The Entitlements section reviews and processes applications for land use changes that require discretionary approval, typically either from the Mayor and Council or the Zoning Examiner.
Application Process and Standards
All applications should be submitted via Tucson Development Center Online.
The first step for a rezoning, plan amendment, or special exception land use request is to schedule a pre-application conference.
For most applications, the next step is to notice and hold a neighborhood meeting.
Additional notice is required prior to a Public Hearing
More information on each Entitlements application type, including application requirements, is decribed below.
A rezoning is a public process that changes the zoning of a particular property or group of properties. A change in zoning will typically affect the uses allowed, the density of a residential development, or the intensity of a commercial development. A rezoning can be reqested to change to a standard zoning district or to establish a Planned Area Development (PAD). A PAD is a zoning option that allows greater flexibility in uses and development than standard zones.
The application and review process for rezonings, Planned Area Developments, and original city zoning is described in section 3.5 of the Unified Development Code.
For more information or to discuss your project, please contact Entitlements staff at
Application requirements and an overview of the process can be found here:
Special exception land uses are uses which are not allowed by right within a zone but are permitted if approved through an established review procedure. There are four types of Special Exception approval processes: PDSD Director Approval; PDSD Director Approval with public notice; Zoning Examiner approval; or Mayor and Council approval. The type of Special Exception process is specified in the Unified Development Code based on the zone and proposed use.
The majority of Special Exceptions in Tucson involve wireless communication facilities (cell towers).
NOTE: The Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) shall stop processing unnecessary Director’s Decisions Letters for previously approved special exceptions that have not undergone a substantial change. As of June 22, 2018, applicants are no longer required to apply for a Director’s Decision Letter for equipment swap outs where there is no overall increase in the existing height of the Wireless Communication Facility – measured Above Ground Level (AGL,) or from the ground surface to the highest point of the entire structure (reference to Section 6.4.4.B.1 of the UDC). The height is cumulative from the most recent Director’s Decision or Special Exception.
Revised PDSD Policy for WCF Director's Decision Letter for Equipment Swap-outs
Applicants that fall under this threshold shall submit their building plans directly to PDSD with appropriate documentation of the previously approved special exception.
Effective November 1, 2016, appropriate fee of $800 for the following applications:
- PDSD Director’s Approval Procedure Special Exception for Wireless Communication Facilities – Expedited Review, Five (5) Working Days
- 6409 Wireless Communications Facilities Modifications and/or Co-Location Applications
More information about small cell poles in the right-of-way
Rezoning proposals must conform to the General Plan (Plan Tucson) and applicable Specific Plans (e.g. Area or Neighborhood Plans). If the proposal does not conform to plan policy, a plan amendment may be proposed to address the issue. The Planning Commission holds a public hearing on Plan Amendment and makes a recommendation to Mayor and Council, who make the final decision. An applicant also has the option to submit applications for a plan amendment and rezoning concurrently.