What is Zoning?

What is Zoning?

The city promotes orderly growth and land use while protecting existing property owners by grouping together compatible development — a practice known as zoning.

Before land is developed in the city, it must be zoned and platted. Property in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) is subject to platting only. The Zoning Commission reviews all zoning requests to provide recommendation for City Council, who will approve or deny the request. 

The Zoning regulations and districts have been adopted in accordance with a  Comprehensive Plan and have been designed to:

  • Lessen traffic congestion
  • Provide safety from fire, panic, and other dangers
  • Provide adequate light and air
  • Prevent the overcrowding of land
  • Avoid the undue concentration of population
  • Provide and facilitate adequate provisions for transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements.


Everything to know about Fort Worth Zoning in TWO MINUTES! - YouTube


The Zoning Change Process


1. Owner Initiated Zoning Changes

Property owners may initiate a rezoning request at any time by filing an application with the Development Services Department. If you have questions concerning the future land use designation of your property or on the appropriate zoning district for which to apply, please contact the Development Services Department Zoning Staff by calling 817-392-8028.  

2. City Initiated Zoning Changes

Petition-Based Zoning Changes

The City Council adopted a policy whereby the City – at the request of affected property owners – could initiate changes in zoning that are consistent with the future land uses in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Under these procedures, the City will initiate a zoning change after receiving a valid petition signed by property owners representing 50 percent or more of the parcels to be rezoned and 50 percent or more of the land area to be rezoned. 

Council Initiated Zoning Changes

From time to time, Council members may request that the City Manager prepare a Mayor and Council communication (M&C) authorizing the City Manager to initiate one or more specific zoning changes. Planning Staff verifies that the proposed changes are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, accompanies the City Council member at an informational meeting held in or near the area to be considered for rezoning, and briefs the full City Council on the proposed zoning changes at an appropriate City Council Work Session. If the City Council indicates that it wishes to initiate the proposed zoning changes, then the City Manager places an appropriate M&C on the next regular City Council agenda. After the City Council approves the M&C, City staff prepares an appropriate rezoning application and schedules the case for the next available Zoning Commission public hearing. 

Meet (Optional)

  • A Pre-Development conference is available to discuss all aspects of a project including, but not limited to, zoning. 


  • Submit a complete application with all required information and attachments by the deadline.


  • Zoning Staff sends courtesy notices to all neighborhood organizations registered with the City that are located within ½ mile of the subject area. 
  • If you are in a neighborhood that does not have an organization or your organization is not registered, contact the Community Engagement Office.
  • Zoning staff sends legal notices to landowners within 300 feet of property to be rezoned.


  • A public hearing is held at the Zoning Commission Hearing. The Zoning Commission only provides a recommendation to City Council.
  • City Council holds a public hearing the following month for approval or denial of the Zoning Change request.


When the City Council has denied a proposal, or when the applicant has withdrawn the proposal at the Zoning Commission meeting after the giving of public notice, no new applications of like nature shall be accepted by the City or scheduled for hearing by the Zoning Commission within a period of twelve (12) months of the date of Council denial or applicant’s withdrawal. 


Board of Adjustment | Variances

Zoning Variances

The Board of Adjustment is responsible for the hearing and deciding of appeals to the Zoning Ordinance and applications listed below, and has the necessary authority to ensure compliance.

Due to case load, the cases are divided into Residential(PDF, 26MB) and Commercial(PDF, 18MB) (non-residential) boards.


Applications for a variance may be filed by the owner of property or an authorized agent, by the Planning and Development Department upon recommendation of the Zoning Commission, Plan Commission, Board of Adjustment or City Council. Application may be filed at City Hall, Lower Level, Northeast Corner or electronically to BoardofAdjustment@fortworthtexas.gov

Criteria Regulating Variance Requests

Section 3.403 of the Zoning Ordinance establishes five evaluation criteria for consideration by the Board when reviewing and deciding upon requested variances to the Zoning Ordinance. The applicant is encouraged to be prepared to respond to these criteria:

  1. Will literal enforcement of the ordinance result in a hardship or practical difficulty?
  2. Is the “hardship” self-imposed?
  3. Is the condition unique to the property, or is it common to other properties within the area?
  4. Will the requested Variance injure the adjacent property?
  5. Will the requested variance be contrary to orderly development in the area?

Applicant’s Responsibility

Applicants are responsible for the presentation of their case before the Board, and to provide support information to include, but not limited to the following items.

  • Surrounding land use supporting the request.
  • Description of the “Hardship(s)” that necessitate the request.
  • Reason(s) for appearing before the Board (i.e. Code Violation, Citizen Complaint, Building Inspector noted permit violation, etc.)
  • Reasons why the Board should grant the applicant’s request.
  • More information concerning the process may be found in the application.

The applicant, or authorized agent, must be present at the hearing to present one’s appeal. Otherwise, the board may deny the case. The Planning & Development Department will mail a hearing notice to all property owners within 300 feet of the application site, not less than ten days prior to the date of the hearing.

Filing Fees

  • Residential (Owner-Occupied) Variance $300.00*
  • Non-Residential Variance $500.00*
  • Residential (Owner-Occupied) Special Exception $500.00*
  • Non-Residential Special Exception $1,000.00*
  • Interpretations $400.00

Note: Fees are non-refundable after legal notices are mailed * Plus $150 for each additional variance within the same application.



Multi-Family Development

A multi-family development permit (MFD) is required for all multi-family projects within CR, C and D zoning districts.  The applicable zoning standards for these projects can be found in their respective zoning districts within the Zoning Ordinance. 

All Mixed Use (MU) and Urban Residential (UR) projects are exempt from this requirement. 

For application information, click on the link below.

Multi-Family District (MFD)



Zoning Check Summary


Click here to use the CFW Permit Assist Zoning Tool