Indian River County Florida
 
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

General Zoning Questions

  1. What is zoning and why do I need to know the zoning of my property?
  2. What is the difference between a Future Land Use Map and a Zoning Map?
  3. What types of uses are allowed on my property?
  4. Can I build within an easement?
  5. Definitions and Acronyms

Residential Questions

  1. Is my lot buildable?
  2. What permits are needed to build a single family home?
  3. What are the setback requirements for a house?
  4. Where can I locate my septic tank and drainfield?
  5. Can I build an addition onto my house?
  6. What are the County’s regulations for sheds, barns and garages?
  7. Where can I locate a driveway on my property?
  8. What are the requirements for fences?
  9. Can I construct a single-family dock or pier?
  10. Where can I park my Recreational Vehicle?
  11. I own coastal property, how does this limit what I can do with my property?
  12. I own property along a river, how does this limit what I can do with my property?

Lot Split & Recombination Questions

  1. Can I split my lot?
  2. Can I split two previously joined lots?
  3. Can I transfer ownership of part of my property to an adjacent owner?

Tree and Wetland Questions

  1. Are there wetlands on my property?
  2. Can I clear my land and remove trees?

Road Questions
  1. How can I get my county road paved?

Model Homes, Sales Office, and Open Houses

  1. What is a Model Home?
  2. What is a Sales Office?
  3. What is an Open House?

General Zoning Questions

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1.   What is zoning and why do I need to know the zoning of my property?
  • Each property has two designations.  One is the land use designation, while the other is the zoning designation.  It is important to know the zoning of your property because the zoning determines what you may build on your property and what uses are allowed on your property.  Below, there is more information regarding land use designations and zoning districts.

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2.   What is the difference between a Future Land Use Map and a Zoning Map?

The Indian River County Future Land Use Map is part of the county’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on February 13, 1990, and has since been amended.  The Future Land Use Map controls the overall development pattern of the county.  As such, the purpose of the future land use map is to ensure the efficient use of land and infrastructure, and protect the county’s natural, economic, social, and cultural resources.  The Future Land Use Map also ensures that adjacent land uses are compatible with one another and that land use densities and intensities relate to the availability of services and facilities.  For more information, please see the Future Land Use Element of the comprehensive plan.  The Future Land Use Map contains the following land use designations.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY FUTURE LAND USE MAP DESIGNATIONS

Land Use

Maximum Density

AG-1: Agricultural - 1                                                           

1 unit/5 acres

AG-2: Agricultural - 2                                                           

1 unit/10 acres

AG-3: Agricultural - 3                                                                                   

1 unit/20 acres

R: Rural Residential                                                                          

1 unit/acre

L-1: Low-Density Residential - 1                             

3 units/acre

L-2: Low-Density Residential - 2                                         

6 units/acre

M-1: Medium-Density Residential - 1                                  

8 units/acre

M-2: Medium Density Residential - 2                                   

10 units/acre

C-1: Conservation - 1                                                            

0

C-2: Conservation - 2                                                            

1 unit/40 acres

C-3: Conservation - 3                                                            

1 unit/2.5 acres

Rec: Recreational                                                                  

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Pub: Public                                                                            

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C/I: Commercial/Industrial                                                    

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RC: Regional Commercial

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BCID: Blue Cypress Improvement District

10 units/acre

T: Transitional Residential

1 unit/acre (3 units/acre for PD projects)

In order to implement the comprehensive plan, the unincorporated area of Indian River County is divided into various zoning districts.  These zoning districts have been established to regulate the use of land, water, buildings, and structures.  Additionally, the zoning districts regulate the height and bulk of buildings, the areas of yards and open space (setbacks), and the intensity of land use (see the links and various zoning districts under frequently asked questions number eight).  For more information, see Chapter 911, Zoning, of the County Land Development Regulations.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
ZONING DISTRICTS

District

Maximum Density

AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DISTRICTS

 

A-1: Agricultural-1 District

up to 1 unit/5 acres

A-2: Agricultural-2 District

up to 1 unit/10 acres

A-3: Agricultural-3 District

up to 1 unit/20 acres

RFD: Rural Fringe Development District

up to 1 unit/2.5 acres

RS-1: Single-Family Residential District

up to 1 unit/acre

RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS

 

RS-2: Single-Family Residential District

up to 2 units/acre

RS-3: Single-Family Residential District

up to 3 units/acre

RS-6: Single-Family Residential District

up to 6 units/acre

RT-6: Two-Family Residential District

up to 6 units/acre

RM-3: Multiple-Family Residential District

up to 3 units/acre

RM-4: Multiple-Family Residential District

up to 4 units/acre

RM-6: Multiple-Family Residential District

up to 6 units/acre

RM-8: Multiple-Family Residential District

up to 8 units/acre

RM-10: Multiple-Family Residential District

up to 10 units/acre

RMH-6: Mobile Home Residential District

up to 6 units/acre

RMH-8: Mobile Home Residential District

up to 8 units/acre

   

COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS

 

OCR: Office, Commercial, & Residential District

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MED: Medical District

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CN: Neighborhood Commercial District

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CL: Limited Commercial District

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CG: General Commercial District

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CH: Heavy Commercial District

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PRO: Professional Office District

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INDUSTRIAL DISTRICTS

 

IL: Light Industrial District

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IG: General Industrial District

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SPECIAL PURPOSE DISTRICTS

 

CRVP: Commercial Recreational Vehicle Park District

up to 14 units/acre

R-BCID: Blue Cypress Improvement District

up to 10 units/acre

ROSE-4: Roseland Residential District

up to 4 units/acre

AIR-1: Airfield/Residential District

corresponds to the underlying land use designation

PD: Planned Development District

   

CONSERVATION DISTRICTS

 

CON-1: Public Lands Conservation District

Zero (0) Density

CON-2: Estuarine Wetlands Conservation District

up to 1 unit/40 acres

CON-3: St. Sebastian River Xeric Scrub Conservation District

up to 1 unit/2.5 acres

Chapter 911, Zoning, of the County Land Development Regulations (LDRs)  provides specific size and dimension criteria and indicates allowable uses for each zoning district.  Allowed uses in each district are classified as permitted uses, administrative permit uses, or special exception uses.  For uses classified as administrative permit uses or special exception uses, additional criteria established in Chapter 971, Specific Land Use Criteria, of the county LDRs must be satisfied prior to establishment of the use.

While the future land use map establishes major categories of uses and corresponding maximum allowable densities, the underlying zoning districts more directly regulate density/intensity, allowable uses, and housing types.  Because land use designations are general in nature and applied over broad areas, one or more zoning districts may be consistent with each land use designation; however, not all zoning districts which are consistent with or allowed under a land use designation are appropriate for all sites within that designation. 

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3.         What types of uses are allowed on my property?

  • Once you have determined the zoning of your property, (see frequently asked questions 1) refer to the following:
      • For agricultural and rural districts, see section 911.06.4
      • For single-family residential districts, see section 911.07.4
      • For multiple-family residential districts, see section 911.08.4
      • For mobile home districts, see section 911.09.4
      • For commercial districts, see section 911.10.4
      • For industrial districts, see section 911.11.4
      • For conservation districts, see section 911.12.4
      • For special districts, see section 911.13
      • For planned development districts, see section 911.14.2

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4.   Can I build within an easement?

    • Generally, building within easements is not permitted.
    • Objects that are easily movable such as a fence may be built within an easement if a declaration of covenant is obtained through the code enforcement section of the community development department.
    • In order to build a permanent structure within an easement, one must obtain a release of easement from code enforcement.
    • See Sections: 917.06(12).f,  911.15(2) and 912.07(2)
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5.   Definitions and Acronyms:

      • Easement: The right of a person, governmental agency, or public or private utility to use a specified portion of public or private land owned by another for a specific purpose. There are many different types of easements; these include: access, utilities, drainage, buffering, and others
      • Non-conforming: A use or a site-related characteristic of a property that does not satisfy current county standards, as established in these county land development regulations.
      • Protected Tree: any tree 4 inches or more in diameter, but not including invasive exotic trees or “specimen trees.” Cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) with 10 feet or more of clear trunk are protected trees.
      • Specimen Tree: based on species and diameter-at-breast-height (dbh), they include:
      • Public right of way: any county street, road, alley, or highway or public easement acquired by the county or the public by purchase, gift, devise, dedication, prescription, or otherwise within the unincorporated areas of Indian River County, and those roads and easements under the jurisdiction of the county within municipalities located in Indian River County.
      • Riparian Side Yard Setback: a setback pertaining to waterfront structures and associated uses equaling the distance of the required side yard setback of a given property, measured from the riparian lot line.
Large trees, >12” dbh

Bursera simaruba – gumbo limbo
Liquidambar styraciflua - sweetgum

Nyssa spp. – sour gum, tupelo

Quercus virginiana live oak

Quercus hemisphaerica – laurel oak
Quercus laurifolia – diamond leaf oak
Quercus nigra – water oak
Taxodium spp. – cypress

Medium trees, >9” dbh

Acer spp – maple
Celtis laevigata – sugarberry
Persea boronia – red bay
Gordonia lasianthus – loblolly bay
Magnolia virginiana – sweetbay

Ilex spp. – holly

Morus rubra – red mulberry
Persea palustris – swamp bay
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis – Hercules club

Small trees, >5” dbh

Bumelia tenax – tough bumelia
Carya floridana – scrub hickory
Coccoloba uvifera - seagrape
Eugenia spp. –stopper
Forestiera segregata – Florida privet

Myrcianthes fragrans var. simpsonii – Simpson stopper
Quercus chapmanii – Chapman oak
Quercus geminata – Sand live oak
Quercus myrtifolia – myrtle oak

Zanthoxylum fagara – wild lime

Residential Questions

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6.   Is my lot buildable?
  • All lots in recorded subdivisions are “buildable”.  In order for a meets and bounds property to be deemed “buildable”, it must first be determined whether the lot was created legally or not.  If the lot was not created legally, then one will not be able to build on that lot.  To determine if your lot was created legally, you must know the date that your lot was created.  A lot may have been split only once after July 23rd 1983 for it to be deemed buildable.  Any newly created lot(s) also must comply with all zoning district requirements. Please refer to frequently asked question number eight for those requirements.  
  • If your lot is in a recorded subdivision but does not comply with current zoning regulations, you still may build on that lot.  See the planner of the day for assistance.
  • See Section: 912.06

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7.   What permits are needed to build a single family home?
  • Building a single family home is a multi-step process requiring multiple permits. 
  • Prior to any activity on a site, it may be necessary to obtain a wetlands, a tree removal, or a land clearing permit.  For further information about each, please see FAQ #21 and FAQ #22. (Insert links to each FAQ)
  • The Indian River County Building Division has a combination building permit packet for building a single-family home.  With a single-family combination permit, there is no need for separate plumbing, electrical, mechanical, roofing and insulation permits. Separate permits, however, are needed for irrigation, a temporary power poll, or a burglary alarm system.

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8.  What are the setback requirements for a house?

One must first determine his/her zoning district by looking at a zoning map

  • See frequently asked question number two for a complete listing of zoning districts.
  • After finding the zoning district, one must then look at the size and dimension charts in chapter 911
    • For agricultural and rural districts see, section 911.06.6
    • For single-family residential districts see, section 911.07.7
    • For multiple-family residential districts see, section 911.08.7
    • For mobile home districts see, section 911.09.8
  • The following drawing is an example of setbacks for the RS-3 zoning district.

Setback

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9.  Where can I locate my septic tank and drainfield?
  • Distances from adjacent waterbodies, wells, and property boundaries, as well as the size of the single-family parcel, affect if and where a septic tank and drainfield may be allowed. In most circumstances, parcels not near utility services are allowed to be developed with septic tanks; however, the overall size of the residence may be limited by environmental health regulations if the residence is to be built on a parcel less than one-half (1/2) acre in size. 
  • Elevation and fill requirements for septic tanks and drainfields are determined by the health department, and may exceed the finished floor elevation requirements of the flood protection regulations.
  • No septic tank or drainfield shall be located in an easement or within five (5) feet of a perimeter property boundary.
  • For additional regulations, visit the Indian River County Health Department.  Also, see sections: 912.09, 918.

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10.  Can I build an addition onto my house?
  • All additions require building permits Prior to applying for a building permit, one must determine if the addition will comply with setback requirements. Refer to FAQ #8 for how to determine your setback requirements.  If the home is on well and septic, the Health Department must be contacted.

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11.  What are the County’s regulations for sheds, barns and garages?
  • No building may be located within an easement.
  • Utility buildings or sheds of one hundred (100) square feet or less may be located no closer than five (5) feet to a side or rear property line. A utility building or shed that is to be located within five (5) feet of a side or rear property line shall be located no closer than ten (10) feet to the principal structure and shall not exceed the height of the principal structure.
  • Sheds more than 100 square feet must comply with setback requirements of the property’s zoning district (see FAQ #8) (Insert link to FAQ #8).
  • For further information: 917.05,  917.06, 911.15(2)(k)

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12.  Where can I locate a driveway on my property?
  • To place a driveway on a single family zoned lot, the driveway must be located a minimum of five feet from the nearest side lot line at the point of intersection with the right-of-way.  Driveways may come within two (2) feet of a side or rear lot line, subject to the above referenced five-foot minimum setback at the right-of-way line. 
  • A plot plan must be prepared by the property owner and approved by the Planner of the Day within the Planning Department.  Once approved by the Planner of the Day, a building permit is required from the County Building Division.  Also, if the driveway goes into a county (public) right-of-way, a right-of-way permit is required from the County Public Works Department.
  • See Section: 912.07.k and 912.07(4) 

 setback2

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13.  What are the requirements for fences?
  • Fences and walls shall not be constructed on or over any dedicated public drainage or utility easements or public rights-of-way unless a declaration of covenant for removal is obtained
  • For residential districts, fences may not exceed 4 feet in height in the front setback area and 6 feet in height in the side and rear setback areas. 
  • Agricultural districts are exempt from fence height restrictions as long as corner visibility is maintained.
  • On every corner lot, the triangle formed by the street lines of such lot and a line drawn between points on such street lines which are thirty (30) feet from the intersection thereof shall be clear of any structure or planting of such nature and dimension as to obstruct lateral vision; provided that this requirement shall generally not apply to the trunk of a tree, (but shall apply to branches and foliage), or a post, column or similar structure which is no greater than one foot in diameter.
  • Barbed wire, electrical elements, or other hazardous materials may not be used as a fence or part of a fence or wall in a residential district.
  • For exceptions see section 917.06(12) 

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14.  Can I construct a single-family dock or pier?
      • A permit must be obtained before construction of a dock or pier begins.
      • Docks shall not project outward from the shore more than twenty-five (25) percent of the width of the waterbody on which it is to be located. The outward projection of a dock shall be measured from the water's edge at mean low tide. The location, dimensions, and structural character of all structures shall be in conformity with applicable federal and state jurisdictional agency regulations.
      • No dock may encroach on a required riparian side yard setback as extended waterward for the zoning district in which the project is located, unless such an encroachment is necessary for the utilization of riparian rights. Notwithstanding, an applicant shall have an opportunity to apply for an administrative approval to construct a waterfront structure within a riparian side yard setback, under the following circumstances: shared facilities, hardships and environmental constraints.
      • See Sections: 917 and 932.07 

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15.  Where an I park my Recreational Vehicle?
  • For single-family residential areas, one may park his/her stored Recreational Vehicle in an un-enclosed area on his/her own property as long as it is not parked in the front yard, side yard, or any easements. A Recreational Vehicle may also be stored in a designated driveway (see image below).   The stored recreational vehicle may not be used for sleeping, housekeeping or living quarters while being stored.  No more than one recreational vehicle per dwelling unit may be stored in an unenclosed area upon each site, except that one additional recreational vehicle per dwelling unit may be parked on the property for a period not in excess of two (2) weeks in any one-year period.
  • One may not store a recreational vehicle in multi-family residential areas unless a portion of the property has been set aside for the specific use of recreational vehicle storage.
  • For complete requirements, see Section: 911.15 

setback3

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16.  I own coastal property, how does this limit what I can do with my property?
  • When building on coastal property, there are strict setback requirements that must be followed. 
  • Setbacks vary depending on where your property is located.
  • For those who are seeking to build dune crossovers, certain restrictions apply.
  • All structures, except for dune crossovers, must be landward (west) of the 1981 Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL a.k.a. Dune Stabilization Setback Line DSSL)
  • All oceanfront property development is subject to permitting by the State Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.
  • See Sections: 912.07(1)(b).3,  917 and 932.

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17.  I own property along a river. How does this limit what I can do with my property?
  • When building along the St. Sebastian River and Indian River, the following restrictions apply: a fifty-foot shoreline protection buffer for un-platted parcels, a twenty-five-foot buffer for existing platted lots measured from the mean high water line. In no case, however, with reference to existing parcels or lots of record, shall the buffer exceed twenty (20) percent of the parcel or lot depth perpendicular to the applicable waterway. 
  • Within the shoreline protection buffer, no development shall be permitted with the exception of docks, boat ramps, pervious walkways and elevated walkways which provide the property owner with reasonable access to the waterway.
  •  No more than twenty (20) percent or twenty-five (25) feet, whichever is greater, of any shoreline may be altered for reasonable access. Native vegetation in the remainder of the shoreline protection buffer shall remain unaltered, except as may be allowed through county trimming regulations. Shoreline alteration shall be prohibited, unless it is in the public interest or prevents or repairs erosion damage, or provides reasonable access to the water, does not adversely impact water quality, natural habitat or adjacent shoreline uses, and is permitted by all applicable jurisdictional regulatory agencies. Any native vegetation removed in such instances, except as may be allowed in Chapter 929, shall be relocated or replaced on-site with vegetation comparable in type and amount.
  • See Section 912.07(1)(b).

Lot Split & Recombination Questions

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18.  Can I split my lot?
  • A lot may be split one time without subdivision platting if the lot has not been split since July 23, 1983, if each of the new lots meet current size requirements, and if the split does not result in the smallest lot in the subdivision, if the lot lies within a subdivision. One may split his/her lot as long as both resulting lots meet Indian River County zoning minimum area and width requirements and environmental health, lot size and dimension requirements. To determine the zoning minimum area and width requirement for your district, please refer to the charts in chapter 911
  • Each of the newly created lots must have frontage on a dedicated public right-of-way, private platted right-of-way (street), or a roadway historically and currently maintained by the county, as referenced on the county road grading map.
  • For further information and exemptions please see sections: 911.04(3)(b).2 and 913.06

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19.  Can I plit two previously joined lots?
  • Two previously unified platted lots may be split back to two as they were originally platted provided all existing structures will meet setback requirements and provided that no accessory structure will be on any individual lot without a principal structure (e.g. house).
  • For further information, see section 913.06(2)(A)

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20.  Can I transfer ownership of part of my property to an adjacent owner?
  • One may transfer ownership of a part of his/her property, as long as the deed of conveyance or other legal instrument states such purpose and is recorded in the official records of Indian River County.  The resulting parcel(s) must conform to the applicable zoning district, environmental health, site, and dimensional criteria.
  • To determine your zoning district, please refer to question number nine.
  • See Section 913.06(2)(B)

Tree and Wetland Questions

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21.  Are there wetlands on my property?
  • USFWS National Wetlands Inventory Maps (1984), submergent aquatic vegetation inventories, infrared aerials and property appraiser aerials shall be utilized for general identification of wetlands and deepwater habitats in Indian River County.  These graphic sources, however, do not depict the full extent of wetland and deepwater habitat delineations and functional characteristics. If wetlands are identified in a preliminary review, a wetland delineation survey will be required at the time of site development review.
  • Wetlands regulations restrict or prohibit development within wetland areas, which generally consist of water bodies, impoundments, or areas inundated by water for a period of time. Wetlands may be close to or connected to a waterbody or "isolated."
  • Representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Corps of Engineers, St. Johns River Water Management District, Soil and Water Conservation District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FDAC Division of Forestry, Indian River County Mosquito Control District, and/or other applicable agencies may be contacted for assistance in identifying the extent and functional values of wetlands and deepwater habitats.
  • Generally, the degradation, alteration and destruction of wetlands is prohibited. Certain exceptions or mitigation options, however, may be applicable. For those exceptions, see section 912.07(5)
  • See Sections: 928.04(2), (3), (4) also see section 912.07(5)

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22.  Can I clear my land and remove trees?
  • A single family residential lot or parcel of land that is 1/4 acre or less is exempt from permits for tree removal or land clearing unless the clearing includes mangroves or dune vegetation. 
  • For lots over 1/4 acre, it is unlawful to remove, relocate, destroy or damage any protected tree or specimen tree.  It is also unlawful to alter wetlands or deepwater habitat unless a permit has been issued by the county environmental planning staff.
  • Exemptions include: the following tree removal/alteration activities on single-family lots will be exempt from needing a permit:

    • Removal of trees less than 4 inches in diameter (except for mangroves, dune vegetation, or trees in conservation or landscape easements).
    • Removal of nuisance invasive trees (e.g., Brazilian pepper, Australian pine, Melaleuca).
    • Routine maintenance of trees such as trimming and pruning.
    • Removal of trees within ten feet of a house (and attached structures).
    • Removal of trees that have been damaged or destroyed beyond saving, or which constitute an immediate peril to life or property.
    • See Sections 927, 928, 929

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23.  How can I get my county road paved?
  • If the road you live on is an unpaved county (public) road, you must get at least two-thirds of the affected owners signatures to have it paved through the “petition paving” process.  Only owners of the affected land may sign the petition.  The boundaries of the street must also be submitted along with the petition to the Public Works Department.  The Public Works Department will evaluate the petition, assist in further completion, prepare a total cost estimate, and present staff recommendations to the County Commission.  The Commission will review the request, and will spell out how much each property owner must pay for the project.  The payment burden is not solely placed on the land owners. The county will pay 25% of the cost.
  • Further Information

Model Homes, Sales Office, and Open Houses

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24.  What is a Model Home?

A model home is a structure used for display purposes, as an example of other existing or yet-to-be built homes for sale. No model home may be operated without a temporary use permit (TUP). See the next page for a summary of model home regulations.

25.  What is a Sales Office?

A sales office is a structure used for marketing and conducting transactions on the sale of lots or units within a development project. No sales office may be operated without a temporary use permit (TUP). See the next page for a summary of sales office regulations.

26. What is an Open House?

An open house is a temporary event related solely to the sale of the house that is the subject of the event. An open house is not a "model home" or "sales office" as defined above. All activity at the open house, including advertising, shall relate only to the sale of the house that is the subject of the event. See the next page for a summary of open house policies and regulations.


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