Ask 2: Does Houston have zoning?
At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.
The question: Does Houston have zoning?
No, Houston doesn’t have a zoning code dictating who can build what where, making it the largest U.S. city without zoning.
And the City of Houston is pretty forthright about it on its website: "The city of Houston does not have zoning but development is governed by codes that address how property can be subdivided. The City codes do not address land use."
It’s unclear why Houston never embraced zoning. Houston voters rejected formal land use regulations in 1948, 1962, and in 1993.
But just because Houston hasn’t adopted a zoning code doesn’t mean the the fourth largest U.S. city is a development free-for-all.
The city does have several land use rules and other restrictions regulating development, including rules that police construction near the city’s airports, set minimum lot sizes and require developments to provide sufficient off-street parking, to name a few.
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