Planning and Zoning FAQ



  1. How do I find how my property is zoned?
  2. How can I determine how my property can be used?
  3. What are my building setbacks?
  4. What is a variance?
  5. Can I subdivide my property?
  6. What is the process for plat approval?
  7. How do I apply for a zoning district change?

  1. How do I find how my property is zoned?Top
    Contact Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff by phone (706-876-2533) or email (jgarland@whitfieldcountyga.com) and provide staff with either an address or a Tax Parcel Number. Staff can then provide the current zoning classification for the property. You can also view the county zoning map and access Tax Parcel information at Public GIS Information to determine the zoning classification for properties in the unincorporated area of Whitfield County and the City of Varnell. Zoning maps for the cities of Cohutta, Dalton, and Tunnel Hill are not currently available online.

  2. How can I determine how my property can be used?Top

    Review the Unified Zoning Ordinance at Link to Unified Zoning Ordinance  
    Refer to the Permitted Use Table at the end of the Unified Zoning Ordinance for a listing of the uses permitted in each specific zoning district.  In addition, the codes will note restrictions on location of buildings on a lot, maximum height of buildings, minimum lot size allowed, allowable density of development, and requirements for parking and signage.


  3. What are my building setbacks?Top

    The setback requirement varies depending upon your zoning classification, road adjacency, and in some cases, the specific zoning conditions imposed during a public hearing process.  To find out your generic setbacks, please refer to the Unified Zoning Ordinance (Chart 3-7) or contact the Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff by email (jgarland@whitfieldcountyga.com) or by phone at 706-876-2533.  Please provide staff with either an address or Tax Parcel Number.


  4. What is a variance? Top

    A variance is the authority to depart from the application of areas, side yard, setback, height, and similar regulations to prevent unnecessary hardships.  The Unified Board of Zoning Appeals may authorize a variance from these regulations when, in its opinion, undue hardship will result from requiring compliance with the Unified Zoning Ordinance specific to the respective jurisdiction.  Variances may be granted only when the following requirements have been satisfied:
    (a)     There are extraordinary and exceptional conditions pertaining to the particular piece of property in question because of its size, shape, or topography;
    (b)    The application of this Ordinance to the particular piece of property would create an unnecessary hardship;
    (c)     Such conditions are peculiar to the particular piece of property involved;
    (d)    Relief, if granted, would not cause substantial detriment to the public good or impair the purposes and intent of this Ordinance, provided, however, that no variance may be granted for the use of land or building or structure which is prohibited by this Ordinance.
    (e)     The applicant provides either formal or informal written evidence that the intended use, if a variance were granted, would be allowed, either by the Whitfield County Health Department or Dalton Utilities, as applicable, with respect to wastewater treatment.

    Board of Zoning Appeals Variance Application.

  5. Can I subdivide my property?Top

    In most cases, in order to subdivide property, you must go through a platting process.  Exemptions to the platting process are very limited.  Currently, in the unincorporated area of Whitfield County, three options exist for the subdivision of land: (a) exempt subdivision or (b) minor subdivision or (c) major subdivision.  Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff can help you determine which option is best for your situation.
    Exempt Subdivision – Defined as any division of a lot or parcel in which one or more of the following conditions are satisfied:
    (a)    A division between beneficiaries in connection with a pending estate administration in Probate Court;
    (b)    The sale of all portions of an existing lot to one or more adjoining landowners;
    (c)    The sale of a portion of an existing lot to an adjoining landowner provided the remainder donor parcel is not less than 3 acres;
    (d)    The acquisition of right-of-way by any governmental unit.   
    Minor Subdivision – Defined as any division of a lot or parcel into 2 or more lots or parcels and which does not require any new or improved road.
    Major Subdivision – Defined as any division of a lot or parcel into 2 or more lots or parcel which is not classified as either Exempt or Minor.


    Whitfield County Subdivision Regulations


    The City of Dalton requires all divisions of property into two or more lots be subject to plat review by the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission. Exceptions to this requirement are as follows:
    (1)   The combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to the standards set forth in these regulations.
    (2)   The division of land into parcels of five acres or more where no new street is involved.
    (3)   The transfer of property by the owner to a member of the immediate family to include within the fifth degree as established by the legal definition.
    (4)   The transfer of un-subdivided land or the transfer of a lot of parcel of land established by deed or plat recorded in the office of the clerk of superior court prior to the effective date of these regulations.
    (5)   The division of land among heirs by judicial decree.


    City of Dalton Subdivision Regulations

  6. What is the process for plat approval?Top

    For all final subdivision plats which are eligible for administrative approval:
    (1)    The land surveyor is encouraged to provide an electronic copy of the survey for review by Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff.
    (2)    After the review is completed, signatures may be required from specific agencies.  If so, plat copies are distributed by the applicant to the Health Department, Dalton Utilities (or appropriate utility), Fire Department, and/or the Public Works Department for approval and signature.
    (3)    Once all agency signatures are obtained, signed plat copies should be transported back to Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff for the final recording signature.  A review fee will be collected at this time, and any remaining signed copies will be returned to the applicant.
    (4)    Two plat copies with the final recording signature along with a disc containing the final plat pdf should be delivered to the Whitfield County Clerk of Superior Court for recording. 
    (5)    If property is to be conveyed to another party, a deed should be composed, witnessed and notarized, and delivered to the Whitfield County Clerk of Superior Court for recording.
    For all final subdivision plats which require approval from the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission:
    (1)    The land surveyor is encouraged to provide an electronic copy of the survey for review by Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff.
    (2)    After the review is completed, signatures may be required from specific agencies.  If so, plat copies are distributed by the applicant to the Health Department, Dalton Utilities (or appropriate utility), Fire Department, and/or the Public Works Department for approval and signature.
    (3)    Once all agency signatures are obtained, signed plat copies should be transported back to Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff for a scheduled review by the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission.  If the subdivision of property is approved by the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission, the final recording signature will be placed on the final plat copies and the approval process will be complete.  A review fee will be collected at this time, and any remaining signed copies will be returned to the applicant.
    (4)    Two plat copies with the final recording signature along with a disc containing the final plat pdf should be delivered to the Whitfield County Clerk of Superior Court for recording. 
    (5)    If property is to be conveyed to another party, a deed should be composed, witnessed and notarized, and delivered to the Whitfield County Clerk of Superior Court for recording.


  7. How do I apply for a zoning district change?Top

    A request to change a zoning district is called rezoning.  The applicant for rezoning is encouraged to discuss their proposed development plan with Dalton-Whitfield Zoning staff and/or Northwest Georgia Regional Commission planning staff.  The applicant for rezoning will be required to submit a rezoning application along with other documents deemed necessary by the zoning or planning staff to complete the rezoning request packet.

    A person may not file a rezoning application on someone else’s property unless he or she has signed legal authorization from the property owner.

    The likelihood of successfully changing the zoning designation of a site varies greatly.  The primary considerations are the compatibility of the proposed change with surrounding uses and compatibility with the goals and objectives and policies of the area’s Comprehensive Plan.

    The filing fee for a basic rezoning is $200.00.  The fees are not refundable if the application is withdrawn or denied.

    During the rezoning process, the planning staff will conduct a land use survey of the area noting all case pertinent facts.  The planning staff will provide the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission with a written report indicating the staff recommendation on the rezoning request.  A public hearing for the specific rezoning request is conducted by the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission.  Prior to the public hearing, notice of the public hearing is published in the local newspaper, and abutting property owners of the subject property for the proposed rezoning request are notified by mail.  The applicable governing authority (i.e. Board of Commissioners or Dalton City Council or the Varnell City Council) will review the recommendation of the Dalton-Whitfield Planning Commission before making a final zoning decision.
    Unified Rezoning Application