Zoning is a tool a city has to regulate land uses, including the size and shape of development. The City of San Antonio Unified Development Code is flexible in order to accommodate the changing neighborhood and conditions that may necessitate a zoning change. The City of San Antonio has many zoning districts, of which 2 are featured below: BASE districts and OVERLAY districts.

Base zoning districts allow a pre-determined range of uses. These districts are generally divided into the following categories: Residential, Office, Commercial and Industrial, with each group increasing in intensity of use. Residential districts provide areas for low to high density residential uses where public facilities and services exist with capacity to serve the development. There are many variations of residential zoning districts that allow the typical single family residential uses, to mixed residential uses, such as duplexes, to the multi-family residential uses. Office districts allow a range of office and professional services with some of the office districts limiting building size. Commercial districts permit general commercial activities that serve the community such as repair shops, wholesale businesses, warehousing and retail. There are variations of commercial districts that increase in intensity of use as well. Industrial districts provide for a mix of light manufacturing uses to heavy and concentrated fabrication uses. These districts include intense uses which usually require some proper screening and buffering, dependent on its adjoining land uses.

Overlay districts apply additional regulations to the base zoning district. Overlay districts typically do not regulate use (although some do) and generally include additional development standards, such as more restrictive setbacks, use of materials for fencing or buildings, and allowable signage. The most common overlay districts are “NCD” Neighborhood Conservation Districts, “AHOD” Airport Hazard Overlay District, “H” Historic Districts, and “RIO” River Improvement Overlay Districts.

The City of San Antonio’s Development Services Department Zoning Section staff assists with general questions regarding zoning, including consistency with adopted master plans and the public hearing process, as well as other functions. Our staff is located on the 1st floor of the Development and Business Services Center at 1901 S. Alamo. If you have any questions, we are here to assist!

- Catherine Hernandez
COSA Development Services Dept.