Board of Adjustment (B/A)
The Board of Adjustment (B/A) is established to hear and decide requests for variances from provisions of the UDC, appeals of Zoning Administrator’s interpretations, appeals by the applicant from administrative design review decisions, appeals from limited notice procedure decisions and other land use issues as provided by the UDC. The B/A serves in the capacity of a “Board of Adjustment” as provided by the Arizona Revised Statutes. See UDC section 2.2.5 for more detailed information.
Peddlers Application (PDF)
Design Development Option
The Design Development Option (DDO) was established to provide an administrative process by which specific development and dimensional standards of the UDC may be modified under certain criteria applicable to a land use within a zone. A DDO is intended to encourage the following:
1. Flexible design solutions that are within the intent of the regulation, encourage efficient use of land, do not create a nuisance on adjacent property, and address situations where strict application of a requirement may not be practical;
2. Energy conservation through site and building design;
3. Innovation in site planning and architectural design; and,
4. Enhancement of community aesthetics.
The following dimensional, screening, and landscaping standards may be considered for modification under this Section:
2. Height of accessory walls and fences when the wall and fence heights do not exceed two feet above the maximum height permitted;
3. Landscaping and screening standards when the modification does not decrease the required area in square footage of landscaping or height of a screening feature; and,
Design Review Board
General Application (PDF)
The Design Review Board (DRB) is established to review proposed buildings, structures, landscaping, architectural features, and site plans. See UDC section 2.2.6.C for more detailed information about the DRB's power and duties.
Appeals to the DRB may be made by and party of record from the following decisions by the PDSD Director:
1. Neighborhood Preservation Zone (NPZ) design review applications. An appeal under this section must be based upon an error in the Director’s decision finding compliance or noncompliance with the neighborhood specific design manual and compatibility review standards; and,
For each HPZ proposed or established, an HPZ advisory board is appointed to assist the Mayor and Council and the Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) in evaluating establishment of, or amendment to, an historic zone and in evaluating proposed development within an adopted Historic Preservation Zone. See UDC section 2.2.8 for more detailed information.
A party of record may appeal the PDSD Director’s decision to the Mayor and Council in accordance with UDC section 3.9.2, Mayor and Council Appeal Procedure. Appeals must be filed within 14 days of the effective date of the Director ’s decision. For purposes here, the parties of record are the applicant, the applicable HPZ Advisory Board, and the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission Plans Review Subcommittee.
For more information regarding Tucson's historic districts, preservation efforts and projects, please visit the City of Tucson's Historic Preservation Office website.
Infill Incentive District
The primary purpose of the Downtown Area Infill Incentive District (IID) is to encourage redevelopment in the following ways:
1. Encourage sustainable infill development that supports the creation of urban neighborhoods that are pedestrian and transit-oriented and benefits the IID, the major activity centers in the area, and the City as a whole, while promoting compatibility with existing reidential and non-residential properties and neighborhoods;
2. Address barriers to infill development in the Downtown Area Infill Incentive District (IID), such as incompatible development standards and associated development barrier issues;
3. Implement the IID purposes by offering development incentives permitting a modification of development requirements;
4. Provide for appropriate transitional design standards where the development or expansion of a use is adjacent to existing single-family residential development;
5. Protect historic structures and historic neighborhoods and existing residential neighborhoods from potential negative impacts of new development; and,
6. Consolidate the regulations and design standards that apply to downtown areas into a single ordinance by moving certain provisions of the Rio Nuevo District (RND) overlay zone, former Section 5.11, into the IID Rio Nuevo Area (RNA) and renumbering them to conform to the numbering of the IID
A Food Service establishment that is located within 300 feet of a residential zone, excluding public right-of-way, measured in a straight line from the licensed premises to the zone boundary line of R-3 or more restrictive zoning may serve alcoholic beverages upon conformance with the following conditions:
a. The applicant is required to submit a mitigation plan to the PDSD Director that will be reviewed in accordance with Section 3.3.5, 300' Notice Procedure. The mitigation plan shall specifically address noise from the use, including parking lot noise, screening of lighting from vehicle headlights and light standards on site, parking, and access to adjacent neighborhoods, but shall not address issues that are the purview of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, such as the number of liquor licenses in the area or the hours of liquor sales.
b. If the use is operated in a manner that violates the mitigation plan or conditions for permitting the use or causes adverse land use impacts, the use may be suspended or terminated in accordance with Section 10.4, Penalties and Remedies.
A Medical Marijuana Designated Caregiver Cultivation Location or Cultivation by a Designated Caregiver refers to cultivation of Medical Marijuana by a Designated Caregiver and Cardholder whose registration card indicates that the cardholder has been authorized to cultivate marijuana plants for a qualifying patient(s)’ medical use pursuant to The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, A.R.S. § 36-2804.04.A.7. (Ord. No. 10850, § 6, 11/23/10)
A Medical Marijuana Dispensary shall have the same meaning as “Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensary” set forth in The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, A.R.S. § 36-2801.11.
A Medical Marijuana Dispensary Off Site Cultivation Location means the additional location, if any, where marijuana may be cultivated for the use of a Medical Marijuana Dispensary as disclosed pursuant to The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, A.R.S. §36-2804.B.1.b.ii.
A Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient Cultivation Location shall mean cultivation of medical marijuana by a qualifying patient pursuant to The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, A.R.S. § 36-2801.1.a.ii, but shall only include a Qualifying Patient who is also a Cardholder, authorized to cultivate marijuana plants pursuant to the provisions of A.R.S. § 36-2804.02.A.3.f.
Neighborhood Preservation Zone
Neighborhood Preservation Zones (NPZs) are zoning overlays enabled by a 2008 ordinance, and are available to neighborhoods within the 1953 City limits that are designated National Register Historic Districts, or are eligible for that designation.
Design Review Process
Within Neighborhood Preservation Zones (NPZs), new construction on residential (R)-zoned properties is required to be compatible with surrounding historic residential buildings, in accordance with specific design guidelines for each NPZ, to ensure that residential infill development fits with the unique historic characters of these historic neighborhoods.
NPZ Review Application (PDF)
Preserving and enhancing Tucson’s established neighborhoods is critical to conserving the cultural and historic heritage of the City. The purposes of the Neighborhood Preservation Zone (NPZ) are:
A. To provide a process for the establishment of NPZ districts to preserve, protect and enhance the unique character and historical resources of established City neighborhoods; and,
B. To provide for the creation and establishment of a neighborhood-specific design manual for each NPZ district, containing architectural and design standards and guidelines to ensure that development is compatible with the neighborhood character overall, as well as with the character of the applicable Development Zone.
Rio Nuevo District
The purpose of this overlay zone is to implement the policies of the City’s General Plan, with special emphasis on ensuring the cultural, economic, and general welfare of the community. The RND promotes harmonious development within the district; creates and enhances the Downtown pedestrian environment; and celebrates Tucson’s rich historic, cultural, and artistic heritage. The design principles, categories, and standards referenced in this section are intended to promote public-private partnerships to support quality development within the Rio Nuevo District, as well as enliven and revitalize the Downtown. Development within the RND must comply with the required design standards in this section.
Diversity, design in context, and accessibility are the design principles that form the basis for the specific design standards to be applied to new projects in the Rio Nuevo and Downtown areas.
1. Diversity is the incorporation of all of the prehistoric, historic, and cultural elements that make up Tucson’s urban form and context. This principle forms the basis for the specific design standards, including building character and materials, that reflect the indigenous influence of the Sonoran Desert region and culture. The intent of this design principle is not to prescribe architectural style, materials, or form but to encourage innovation in contemporary design.
2. Design in Context is the recognition that Tucson is a unique desert southwestern City. New buildings should also translate into contemporary form the basic principles that contribute to historic structures and other structures in and around the Site Context - Development Zone, as well as addressing the Regional and Community Context.
3. Accessibility includes three dimensions. The first is physical mobility for pedestrians, including physically disabled pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and private cars, provided by an efficient and pleasant circulation system. The second is visual, retaining physical amenities such as viewsheds, open space, and visual connections to the mountains and the Santa Cruz River. The third is informational and educational, including access to information and ideas.
Upon request from an applicant, the PDSD Director may allow modifications to multiple development regulations for projects within the Rio Nuevo District. See UDC sections 5.11.9 for more detailed information.
Temporary Diversion of Parking
Motor vehicle parking spaces within a vehicular use area may be used temporarily for storage or display of boats, cars, recreational vehicles, semi-truck trailers, furniture, or items of any other nature, subject to all of the following conditions:
a. The vehicular use area contains more than nine spaces for motor vehicle parking;
b. If the vehicular use area contains fewer than 250 spaces, no more than 10% of the total number of vehicle parking spaces is diverted to another use;
c. The maximum period of diversion is 15 days. Additional 15 day extensions up to a maximum of 60 days per year may be granted for reasonable cause upon written request from the applicant;
d. Spaces are not diverted to another use more than once in any calendar month;
e. The spaces diverted are not designated or designed for use by the physically disabled; and,
Temporary Use Permits
Certain land uses or buildings not permitted within specific zones may be permitted on a temporary basis if authorized in accordance with Section 3.3.3, PDSD Director Approval Procedure, provided such request for a temporary use complies with the following.
For certain land uses or buildings to be permitted on a temporary basis, the land use or building shall comply with one or more of the following special circumstances.
A. The circumstances constitute a substantial hardship, such as, but not limited to, a natural disaster, e.g., fire or flood, or a government action that has resulted in damage to an existing building on the subject property.
B. A temporary building, such as a mobile or modular unit, utilized for the management or oversight of construction (e.g., contractor’s office) or occupied as a caretaker’s facility or a home for the eventual resident may be permitted during the construction of a permanent building. The temporary building shall be on the same site as the construction.
C. The temporary location of off-street parking facilities during the structural expansion or remodeling of an existing building may be permitted. Such temporary facilities do not have to comply with requirements of a permanent parking facility but shall, at a minimum, provide the following:
1. Screening from adjacent residential development. Since this is a temporary facility, screening cannot be achieved by the use of landscaping unless mature vegetation that can act as the screen exists on the site; and,
D. A temporary real estate office may be permitted during construction of a project, provided:
1. The temporary use shall be terminated one year from the date the approval was granted. Additional 12-month extensions may be granted, provided sales activity for the project continues and 10% or more of the lots or units remain unsold;
2. The temporary office building is located on a lot and complies with all zoning standards applicable to that lot;
3. The temporary office building is located in the same subdivision within which sales occur; and,
4. The temporary use or building complies with any additional conditions required by the approval authority.
E. A temporary construction equipment yard for public improvement projects involving street improvements or the placement of utilities within public rights-of-way, provided solutions are implemented to mitigate potential negative impacts to adjacent residential development. Such solutions include, but are not limited to, screening of equipment, setbacks, hours of operation, and limited or restricted use of residential streets.
F. The temporary placement of a mobile telecommunications tower facility on nonresidential property may be permitted upon the demonstration by a telecommunications provider that the facility is necessary for its operations; the facility is setback from any residentially zoned property by a distance equal to the height of the proposed tower and base; and the tower and base do not exceed 65 feet from the existing grade. The temporary use authorized by this subsection shall be approved for a period not to exceed 60 days and may be approved for one extension of time not to exceed 60 days