoning Ordinance.


  • What is a rooming house?
    A room or collection of rooms intended for non-resident lodging purposes available only at weekly or longer rental rates to the general public.
  • What is the subdivision process?
    Residential subdivisions are authorized to allow for the creation and subsequent development of individual building lots in residential zoning districts within the City of Atlanta.
  • What is the City of Atlanta position on alleys?
    (a) The City of Atlanta is not and shall not be responsible for the maintenance of alleys, with the exception of three alleys (sometimes referred to as “public alleys”), which have been historically maintained by the City of Atlanta. These three alleys are located in the central business district, connect major thoroughfares, are paved, and serve general transportation and public purpose. The alleys thus excepted are:

    1. Mortgage Place, N. W., from Carnegie Way to Ellis Street
    2. Equitable Place, N. E., from Auburn Avenue to Edgewood Avenue
    3. Cain Place, N. W., from International Boulevard to Harris Street. (b) The City has no interest in, and shall not be responsible for any other alley within the City limits. Public service vehicles such as garbage trucks, fire safety vehicles, or police vehicles may make use of alleys in the provision of their service. However, none of these or other historic or present uses shall constitute public ownership of, interest in, or responsibility for said alleys. (c) The City shall not maintain or improve any private alley except when the City is an abutting property owner or the alley serves as access to a City facility. (d) The Board of Zoning Adjustment is authorized to approve variances to allow access to properties via alleys in lieu of required individual driveways from public streets.

55 Trinity Avenue
3rd Floor - Suite 3900
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404.330.6150 

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