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Frequently Asked Questions

Fees:

What are the fees for applications in the County?

Please follow the link to the Lawrence County Ordinance to see all fees associated with the different types of applications.

Application/Plat Due Dates:

What are the due dates for plats and applications for the Planning and Zoning Meetings? 

All items are due in our office 22 calendar days prior to a Planning and Zoning Meeting. P & Z meetings are held the first Thursday of every month unless otherwise scheduled. Please follow the link for due dates and meeting schedules.

General Zoning and Land Use:

1. What is my property zoned?

This is by far the most frequently asked question and the staff of the Planning and Zoning Office will help you determine the zoning for your property. Please assist us in determining the zoning designation of your property by providing us with the street address and parcel number for the property which can be located on your most recent tax statement or by accessing our website.

2. What are the zoning categories in Lawrence County?

          The zoning categories in Lawrence County are:

         A-1: General Agricultural: Development density is approximately one (1) lot per forty (40) acres.

         A-2: Residential Agriculture: Development density is approximately four (4) lots per forty (40) acres; eight (8) acre minimum lot size.

         PF: Park Forest: Development density is approximately eight (8) lots per forty (40) acres; five (5) acre average, two (2) acre minimum.

         RR: Rural Residential: Development density is approximately eight (8) lots per forty (40) acres;  five (5) acre average, two (2) acre minimum.

         SRD-Suburban Residential: Development density is based on whether or not you have a central water and/or sewer system. The average density is two (2) acres, unless you can prove you can support smaller.

         GC: General Commercial: Development density is one (1) acre, unless you can prove you can support smaller. If there is a residence on the property, minimum lot size is two (2) acres.

         RC: Recreation Commercial: Development density is one (1) acre, unless you can prove you can support smaller. If there is a residence on the property, minimum lot size is two (2) acres.

         HSC: Highway Service Commercial: Development density is one (1) acre, unless you can prove you can support smaller. If there is a residence on the property, minimum lot size is two (2) acres.

         C/LI: Commercial/Light Industrial: Development density is one (1) acre, unless you can prove you can support smaller. If there is a residence on the property, minimum lot size is two (2) acres.

         I-1: General Industry: Development density is one (1) acre, unless you can prove you can support smaller. If there is a residence on the property, minimum lot size is two (2) acres.

         PUD: Planned Unit Development: The intent of the Planned Unit Development District (PUD), regulations is to permit greater flexibility, and consequently, more creative and imaginative design for the development of residential and nonresidential areas than generally is possible under conventional zoning regulations. It is further intended to promote more economical and efficient use of the land while providing a harmonious variety of land uses, a higher level of urban amenities, preservation of natural scenic qualities of open space, environmental protection, concurrent and adequate public facilities, timing, phasing, and sequencing for the proposed development within the PUD, all contingent upon completion of its review process. In addition, reasonable assurance to the developer is intended regarding ultimate approval before expending complete design monies while also providing county officials with assurances that the project will retain the character envisioned and protect public health, safety and general welfare. All PUD requests shall include the Design Standards set out in the Lawrence County Subdivision Regulations and shall conform to the Change of Zoning section of the Lawrence County Zoning Ordinance.

3. Does Lawrence County regulate the zoning in the municipalities?

No, each of the four municipalities in Lawrence County has its own zoning regulations. You should contact the City Offices of Spearfish, Deadwood, Lead or Whitewood for information on properties that are in the municipal boundaries.

4. What are the uses allowed on my property?

The uses allowed in each zoning district are outlined in Article 3-District Regulations in the Lawrence County Zoning Ordinance. While the many uses are too numerous to list here, you may either stop by our office to review the lists of uses or view them on-line on our website.  Allowed Uses are those allowed as a matter by right on a property.

5. What is a Conditional Use?  

A Conditional Use grants a particular use to be allowed on a particular property, subject to compliance with the ordinances and the set of conditions attached to the permit. Conditional Uses are those which may be available to a property owner after a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Board and the County Commission.

6. I don't see the use I want on my property listed.

It is the job of the Planning and Zoning Office to interpret the zoning ordinance. You should contact P & Z to discuss your proposed use. In many instances, if a use is not listed within a zoning district it is inferred that that use is not allowed within that district; particularly if that use is listed in another category. In some rare cases, the Planning and Zoning Administrator determines if a use is appropriate within a zoning district.

Building Permits and Setbacks:

1. How do I obtain a building permit?

You may obtain a building permit application from our Forms page. You will need to follow the directions with this application to obtain this permit. ALL BUILDING in Lawrence County needs a permit no matter the zoning you are located in.

2. Where are Mobile Homes Permitted?

Mobile homes are permitted in any zoning district as a single residence on a single lot, unless restricted by covenants and or the like. All mobile homes need a moving permit from the Lawrence County Treasurers office and a building permit from Planning and Zoning. Mobile Home Parks are not permitted.

3. What are "setbacks"?

Setbacks are the distances required between structures or uses and property lines.         These distances vary within each zoning district. For specific setback requirements in each district refer to the Lawrence County Zoning Ordinance available on-line. Variances can be made to some setbacks by applying to the P &Z Office and then having a recommendation meeting by the Planning and Zoning Board and a Public Hearing in front of the Board of Appeals.

4. What is a "utility easement"?

Utility easements are encountered on many properties in the County which have been created by the subdivision process. Generally these easements are there to accommodate the placement of water, sewer, gas or communication lines or to allow for the free flow of storm water across properties so it is properly managed. No permanent structure is allowed in any utility easement. All utilities or improvements, to include approaches, proposed to be located in a county Right-of-Way must be approved by the County before installation is made.

Businesses:

1. I want to operate a business from my home. What permits do I need?

First, you should consult with the Health Department and / or other agencies, depending on the type and size operation you intend. If you want to operate a simple office from the home as many individuals do these days, no permit is required and to do so is permitted in any residence so long as there is no outside appearance of an office or business operating there and no additional traffic is generated. Home occupations are only allowed in the Zoning Districts which lists Home Occupation, P & Z may require more detail on other types of business operations to determine if they are permitted in specific zoning categories so it is best to contact the office at 605-578-3871. Bear in mind that there are distinctly different residential and business zoning categories so there is legislative intent to keep the two uses separate.

2. I intend to start a new business. Where do I find information on where I can locate it? What permits do I need?

P & Z can tell you which zoning districts are appropriate for the type of business you are starting or re-locating and we can give you information regarding where each of these zoning districts are in the County. In addition, zoning maps are available on our website. Contact the P & Z Office for information on building permits for new structures or re-doing an old one.

Signs:

What are the County sign regulations?

The numerous requirements for business signs are contained in Article 4-Supplemental Regulations of the Lawrence County Zoning Ordinance; they vary for on-premises and off-premises businesses. Very few signs do not require zoning certificates so it is best to check with P & Z for your specific needs.

Types of Applications and Fees:

1. How do I apply for a Variance (VAR) for my property?

Just contact our office by telephone or e-mail for the appropriate forms. You can download the forms from our Forms page. These forms can be mailed, or faxed to you. The forms must be completed in detail so that all of the legal requirements are met to       schedule the variance hearings. Variances cost $250.00. Variances can not automatically be granted. Each applicant must be able to substantiate that their property is unique or different and that there would be a practical hardship which is not self-imposed if the variance is not granted.

2. How do I apply for a Change of Zoning (COZ)?

Just contact our office by telephone or e-mail for the appropriate forms. You can download the forms from our Forms page. These forms can be mailed, or faxed to you. The forms must be completed in detail so that all of the legal requirements are met to       schedule the COZ hearings. COZ’s cost $350.00.

3. How do I apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP)?

Just contact our office by telephone or e-mail for the appropriate forms. You can download the forms from our Forms page. These forms can be mailed, or faxed to you. The forms must be completed in detail so that all of the legal requirements are met to       schedule the CUP hearings. CUP’s cost $350.00.

4. How do I apply for a planned Unit Development? (PUD)

Just contact our office by telephone or e-mail for the appropriate forms. You can download the forms from our Forms page. These forms can be mailed, or faxed to you. The forms must be completed in detail so that all of the legal requirements are met to schedule the PUD hearings.

5.  How do I apply for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP)?

Just contact our office by telephone or e-mail for the appropriate forms. You can download the forms from our Forms page. This Permit shall be filled out in it’s entirety and shall be approved by the P & Z office prior to the activity taking place, if the Administrator is not comfortable with the issuance of a TUP all TUP’s may be heard by the County Commission. A TUP is a very specific application for an event related to parking, noise, bathrooms, garbage, hours of operation, and other items.

6. Where do I get the information I need about adjoining property owners that        must be notified of my request for a variance (VAR), change of zoning (COZ), conditional use permit (CUP), or a planned unit development(PUD)?

This information is provided by the Planning and Zoning Office as part of your packets.

7. Where do I get permits for utilities improvements or approaches?

All permits need to be approved by the Lawrence County Highway Superintendent and all permit applications are available at their office. 605-578-2183.All utilities or improvements, to include approaches, proposed to be located in a county Right-of-Way must be approved by the County before installation is made.

Complaints:

1. What is the most frequent complaint filed with P & Z?

There are actually three complaints that we receive quite regularly: too many unlicensed vehicles, junkyard like conditions, and building without a permit on a property. P & Z requires all complaints to fill out a complaint form prior to looking into the complaint; this form can be found on our Forms page. We urge citizens to follow the Golden Rule and try to resolve differences with their neighbors on a personal basis; using government intervention only as a course of last resorts. P & Z is a complaint based operation, meaning that largely the P & Z enforcement staff only act when a complaint is filed rather than seek out violations.

2. What is P & Z's process for handling violations?

Complaints are taken e-mail, mail or in person at the P & Z office. The Complaint Form can be found on our Forms page. If the complaint proves to be a violation of the zoning ordinance, the inspector may discuss it on-site with the property owner. If the complaint is not resolved at that initial point of contact a letter is then sent to the property owner giving them typically ten (10) days to contact the P & Z office to discuss how and when the violation will be resolved. If the property owner is uncooperative, a formal Notice of Violation is issued, giving the owner 30 days to bring the property into compliance or appeal the Notice of Violation to the Board of Adjustment. If the violation is neither appealed nor abated within the 30 days, the file is turned over to the County Attorney for legal action. The Court may impose fines and issue orders directing the property owner    or the County to abate the violation.

3. What if I have concerns about noxious weeds or pests on my own property or     my neighbors property?

Contact Dave Heck, Lawrence County Invasive Species Department at 605-642-1976.

Subdivision:

1. How do I subdivide my property?

Subdivision is a very complicated tool used by developers and people whom want to sell off a piece of property to others, break off a piece for a family member or for various other reasons. Each zoning district has different requirements based on density, therefore this question can depend on numerous conditions on the specific property. In general an example would be in PF-Park Forest the average density is 5 acres, therefore you would need at least 10 acres to subdivide one parcel into two 5 acre parcels.

Floodplain:

1.   What does it mean if my property is located within the FEMA Floodplain?

If the Floodplain Administrator determines your property is located within the FEMA Floodplain area you will be required to obtain a detailed flood study from a Professional Registered Engineer to prove your building will be located out of the floodplain, or you may need to determine elevation of the proposed site prior to issuance of a building permit. It is possible for property to be determined un-buildable and you may want to take the time to look into this prior to buying a lot in Lawrence County.

Joint Powers Area and 3 mile Platting Jurisdiction with Spearfish:

1. What does it mean if I am in the 3-mile jurisdiction for the City of Spearfish?

If your property is located within this jurisdiction this means any building permit or platting  will be handled by the City of Spearfish at 605-642-1333. You will fall under there platting regulations; however you will still fall under Lawrence County Zoning Regulations and Variance Requirements.

Septic Systems:

1. What are the regulations for septic systems?

All septic systems in Lawrence County need a SEPTIC PERMIT first, then you will need to obtain a Registered Professional Engineer to design your septic system.  Both of these items must take place prior to the issuance of a building permit. The Septic Permit Application may be found on our Forms page. The fee is $10.00.

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