What is Zoning?
Zoning establishes districts throughout the city that specify how land and buildings can be used. The purpose of zoning districts is to separate incompatible uses in order to reduce conflicts between property owners, protect property values and promote the general welfare and development of the city.
What does Zoning Regulate?
The zoning ordinance sets minimum lot width, building setbacks and lot sizes; and maximum building height and lot coverage that serve to regulate density and protect the community from overcrowding.
McAllen first adopted zoning regulations in 1945. This ordinance was repealed in 1979 when the current zoning ordinance was adopted.
Zoning Ordinance Chapter 138 District Name Summary of Permitted Uses
A-O Agricultural & Open Space allows farming, ranching, related & accessory uses; 1 single family dwelling or mobile home on parcels of 5 ac. or more;
R-1 Single Family Residential allows one single-family dwelling per lot, & accessory uses; Maids’ quarters; Public & private directional signs, official signs, political signs or real estate signs; Portable buildings or storage buildings used as an accessory to the residential use and not for living quarters; Parking facilities associated with uses permitted within R-1, R-2 or R3-T zoning districts
R-2 Duplex-Fourplex Residential allows all uses listed as permitted uses in the R-1 district; Duplex-fourplex; Duplex-fourplex townhouses; Duplex-fourplex condominiums; Parking facilities associated with uses permitted within R-1, R-2, R3-T, R3-A or R3-C zoning districts; All signs permitted in the R-1 single-family residential district, and nameplates
R-3A Multifamily Residential Apartment allows all uses listed as permitted uses in the R-2 district; Apartment buildings with 5 or more units; Storage buildings not used for living quarters & accessory to the residential use.
R-3C Multifamily Residential Condominium allows all uses listed as permitted uses in the R-2 district; Condominiums buildings with 5 or more units; Storage buildings not used for living quarters & accessory to the residential use
R-3T Multifamily Residential Townhouse allows all uses listed as permitted uses in the R-2 district; Townhouse buildings with 5 or more attached townhouses; Storage buildings not used for living quarters & accessory to the residential use
R-4 Mobile Home & Modular Home allows one mobile home or modular home per lot or park space approved for a mobile home or modular home, 1 recreational vehicle per lot or park space approved for a recreational vehicle, 1 single-family dwelling per lot in compliance with R-1 single-family residential district requirements in section 138-176 et seq.; 1 portable building or storage building not used for living quarters and accessory to the residential use; Accessory buildings to mobile home/recreational vehicle parks or subdivisions; Associated recreation to mobile home/recreational vehicle parks or subdivisions; Commercial facilities designed primarily for the occupants of mobile home/recreational vehicle parks or subdivisions; etc.
C-1 Office Building Office allows buildings for professional services, medical services and financial services; Personal services such as beauty parlors, barbershops, day care centers, nursing homes, funeral homes and other similar or related uses; Accessory uses customarily related to a use permitted in subsections (1) through (4) of this section, such as a pharmacy, medical supply, or optical company within a medical office complex; or cafeteria or restaurant within a professional office complex for the convenience of the occupants and clients; Parking facilities associated with uses permitted within any residential, C-1, C-2 or C-3 zoning districts, etc.
C-2 Neighborhood Commercial allows retail businesses that sell products on the premises to consumers primarily from adjacent residential areas, such as convenience stores, neighborhood meat or produce markets, bakeries, ice cream stores, florists and gift stores, pharmacies; Personal services which perform services on the premises such as repair shops, tailor shops, beauty parlors or barbershops, photographic studios, day care centers, and similar uses but not including automotive parts or repair services; Laundromats, laundry/drycleaning pickup stations, and laundry/dry cleaning establishments dealing with consumers ; Loan companies, insurance and real estate offices; Medical offices for general practice physicians, dentists, chiropractors, and other similar nonspecialized medical professionals; Parking facilities associated with uses permitted within any residential, C-1, C-2 or C-3 zoning districts; On-premises signs, including those that are animated or illuminated; All signs permitted in C-1 office building district
C-3L Light Commercial allows all uses listed as permitted uses in the C-1, C-2, excluding gasoline service stations or retail outlets where gasoline products are sold; Retail businesses that sell products such as: candy, nuts and confectioneries, bakeries or tortillerias, ice cream stores, specialized food products, apparel and accessories, computer hardware and software, records, tape and compact diskettes, musical instruments, drug and proprietary goods, household furniture and electronics, miscellaneous shopping goods (sic 594), products from miscellaneous retail stores (sic 599) and similar or related uses; Restaurants which do not derive more than 25 percent of the gross income from the sale of alcoholic beverages; On-premise signs, including those that are animated or illuminated; All signs permitted in the C-1 office building district; Household goods warehousing and storage in individually rented storage units
C-3 General Business allows all uses listed as permitted uses in C-1 and C-2 zoning districts; Any retail businesses, personal services or business services. Household goods warehousing and storage in individually rented storage units; Hospitals; Hotels, motels; Restaurants, eating places; Printing, publishing and allied products manufacturing; Rail and motor vehicle transportation passenger terminals; Telephone, telegraph, television, radio or similar media stations, centers, studios, but not including public microwave, radio and television towers; Any wholesale trade or wholesale trade accessory to any permitted retail operation except the following: raw cotton, grain, hide, skins and raw furs, tobacco, wool, mohair, livestock, commercial or industrial machinery or supplies, metals and minerals, petroleum bulk stations and terminals, scrap or junk waste materials; Signs in accordance with adopted ordinances; Automotive repair as an accessory use to a permitted retail use, such as retail sale of automobiles or retail sale of automobile parts
C-4 Commercial Industrial allows all uses listed as permitted in the C-3 district; Automotive repair and service as a primary use, including auto paint and body work as a primary use; Lumberyards or contractor yards, farm equipment or other heavy equipment sales and service, farm products warehousing and storage, general warehousing and storage; Motor vehicle transportation freight terminals; Any wholesale trade or wholesale trade accessory use to any permitted retail operation including the following: raw cotton, grain, hide, skins and raw furs, tobacco, wool, mohair, livestock, commercial or industrial machinery or supplies, metals and minerals, petroleum bulk stations and terminals, scrap or junk waste materials; Those uses of a commercial retail or wholesale nature requiring large outdoor loading areas, generating heavy truck or rail traffic and requiring access to major transportation channels and/or creating influences not acceptable in the C-3 district; Accessory structures and uses customarily incident to the above permitted uses, including the residence for night watchmen or caretakers employed on the premises; Signs in accordance with Chapter 130
I-1 Light Industrial allows any of the following uses when the manufacturing, compounding or processing or reprocessing is conducted wholly within a completely enclosed building and provided that the portion of the land used for open storage facilities for materials or equipment used in the manufacturing, compounding or processing shall be totally obscured by a wall on those sides abutting R-1 through R-4, C-1 and C-2 zoning districts
I-2 Heavy Industrial allows all uses listed as permitted in the I-1 light industrial district, provided that the manufacturing, compounding or processing or reprocessing is conducted wholly within a completely enclosed building and that the portion of land used for open storage facilities for materials or equipment used in the manufacturing, compounding or processing shall be totally obscured by a wall on those sides abutting R-1 through R-4, C-1 and C-2 zoning districts; Any use not previously listed in this article, subject to any and all provisions of all ordinances relating to the use of property within the city
Where Can I Find Out More About Zoning?
Uses permitted within each district are listed in the zoning ordinance which may be explained at the Planning Department or viewed on the internet at www.municode.com. The zoning map may be viewed at www.mcallen.net
Process for Requesting a Zoning Change
Meet with the planning staff to discuss the proposed use of the property and appropriate zoning district request.
Complete “Application for a Zone Change” and file with the Planning Department 21 days prior to a P. & Z. meeting. The application must include the processing fee, owner authorization, property survey or a metes and bounds description for un-subdivided properties.
Planning staff notifies all property owners within 200 feet of the proposed rezoning 10 days prior to hearing and advertises notice in newspaper 15 days prior to hearing.
Planning staff conducts field survey and reviews rezoning request with the Foresight McAllen Comprehensive Plan. Staff recommendation is mailed to applicant prior to the hearing.
P. & Z. conducts the first public hearing to present the staff recommendation and record neighborhood and applicant comments. P. & Z. makes recommendation to City Commission on rezoning requests.
City Commission conducts the second public hearing to consider P. & Z. recommendation and approves or disapproves rezoning request.
Should the P. & Z. Commission or 20% of the property owners within the 200 foot radius of the proposed zone change oppose the request, a 3/4 vote (super-majority) of the City Commission is required to approve the rezoning. The applicant may request a hearing before the full Board of Commissioners.
The applicant may withdraw applications at any time. No zoning change application may be considered on the same parcel more than once in any six-month period of time unless otherwise approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Non-conforming Uses and Structures Constructed Prior to Zoning Regulations
A use that is not permitted within a zoning district, but has been in continued use, is a non-conforming use.A structure that does not comply with the zoning restrictions on setbacks, width, height, area or lot coverage, but was constructed prior to zoning regulations is a non-conforming structure.
Non-conforming uses or structures may not be enlarged or altered in a manner that increases its non-conformity.Abandonment, removal or destruction of 50% of a non-conforming structure eliminates the non-conforming status of the structure.