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Planning and Zoning Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is my property zoned?

Greenville County maintains a map of all zoning district designations within the county, including the city of Greenville. View the Map

Descriptions of the districts are provided in Article 19-3, Zoning Districts of the City’s Land Management Ordinance, which is Chapter 19 of the City Municipal Code. Go to the Municipal Code

What uses are allowed in my zoning classification? What are the setbacks for my property?

Article 19-4, Use Regulations includes Table 19-4.1.2, Table of Uses, which outlines the various categories and specific land uses that are permitted within the zoning districts. This article also includes additional information that further describes the various land uses and provides standards for specific uses (regulations beyond those applying to all other uses). Go to the Municipal Code

Am I allowed to operate a business from my home?

Yes, provided you obtain a Home Occupation Permit and comply with its conditions. These conditions, listed on the Home Occupation application form, are designed to maintain the residential character of the building and the surrounding neighborhood.

What are Accessory Uses?

There are two types of uses regulated by the Land Management Ordinance - Principal and Accessory. Principal Uses are specified in Table 19-4.1.2, Table of Uses described in the previous question. Accessory Uses are customarily associated with the Principal Use but are secondary in nature and scope. Section 19-4.4, Accessory Uses and Structures defines Accessory Uses and addresses the regulations affecting their location and dimensional requirements. Go to the Municipal Code

The most common Accessory Uses include storage sheds, detached garages and home occupations. Sheds and detached garages may be located nearer to rear property lines than the dwelling otherwise could be located (5 feet instead of 15 feet), provided the height of the shed or garage does not exceed 20 feet (measured at the midpoint of the roofline). Permits are required to locate and build sheds and garages.

Home occupations such as a business office are permissible provided the use complies with the criteria established in Section 19-4.4.3(C), Home Occupations, which limit the location of the use; the amount of space devoted to the use; the number of non-resident employees; the operational aspects of the business (relating to the display and sale of merchandise, outdoor storage and alteration of the residential character of the premises); signs and parking. Business licenses and permits are required to establish home occupations.

What are the setback and other dimensional criteria for the various zoning districts?

Article 19-5, Dimensional Standards and Measurements includes Table 19-5.1-1, Table of Dimensional Standards, which describes the minimum lot sizes, widths and setbacks as well as the maximum lot coverage and building heights within the zoning districts. Go to the Municipal Code There are numerous provisions affecting the location and setback of Principal and Accessory Uses; the table must be read in the context of the applicable footnotes and the provisions of the following Section 19-5.2, Definitions / Measurement.

What are the development and design standards affecting the development and use of property?

Article 19-6, Development and Design Standards is composed of 10 subsections which describe the requirements for off-street parking and loading; landscaping, buffering and screening; tree protection; exterior lighting; design standards and guidelines for nonresidential development; signs; site development and related infrastructure; design principles and standards for multifamily residential development; building numbering and traffic impact analysis. Go to the Municipal Code


The two most common questions about parking relate to the amount of parking (number of off-street spaces) required to accommodate a proposed land use and whether required parking may be shared with another use. Table 19-6.1-1, Off-Street Parking Requirements Schedule A reflects the minimum and maximum number of off-street parking spaces required to accommodate the listed uses; however, no off-street parking is required for land uses located within the Central Business District (C-4) and Preservation Overlay District (PO). In addition to the table, Section 19-6.1, Off-Street Parking and Loading provides minimum standards for off-street parking, one of which is the permissibility of sharing parking facilities subject to space availability and certain legal agreements between property owners.

Landscaping, Buffering and Screening

The City of Greenville strives to enhance the appearance and compatibility of all land development. To that end, the Land Management Ordinance (see adjacent tab) provides specific guidelines for the installation and maintenance of landscaping, buffering and screening. Section 19-6.2, Landscaping, Buffering, and Screening requires the submission of a landscape plan with most site (re)development applications, including parking facilities. Landscaping including trees and shrubs is required along streets, within parking lots, surrounding areas of high visual impact (loading areas, outdoor storage areas, dumpsters, etc.) and between dissimilar land uses.

Tree Protection

Standards for tree protection and replacement are enumerated in the Land Management Ordinance (see adjacent tab). Section 19-6.3, Tree Protection requires the submission of a tree inventory with most site (re)development applications. Plans are required to maintain a prescribed tree density and to protect significant individual and stands of trees.

Exterior Lighting

Standards for exterior lighting are enumerated in the Land Management Ordinance (see adjacent tab). Section 19-6.4, Exterior Lighting enumerates design guidelines as well as specific standards to be met so that light pollution does not adversely affect adjacent properties or streets while providing for the public safety.

Nonresidential Development

The City of Greenville strives to enhance the quality of nonresidential development and its compatibility with adjacent residential neighborhoods and land uses. To that end, the Land Management Ordinance (see adjacent tab) provides design standards and guidelines for nonresidential development. Section 19-6.5, Design Standards and Guidelines for Nonresidential Development requires that most commercial and industrial uses conform to development standards that address building entrances; facades (including rooflines, materials, colors, etc.) and heights. The standards also address fence materials, pedestrian access and parking lot location and design.


The City of Greenville regulates signs to ensure public safety, to protect property values, to maintain the visual attractiveness of the city and its environment and to promote the economic well-being of the community. Section 19-6.6, Sign Regulations establishes standards for permanent and temporary signs, signs that are exempt from permits, and signs that are prohibited. More information about signs

Site and Infrastructure

The City of Greenville has adopted general design principles that apply to all land development. Section 19-6.7, Site Development and Related Infrastructure (Go to the Municipal Code), in tandem with the Design and Specifications Manual provide the criteria for the design and construction of public and private streets, stormwater management systems, water and sanitary sewerage systems and fire protection.

Multi-Family Residential Development

The City of Greenville has adopted design principles and standards for multifamily residential development. Section 19-6.8, Design Principles and Standards for Multifamily Residential Development (see adjacent tab entitled Land Management Ordinance) applies to all (re)development consisting of three or more dwellings located outside of the Central Business District (C-4) and Planned Development District (PD), wherein the specific district includes multifamily residential design standards. These standards address site design matters as well as architectural aspects of proposed multifamily developments.

Building Numbering

Section 19-6.9, Building Numbering requires that all buildings be numbered to reflect the address assigned by the City to that location. Go to the Municipal Code

Traffic Impact Analysis

Section 19-6.10, Traffic Impact Analysis requires the submission of a traffic impact analysis for all new development projected to generate 100 or more vehicle trips during the peak hour and all redevelopment projected to generate 125 or more vehicle trips during the peak hour. Improvements to existing infrastructure may be required to maintain the prescribed level of service. Go to the Municipal Code

How do I apply for a permit to establish or modify a land use?

The City of Greenville’s central permit processing office is on the 4th floor of City Hall, located at 206 South Main Street. Permit applications are available there, as well as on the Land Management Administrative Manual. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the City’s planning staff prior to completing and submitting an application. More information on Building Permits and Forms

What are the requirements for installing a fence?

Fence installations do not require permits; however, fence locations and heights must comply with provisions established in Table 19-5.2-1, Features Allowed Within Required Setbacks. Fences may be installed on property lines; however, their height and opacity (light obscuring quality) is limited. Fences within side and rear yards may be opaque (solid) to a height of 7 feet; above that height, fences may be semi-opaque. Fences within front yards may be opaque to a height of only 30 inches. A "yard" is defined as the lot area between the building and the lot line.

Is my property located within a flood-prone area and does the City have regulations for stormwater control?

The Engineering Division maintains maps depicting the locations of flood-prone areas within the city; Section 19-7, Stormwater Management (Go to the Municipal Code) regulates the location and elevation of all structures proposed to be located within the designated flood zones. In addition, all proposed development must comply with standards regulating the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff.

Is my property located within an historic district (Preservation Overlay District) or other design review district?

The City of Greenville has designated seven Preservation Overlay Districts: Colonel Elias Earle District, East Park Avenue District, Hampton-Pinckney District, Heritage District, Pettigru District, Overbrook District and West End District. Additionally, properties that are zoned Central Business District (C-4) require design review. Section 19-2.3.4, Preservation Overlay Districts enumerates the process and standards for establishing new historic districts.

Changes to the exterior of properties located within one of the historic districts must comply with Design Guidelines for Preservation Overlay Districts, available by clicking here. Changes to the exterior of properties located in the C-4 district must comply with Design Guidelines for the Central Business District, available by clicking here. The City of Greenville requires submission of an Application for Certificate of Appropriateness to ensure that changes to historic properties are compatible with the architecture of the building and age of the district. Section 19-2.3.8, Certificate of Appropriateness (see adjacent tab entitled Land Management Ordinance) enumerates the process for obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness and standards for an unreasonable hardship exemption.

Minor modifications to buildings (i.e. color change, re-roofing, small additions, site work and landscaping) may be reviewed by the City’s Planning & Development Department staff. There is no public notice required for staff reviewed applications. Applications for major modifications, new buildings and demolition of buildings must be reviewed by the City’s Design Review Board (DRB). The DRB meets on a monthly basis and applications must be filed according to the board’s schedule in order to comply with public notice requirements. View the DRB meeting schedule

If you are planning a modification to your property or constructing a new building, the Planning & Development Department staff and DRB members are available to provide informal review comments. These are intended to help guide you toward compliance with design guidelines during the design process. Contact the Planning & Development Department at 864-467-4476 to schedule a time to discuss your project.

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Michael Kerski
Planning and Development Manager

Bryan Wood, AICP
Zoning Administrator

Nathalie Schmidt, AICP
Development Planner

Abbie Rickoff
Development Planner

Kim Jones
Zoning Officer

John Hamlett
Zoning Code Enforcement Officer

Marie McClendon

206 S. Main Street
5th Floor
Greenville, SC 29601

Telephone: 864-467-4476