The City of El Paso has established a process for applications submitted by residents and businesses who wish to rezone, plat, and build on property within the city. The city's goal is to simplify the process so it is easy to understand by the general public and applications are processed fairly and efficiently by city staff.
The process outlined below is the process for individual applications and not the overall development process. For more information regarding the development process and what applications are needed for projects, please see the development process page.
The application process varies depending on the type of application needed for a development project. The process described below is a general process and certain steps, such as public hearings, are not required for all applications. Applicants should review the planning packet for individual processes related to their application to gain a full understanding of what is required.
For more information regarding the application process, please see the Planning Packets and Applications.
1. Pre-Application Meeting
Prior to a property owner/applicant submitting an application for rezoning, special use permit, platting, or site plan review, the applicant is required to meet with city staff to discuss the project. During the meeting staff will gain an understanding of the applicant's goals and explain whether the project is permitted under the Zoning Ordinance. Staff will also outline the process and what applications will be needed for the project to move forward as well as major issues or concerns that need to be addressed.
For larger projects, several pre-application meetings may be required before an applicant may submit an application. Following the conclusion of the pre-application process, an applicant may submit an application for processing.
2. Filing an Application
An application for a rezoning must be completed and submitted to the City of El Paso with the proper filing fee, payable to the City of El Paso. An application may be withdrawn at any time upon written request; however, no refund will be made after the application has been accepted. A complete application consists of all items identified in the submittal requirements checklist and any supplemental items required by city staff.
3. City staff review
Once an application has been submitted with all required supplemental documentation, staff will review the application in detail. All plans will be reviewed by the city administrator/city planner, city engineer, public works director, Utilities director, and other staff members as needed to ensure the plans are in conformance with adopted codes and policies. Following staff review, written comments will be prepared and sent to all parties listed on the application form (via fax or email). Staff shall have ten (10) days from the date of submittal to review the plans and forward comments to the applicant.
The comments prepared by staff are intended to be a complete list of changes required by the applicant prior to approval of the site plan. However, some circumstances may warrant additional staff comments following the applicant meeting to ensure compliance with city codes and ordinances. For example, if a change is requested by city staff and the solution presented by the applicant creates an unforeseen issue, staff may provide additional comments to correct the problem. Also, if the applicant submits revised plans based on staff’s comments and those plans are still deficient, then a second round of comments will be provided to the applicant.
4. Applicant Resubmittal of Plans
Once staff has sent comments to the applicant for the submitted plans, the applicant shall make appropriate changes to those plans and resubmit twelve (12) additional copies of all plan sets and revised digital copies for final review and approval. The contact information for all staff members will be included in the comments provided to the applicant and the applicant should contact staff if he/she has any questions or needs clarification. As stated in Step 3, if staff comments have not been addressed in the plan submittal, then additional comments may be warranted and a second set of revised plans must be submitted.
5. Board of Zoning Appeals Hearing
Rezonings and special use permits require a public hearing before the board of zoning appeals (BZA). The chairperson will open the public hearing for each case to hear presentations by city staff, the owner or authorized agent (applicant), and the audience, respectively. After all parties have had the opportunity to speak, the BZA will close or continue the public hearing to a later date. After the public hearing is closed, discussion will be limited to the BZA members and city staff. Action by the board will be taken in the form of a recommendation for approval or denial to the city council.
6. City Council Action
Rezonings and special use permits also require approval by the city council, which typically meets on the first and third Monday of each month in the council chambers of city hall located at 125 W. Front Street at 7:30 p.m. Final plats that involve the dedication of public easements or rights-of-way to the city also require council approval but a public hearing before the BZA is not required.
The format of the meeting is similar to that used by the BZA and applicants should be prepared to answer questions posed by the city council. If necessary after the city council has listened to the presentations and to any public comments, they will discuss the application prior to taking formal action. The city council can approve the application, approve with conditions, deny, or remand the application back to the BZA for further review.
The city council decision shall be final.