Posted: May 16, 2018
If you know that the current zoning of your property is not what is needed for your use, then there is a prescribed process for each of the jurisdictions in the Las Vegas area. Certain uses (examples: gambling, liquor sales, car sales, bars) are always required to participate in the zoning special use permit process. In the Las Vegas area there are many government groups that each have a slightly different process for use permit and or zoning approval. Typically we recommend that we take a preliminary sketch, with preliminary design information to the city planning and zoning department where the property is located. Jurisdictions that could have control over your property include: city of Las Vegas, city of Henderson, unincorporated Clark County, Boulder City, Mesquite, Pahrump. When we take the preliminary sketch to the planning and zoning department we will then find out the sub-jurisdictions that control and also the latest schedule for processing. This is not a fast process, regardless of who helps you with it. The government moves at its own pre-scheduled pace and there is often no speeding it up.
The zoning of a property is generally referred to as an “Entitlement”. Some entitlements are what use you can have, how big the building can be, how may floors a building can be, how many car parking spaces will be required and more urban planning issues.
These are the most common steps in obtaining entitlements, zoning and special use permits:
1. (Optional) It is strongly recommended that you direct us to prepare a preliminary drawing and take it to planning and zoning before purchasing, depositing money for a purchase or rental option, or signing a lease or a letter of intent.
2. Create a formal drawing or drawings to fulfill the standard requirements. For an existing building this could be fulfilled with one 24×36 page. For vacant lots this could be 10 pages, including civil engineering and building designs.
3. Submit to the planning bureaucracy to be allowed to get a first FORMAL (preliminary) appointment to discuss the project.
4. Submit the drawings and other forms for planning and zoning staff to review and make comments.
5. Revise and resubmit according to comments, if any.
6. Staff agrees to support your application and schedules it for a town board meeting.
7. Attend the town board meeting and present the project.
8. Revise and resubmit according to comments, if any.
9. Discuss with planning and zoning bureaucracy and get them to schedule your project for a planning commission hearing.
10. Attend the planning commission hearing and present the project.
11. Make any revisions required at the planning commission hearing.
12. Revise and resubmit according to comments, if any.
13. Discuss with planning and zoning bureaucracy and get them to schedule your project for a city council or county commission hearing.
14. Attend the city council or county commission hearing and present the project.
15. Revise according to comments from that meeting.
16. Now you are ready to create and submit your construction documents for building department permitting.
Some of the steps shown above will not be required for some projects. In other projects you may have to go through the same step more than once and go through other steps.
Click below to watch a video about entitlements and special use permits by a Las Vegas architect.