top of page
Subscribe Now, and never miss a post
We'll also sign you up for our awesome Newsletter! (It's easy to unsubscribe) 

Zoning Basics to Determine Zoning in Your Area

Updated: May 13

By Drew Case

Storage Authority Franchise

Every city/town has some form of guidelines for Planning & Zoning to determine how and what is built or operated in an area.  Not every zoning department is the same with how it is managed or enforced.  There are areas that are extremely strict, some that are somewhat negotiable, and everywhere in between.  It is in your best interest to understand the zoning in the area so you don’t waste valuable time and money planning for an area that may never allow for your use.  For this blog, I will focus on how to determine zoning in any given area, while understanding that every area is slightly different.  There are several steps you can follow to get the answers you are looking or to ensure you can proceed with your plan.


First, visit the website for the local municipality.  Search forTown Name Planning and Zoning” and this should take you to their local government website and you can search from there.  Look for a link to a map that determines the various zone descriptions and overlays, titled “Zoning Map”.  These maps are often color coded and/or indicated with some sort of markings, such as hash marks, cross hatching, etc..  There is always a legend that goes along with the map to help you match up the zone to the legend. 

(show pic)


Second, identify the table and descriptions of each zone.  This will appear as a spreadsheet that specifies the type of business “Self-storage/warehousing/mini-warehouse” and the relative code that is associated with the where that business type can operate (i.e. I-2, C-3, etc).  Your use may be classified as permitted or require a zone change or otherwise noted for that classification.  Zone changes are possible, but take longer and will incur expenses to have site plans drawn up for an area.  There is a chance that your request may never be approved.  Always be cautious not to buy land until your specific use is approved.  You should write specifications involving approvals in your “Letter of Intent” to the seller and seek approval during your “due diligence”. 

Lastly, you may contact the local municipality to speak with the zoning administrator about where self-storage might be permitted in the area or simply for assistance in finding the maps and tables if they elude your searches.  Technically, calling the zoning department could be the first step you do, but the administrator may not always be available when you all or there may be a delay in calling you back. Also, there have been occasions where they do not handle there own zoning and contract out the department to another city for handling. In this case, they will let you know and be sure to contact the appropriate department.

It is important to understand that all departments and all tools on the web will vary from one area to another. I have seen one area where you would type “self- storage” in the search bar for the map and it would highlight the areas permitted for self-storage, making it very simple.  However, that is rare and you will usually need to click a few things to find the link.   Sometimes it is so embedded or hidden, you may need to contact someone to have them tell you where the map is located on their web page.  I recently did a search where I had to look up each address I was interested in to submit for a review.  That was not the method I hoped to find for that area. No matter what, stay persistent in your search and verify zoning before any purchase.  You do not want to be stuck with unusable land that will not meet your goals.

For an additional blog on zoning, click the link below:

Storage Authority's guidance in self-storage development underscores the intricate balance between meeting storage demands and environmental sustainability. By aligning with Storage Authority's principles and leveraging our team's expertise, along with your engineer, architect, and general contractor we can navigate the complexities of impervious coverage with confidence, ensuring the creation of self-storage facilities that are both economically viable and environmentally responsible.

Storage Authority Franchising is all about owning your own local self-storage business, supported by professional systems and expertise. We like to say, "You're in business for yourself but not by yourself." If self-storage is on your mind, don't hesitate to reach out to Drew Case at Direct: 513-582-0125 or to learn more about the Storage Authority Franchise opportunity. Your self-storage journey awaits!

If you would like to learn more and start your journey to self-storage ownership click the link here:


Your success story begins with Storage Authority!


bottom of page