Development Review and Permits

​​Photo of green anole on wallNatural Resources staff are responsible for reviewing development activities for potential impacts to regulated natural and historic resources in Alachua County.

To develop property in Alachua County, your project must comply with all applicable development codes. The following information gives a brief description of the review process and the role of the natural resources staff in reviewing applications.

Land Use and Zoning
Land Use and Zoning

Land Use and Zoning

The first step in the development process is to determine if your project, at the location proposed, is an allowable use under the terms of the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use designations and the zoning code.

If a property owner wishes to use the property in a manner inconsistent with the designated land use, an application for Comprehensive Plan amendment must be submitted. Similarly, if a property owner desires a use or density that is not permitted under the property's current zoning district, the owner must apply for a zoning change (this may include rezoning from one district to another, rezoning to a Planned Development, or obtaining a special use permit, a temporary use permit, or a special exception). Details of the process, including costs and application requirements, are available on the Growth Management Department website.

All applications for land use, zoning change and development approval are required to submit an inventory of natural resources (also known as the Natural Resources Checklist) that includes site specific identification, mapping, and analysis of each natural resource or natural resource characteristic present on or adjacent to the site. In most cases, a professional biologist is required to conduct the inventory and submit the report (click here for a list of local environmental consultants with experience in Alachua County).

Photo of a deer family in a hay field  

Environmental Inventory Report

The environmental inventory report should include:

  1. An assessment of the existing quality and characteristics of each natural resource
  2. An evaluation of the impacts of the proposed activity
  3. A discussion of the proposed measures to protect or mitigate the impacts to resources

In reviewing landuse and zoning applications, NR staff uses a combination of GIS resources and field site visits to determine potential impacts. We provide findings and recommendations to other departments, the Development Review Committee (DRC), Planning Commission, and Board of County Commissioners.

For assistance in completing the Natural Resources Checklist or any other environmental requirements, please contact a Natural Resources staff member at (352) 264-6800
Development Review Committee Process
Development Review Committee Process

DRC Process

The Development Review Committee (DRC) is a technical committee that reviews development proposals an​d final site plans for consistency with Land Development Regulations and the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan.  For general information regarding the DRC process and to make a pre-application appointment, please visit the Growth Management Department Development Review website.
The following links provide guidance on how to fulfill certain environmental requirements for DRC applications:
  1. Natural Resources Checklist (required for ALL applications)
  2. Open Space/Natural Resources Data Table (Microsoft Word format)
  3. Conservation Easement template​ for conservation easements granted to Alachua County
  4. Third-Party Enforcer language for conservation easement where Alachua County is not grantee 
  5. Conservation Area Note for plans, plats, and Homeowner's Documents
Visit our Resources page for links to information related to listed species.
​​Photos of magnolia seed (left) and bird (right)
Building Permits
Building Permits

Do You Need a Building Permit?

Many repairs around your home will require a building permit which you can obtain from the Alachua County Office of Code Enforcement, Building Inspection Division, or your local Building Department if you reside within a municipality.

EPD staff generally only review building permits associated with exterior activities to ensure that the project and the property are in compliance with the Alachua County Land Development Regulations Code related to natural resources.

The process:

The Building Department of the Growth Management Department administers building permits. Each building permit request undergoes a pre-application screening (PAS). At this stage of the process, Natural Resources staff review the request to ensure that the project and the property are in compliance with land development regulations, and inform the property owner of any code requirements related to protection of the resources on their property.

If you have specific questions related to environmental resources on your property, contact a Natural Resources staff member at 352-264-6800.

For general building permit questions, please visit the Building Department website where you can find contact information and answers to general questions, or call 352-374-5243.

Notices Now Required for Some Building Permit Applications:

After several meeting and workshops, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance 13-05 on May 14, 2013 requiring a notice about regulated natural resources be placed in the public record for some building permit applications. The County has been requiring deed restrictions and similar permanent protective instruments as part of the building permit approvals on undeveloped land since 2009. On May 14, 2013 the BOCC amended Section 406.103(a)(3) of the Alachua County Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) by replacing the permanent protection requirement with a requirement for a notice to be placed in the public record (i.e. The Clerk of Court records) at the time of building permit approval on property that is undeveloped and not a bona-fide agricultural property. The notice may also be required if the application is proposing to impact regulated natural resources, whether the property is already developed or not. The Alachua County ULDC recognizes regulated natural resources as wetlands and surface waters and associated upland buffers, 100-year floodplain, significant geological features, listed-species habitat, significant upland habitat, and strategic ecosystems.

The intent of the notice is to provide an acknowledgement by the owner that sensitive natural resources are on the property and are currently regulated by the County ULDC and provide information in the public record so that future property owners and interested buyers will know that these resources are on the property and may be regulated. Current County regulations protect these regulated natural resources and require county approval be obtained prior to initiating any alternation or development activity that may impact regulated natural resources. Contact us if you have any questions.

Photos of floating alligator (left) and cypress wetland (right) 

Resources to help you complete the building permit process:

1. Example Site Plan

Example Site Plan showing lot boundary, proposed improvements and distances from rear, front and side boundaries 

2. Building permit application and forms (Growth Management website)