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Discovery Idea:

Do-It-Yourself Research

Here are some of our tips as to how to do your own research.

Review report

The Zonability report is designed to help you understand what are some of the basic existing conditions and then the potential, what is found under Zotential and Zotelligence.

You won't find either of those words in the dictionary because we made them up as part of the premise for possibility, rather than definitive. We tee up the potential for a property where we can for height, size and use. Then we layer in Zotelligence to help with those thinking about change.

The risk potential items reflect the zoning (as per our most recent findings) in conjunction with the property's attribute from the basic's section which come from the local county assessor's certified roll in the fall.

If the property looks to be vacant, there will likely be no "year built" or "building size" so a risk for vacant land is returned. If there is a "year built" that looks over 50 years, we'll return a potential risk for "construction" as it relates to tearing down.  There are instances where a parcel has been split subsequent to the certified roll. In those cases, the zoning should still be ok, even with our more frequent updates of the zoning, but the parcel will not reflect the current status.

Contact the city

Learning you can do your own research can be empowering to many agents and brokers.

You can use the internet to get information or pick up the phone to call (or visit in person). The great part about Zonability is that we have the full name of the zoning district so just by highlighting that plus the name of the city you are likely to find something of interest.

In addition to finding the city's website, you may find interesting blogs written by locals about properties in your community.

Again, you can opt to contact the city and talk with them about the property and zoning. See our list at the end of this article for handy links to city planning departments.

If a client simply wants assurance about the zoning (not relative to a potential project), a city may provide documentation. There is usually a fee for the document, and it may be called a "zoning verification letter." These are usually ordered through the city's Planning Department.

If the property appears to be located in the ETJ, it isn't the city with zoning control, not yet at least. Those are locations where the city may wish to annex in the future. For now, properties outside the city limits do not have zoning. Exceptions may apply to those adjacent to the city limit line. You can use the handy links and search within the city site for fire to place a call or write an email.

What do I write or ask? Confirm the zoning (verbally this does not offer protections as a formal submittal with a "zoning verification letter"), ask if there is a future land use or plan that impacts the property. You can review Zonability to compare what you are being told.

If you learn of a discrepancy, ask if there was a change in the last 6-12 months and please contact us so we can schedule an update.

Look for a private source

For those who either have a need to understand the property potential relative to a planned project such as tearing down to build new or have a client with a pressing need to understand the ramifications of the zoning relative to their interest in moving forward on a deal, a private source to get questions answered may be the best route.

Similar to finding a good general contractor, it helps to get recommendations. In fact, if you've worked on a remodel or new construction, you may start with your contact to see who they know. Architects, engineers and designers are all possible contacts. It really depends on your specific needs.

Handy links

For convenience, here are links to city planning departments, divided by region in Texas. For ETJ related questions, use the link and type "fire department" into the city's search bar. If you don't see one or want to report a broken link, please email us admin(at)zonability(dot)com, thank you.

Central, TX

Austin

Bee Cave

Buda

Cedar Park

Dripping Springs

Georgetown

Hutto

Kyle

Lakeway

Leander

Lockhart

Manor

Pflugerville

Round Rock

Taylor

DFW

Dallas

Fort Worth

Addison

Arlington

Allen

Colleyville

Denton

Farmers Branch

Frisco

Grand Prairie

Grapevine

Highland Park

Irving

Keller

McKinney

Plano

Southlake

The Colony

University Park

South Texas

San Antonio

Alamo Heights

Buda

Helotes

Kyle

New Braunfels

Schertz

San Marcos