The zoning ordinance restricts land uses to areas where they do not conflict with each other; in particular, to protect residential neighborhoods from noisier, busier commercial and industrial uses. Penalties for zoning violations are assessed by a judge and may include fines of up to $2,000 per day, which if necessary may be secured by a property lien.
The following are some of the most common violations of the zoning ordinance:
Though some businesses can blend easily into a residential setting, others generate increased traffic, noise and other nuisances that affect neighbors’ enjoyment of their homes. In order to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood, a business conducted from the owner’s primary residence (home occupation) must remain subordinate to the property’s use as a residence.
Home occupation regulations are described in the Home Occupations brochure (pdf) and ordinance Part III Section 2-93. For specific inquiries contact the Code Enforcement Office directly at 512-341-3329.
A few guidelines:
- No merchandise may be sold directly from the premises.
- All employees must reside on the premises.
- Licensed in-home day care is permitted for up to 6 children.
- Some homeowners associations (HOAs) do not permit home occupations at all; if you have an HOA contact them directly.
The following are strictly prohibited in residential neighborhoods:
- Commercial repair or storage of appliances, automobiles or engines
- Storing equipment or materials in public view
- Parking vehicles with a gross weight over 17,000 pounds
The sale of personal belongings from one’s residence is permitted once every six months. More frequent sales constitute a resale shop. Signs/flyers may not be posted in the right of way, on street lights or other public property (see illegal signs, below). The City recommends advertising with a sign on your own property, or in a local newspaper, newsletter or online notice board such as Craigslist.
Signs that are unrelated to traffic control or safety are not permitted in the public right-of-way (roads, sidewalks, and areas adjacent to roads belonging to the city), and may not be posted on public facilities (e.g. utility poles, traffic signs, and mail boxes). These signs create hazards by distracting drivers, and public property is not to be used as free advertising space. The Code Enforcement division confiscates roughly 6,000 signs from the right of way each year. Please use other means of advertising, such as local newspapers, newsletters or online notice board such as Craigslist, etc.
In the front or side yard of a residential lot, vehicles (cars, campers, boats, etc.) must be parked on an improved (paved) driveway, or an improved surface attached to the driveway. In the back yard, if vehicles are not parked on an improved (paved) driveway, they must be screened by a 6-foot tall wall, fence, or vegetation.
Unsecured swimming pools can be life-threatening to children and expose the homeowner to considerable liability. Be sure that all swimming pool gates latch securely, and that the fence is in good repair. For more details, refer to the Standard Swimming Pool Code, or contact Building Permits & Inspections at 512-218-5550.
If you live in an area with a homeowners association (HOA) it may have adopted deed restrictions that are more strict than city ordinances, such as aesthetic controls. Deed restrictions are private contracts and are not enforced by the City – you must contact your homeowners’ association.