A Guide to the Zoning Process
The Zoning Ordinance establishes districts throughout the City that specify how properties and buildings are to 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. Also, the 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 adopted zoning regulations in 1945. This original ordinance was repealed and the current zoning ordinance was adopted in 1979.The ordinance establishes the following use districts:
Zoning Ordinance Chapter 138
|District ||Name ||Summary of Permitted Uses |
|A-O ||Agricultural & Open Space ||Farming, ranching, related & accessory uses; 1 single family dwelling or mobile home on parcels of 5 ac. or more; |
|R-1 ||Single Family Residential |
|1 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 ||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 ||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 ||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 ||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 ||1 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 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 ||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 ||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 ||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 ||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 ||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 ||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 |
|Full McAllen Zoning Ordinance |
Zoning Map Disclaimer: ZONING DISTRICTS ARE UPDATED AFTER EVERY CITY COMMISSION MEETING. EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY, CORRECTNESS, AND TIMELINESS OF THE DATA PRESENTED WITHIN THESE PAGES. CONSULT THE CITY OF MCALLEN PLANNING DEPARTMENT REGARDING QUESTIONS OF ZONING MAP INFORMATION. A ZONING VERIFICATION LETTER MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT, CALL (956) 681-1250.
McAllen Zoning Ordinance
City of McAllen Zoning Map
In Texas, state legislation enables a city to regulate land uses for the benefit of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public. State law requires that the zoning regulations be in accordance with a comprehensive plan that:
- lessens traffic congestion,
- provides safety from fire and other dangers,
- promotes the general health and welfare,
- provides adequate light and air,
- prevents overcrowding of land,
- avoids excessive concentration of population, and
- facilitates the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewers, schools, parks and other public improvements.
The first comprehensive plan for the City of McAllen was prepared by A. E. Wood and included within the City Charter on January 31, 1927. The current comprehensive plan was adopted by ordinance on December 10, 2007 and is referred to as Foresight McAllen Comprehensive Plan. The comprehensive plan is used as a guide by the Planning staff in recommending changes to the zoning map.
Foresight McAllen Comprehensive Plan (31 MB)
Future Land Use and Thoroughfare Plan
Planning & Zoning Commission
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) is appointed by the City Commission to conduct public hearings and make recommendations on rezoning requests. The P & Z recommendation is based upon the Planning staff report and testimony presented at the public hearing by the applicant and adjacent property owners. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
Nonconforming Uses & Structures
A use that is not permitted within a zoning district, but has been in continued use since effective date of zoning regulations, is a nonconforming use. A structure that does not comply with the zoning restrictions on setbacks, width, height, area or lot coverage; but was constructed prior to effective date of zoning regulation is a nonconforming structure.
What can YOU do with nonconforming uses
Nonconforming uses or structures may not be enlarged or altered in a manner that increases its nonconformity. Abandonment, removal or destruction of 50% of a nonconforming structure eliminates the nonconforming use status.
Zoning Board of Adjustment
The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBOA) may grant a special exception to permit a nonconforming use to be reconstructed or occupied by a similar use; or reduce the required parking spaces. Also, the Board may grant a variance to zoning restrictions in cases of unnecessary hardship and when the intent of the ordinance is upheld. Applications for a hearing before the ZBOA are available in the Planning Department. ZBOA meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
- Zoning Application
The process for requesting a zoning change is:
- 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 $225.00 processing fee, owner authorization and property survey and metes and bounds for unsubdivided properties.
EXAMPLE -- METES AND BOUNDS -- EXAMPLE
[To be submitted with rezoning application]
Being a 2.0 acre tract of land out of the south 7.0 acres of Lot 2B, Happy Subdivision according to the map recorded in Volume 1, Page 17 and 42 Map Records of Contentment County, Texas said tract more particularly described by metes and bounds as follows:
Beginning at a point at the Southeast corner of Lot 2B, Happy Subdivision according to the map recorded in Volume 1, Page 17 and 42 Map Records of Hidalgo County, Texas;
Thence, with the South line of Lot 2B, North 81 degrees, 18 minutes, 50 seconds West 420.50 feet to a point on the south lot line of Lot 198 for the southwest corner of said tract;
Thence, North 8 degrees, 41 minutes, East 207.20 feet for the northwest corner of said tract;
Thence, South 81 degrees 18 minutes, 50 seconds East a distance of 420.50 feet to a point of intersection with the east line of Lot 2B being the centerline of Happy Road for the northeast corner of this herein described tract;
Thence, South 8 degrees, 41 minutes West 207.20 feet with the east line of Lot 2B to the southeast corner of Lot 2B to the Place of Beginning, containing 2.00 acres more or less.
- Planning staff notifies all property owners within 200 feet of proposed rezoning and post a sign 10 days prior to public hearing and advertises notice in newspaper 15 days prior to hearing.
- Planning staff conducts field survey and reviews rezoning request with Foresight McAllen Comprehensive Plan. Staff recommendation is mailed to applicant prior to 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 request.
- City Commission conducts the second public hearing to consider P & Z recommendation and approves or disapproves rezoning request.
Should the P & Z Commission or the property owners of 20% of the area within the 200 foot radius of the proposed zone change oppose the request, a 3/4ths vote of the City Commission is required to approve the rezoning.
Applications may be withdrawn by the applicant at any time, upon written request to the city. An applicant may wish to withdraw an application since requests for rezoning may not be heard for six months upon disapproval.