What is the Zoning Code?

Introduction to Understanding Zoning & the Zoning Code

The Flagstaff Zoning Code is most commonly related to the planning, development, growth, preservation and conservation of land within the City. How public and private land is managed affect all residents, business owners, and visitors within the City. In addition to other elements, a less commonly known result of zoning is its effects on our experiences and perceptions of the city.

View videos on what is the Zoning Code, including: how to look up a property's Zoning Codes designation and regulations, and a detailed overview of the components of the Zoning Code:

Zoning Code & Map

The Zoning Code is one set of laws that have been adopted by the Flagstaff City Council as part of the Flagstaff City Code (the "City Code") that regulate the use and development of land within the city. For the common good of the community, these laws are intended to protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people living, working, doing business and visiting within the city. 

Also, the Zoning Code is one of the primary tools in achieving the City's Goals and Policies to be a sustainable and resilient community by assisting in the mitigation of the impacts on the environment, land uses, police and fire, transportation, and water resources. An efficient and effective Zoning Code assists in contributing to social and economic equity, and the City's financial health.

Zoning Code Parts

The Zoning Code contains three primary parts, these include that Zoning Map, the Zoning Regulations (also referred to as the "Code" or the "Requirements"), and the Conditions of Approval.

Zoning Map 

To achieve the purposes of the Zoning Code, all of the land within the City is divided into different areas or "zones." The location of these zones have been adopted by the Flagstaff City Council as part of City Code. The Zoning Map shows the precise location and boundary of each zone. 

Typically, the boundaries of each zone are associated with the location of the street right-of-way, private street tracks, and lot lines. There are situations where a lot may be split into two or more zones.


There are six major categories into which the Zoning Code's zones are consolidate. These are:

  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Overlays
  • Public and Open Space
  • Residential
  • Transect

Each of the referenced categories contain several zones. For example, the Residential category contains seven residential zones, and the Commercial category contains five commercial zones. 

The purpose of establishing the different zones within each categories is to provide for a variety of different land uses and intensity, to assist in mitigating the effects of the uses and intensity of a zone on the properties in another zone, and to provide the appropriate locations for compatible and non-compatible land uses and intensities.


The Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Public and Open Space, and Transect categories, and the Overlay category may, vary in intensity and indirect intensity. Generally, intensity refers to the number of dwelling units per acre or building type, the ratio of building floor area compared to the lot size (also known as Floor Area Ratio (FAR)), and the types of uses that each zone allows. 

Indirect intensity generally includes the zone's allowed building height, open space or landscape area requirements, the amount area that a building may cover on a lot (also known as lot coverage), building setbacks from a lot line, and the traffic, noise, or pollutants that a use may generate.

Overlay Zones

Overlay zones may include additional regulations that are specific to an area that the overlay zone is applied. Also, these provisions typically include historic preservation, environmental conservation and/or protections, and building and site design considerations.

View the Zoning Map.

Zoning Regulations

The Zoning Regulations are the actual written provisions of the Zoning Code. These regulations serve two primary functions, which are the administration and the requirements of Zoning Code.


The administrative regulations include a variety of provisions that pertain to the Zoning Code's:

  • Administration
  • Enforcement
  • Implementation
  • Interpretation
  • Organization

In addition, the regulations include community involvement, infrastructure and permitting requirements, definitions, and the process and decision criteria pertaining to development applications:

  • Conditional Use Permits
  • Site plans
  • Variance
  • Zoning Map Amendments
  • Zoning Text Amendments


The requirements of the Zoning Code include three primary elements. These elements are the Land Uses and Lot Development Standards for each zone, and Conditions of Approval.

Land Uses

The Zoning Code is a permissive set of land use regulations in that all land uses are allowed in at least one of the zones within the City. The types of land uses are classified as:

  • Accessory Uses: Is a subordinate use that is clearly incidental or customarily to the primary use of land on the same lot or parcel.
  • Conditional Uses: Discretionary uses that required the approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) by the Planning and Zoning Commission, or City Council as may be applicable. In order to obtain an approval of a Conditional Use Permits, the lot owner, or their agent, shall demonstrate, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, or City Council as may be applicable, shall demonstrate that the required criteria of the specific CUP have been met. The criteria are typically intended to mitigate negative impacts that the use may have on nearby uses and properties. A CUP may be approved, denied, revocated, or limited to a specific period of time.
  • Permitted Uses: Uses that are allowed on a lot without additional City of Flagstaff approvals.
  • Temporary Uses: These uses are not intended to be permanent, may be transitional in nature, emergency situations, construction activities, seasonal sales, short period outdoors activities that typically occur indoors, and other temporary uses.

Lot Development Standards

The lot development standards include requirements for:

    • Building and wall heights Minimum and maximum lot sizes
    • Density (number of dwelling units) Minimum and maximum lot sizes
    • Design standards Number of stories of a building
    • Environmental resources Open and civic space
    • Floor Area Ratio (FAR) (intensity) Screening
    • Historic Preservation Setbacks from lot lines
    • Incentives Signage
    • Landscaping Parking (vehicle and bicycle) spaces
    • Lighting Use specific development standards

Conditions of Approval

Conditions of Approval are additional requirements that the City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and/or city staff adds to a lot owner's request for a city planning approval. Typically, Conditions of Approval may be added to a Zoning Map Amendment, Conditional Use Permit, Variance, Site Plan, or other similar applications. A lot owner, and in some situations, a tenant, is required to comply with the Conditions of Approval in addition the Zoning Regulations.