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Union County, North Carolina



Main Street in Monroe

What does the Planning Division do?

The Planning Division is responsible for administering the policies of the Board of County Commissioners regarding long-range planning (future direction of growth and facilities) and current planning (standards for growth as embodied in development ordinances).

The Planning Division focuses on:

  • Implementation of the Union County Comprehensive Plan
  • Through the update of the Union County Development Ordinance and development of a countywide thoroughfare plan
  • Monitoring federal, state, regional and other local laws that impact land use/development and transportation planning
  • Continuing efficient day-to-day services through subdivision/site plan review, rezoning processing, and general inquiries of land use and transportation plans
  • Administrative land use processes for towns that accept County ordinances

FAQs for Planning and Zoning

How do I find out if my property is located in unincorporated Union County or in a city?

It is very important to determine whether your property is located in unincorporated Union County or in one of the many cities in the county, such as Monroe, Indian Trail, or Stallings. Each jurisdiction has different rules for building, developing property and opening a business. To find out whether your property is located in the county or a city you should call or stop by the Union County Planning Office or view the “Municipalities and Townships Map” on the GIS/Mapping Services page of the county’s website.

How do I find the zoning of my property?

If your property is located in unincorporated Union County, you can find out the zoning by calling or visiting the county planning office or viewing the “County Zoning Map” on the GIS/Mapping Services page of the county’s website. If your property is within a city, you will need to obtain zoning information from that city. Links to city webpages about development are listed under the dropdown option titled "How does zoning work?" on the Planning, Building & Development homepage.

Is my property located in an area that is prone to flooding?

Every few years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prepares maps of areas susceptible to flooding. The latest version of Union County’s flood zone maps can be viewed by stopping by the planning office or viewing the 2014 FEMA Zones map on the County’s GIS/Maps webpage. To view the FEMA flood zones, click on the GoMaps 4.0 link on the County's GIS/Maps webpage. Open the 'map layers' dialog box, and select the 2014 FEMA zones layer under the Natural map layers heading. Then zoom in to the area on the map which you want to observe.

The regulations that apply to land within designated flood-prone areas can be found in Article 65 of the Union County Development Ordinance.

What uses are allowed on my property (or the property across the road)?

To determine the uses allowed on property, first find out the zoning of the property (see No. 3). Then refer to Article 25 of the Development Ordinance, where you will find a table showing the county zoning districts and the uses allowed in each.

What are the building setbacks on my property?

  • Union County Development Guide.
  • Union County Development Guide.

Can I run a business from my home?

  • Union County Development Guide.
  • Union County Development Guide.

Can I run a day care from my home?

Home-based day care uses for 5 or more persons require special use approval. You will need to file an application, pay an application processing fee and attend a public hearing, at which time your request will be reviewed and decided by the county’s board of adjustment. Because your neighbors will be notified of your request, you should contact them before the hearing to explain what you are planning to do. They will be given an opportunity to present any concerns about your proposal at the time of the hearing. Please keep in mind that day care uses may also be subject to state regulations.

How do I report a violation of the development ordinance?

The zoning administrator is responsible for enforcement of the county’s development ordinance and investigating possible violations. Contact the planning office if you need to report a possible violation. See No. 1, above. Building code enforcement.

Why do small area plans?

Area Plans are parcel-specific land use plans and provide the level of detail necessary to focus on the specific physical development issues of an area. Because area plans are generally at a smaller, more fine-grained scale, they are able to provide more detailed recommendations for a specific area. Area Plans provide a more precise tool for regulatory decisions, infrastructure planning, and updating of zoning and subdivision ordinances. There are various kinds of Area Plans: Strategic Plans, Revitalization Plans, Corridor Plans, Interchange Studies, and Small Area Plans. Once adopted, these Area Plans serve as the future land use plan for that area, amending the Comprehensive Plan for that specific area.

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Contact Information

Richard Black
Division Director Planning
500 N. Main St., Ste 70
Monroe, NC 28112

Phone: 704-292-2580
Fax: 704-292-2582

Planning and Zoning Staff

Brian Matthews
Executive Director, Growth Management

Richard Black
Division Director, Planning

Bjorn Hansen
Senior Transportation Planner

Lee Jenson
Senior Planner

James King
Zoning Administrator

Pam Rivers
Administrative Assistant

About Planning

The Planning Division is involved in several programs that influence the quality of growth and public services in Union County. These programs include long-range planning and small-area planning. Long-range planning involves the development of a long-term policy guide known as the Union County Comprehensive Plan. This document serves as the overall growth policy guide that governs where major zoning districts should be delineated, a guide for making recommendations about individual rezoning petitions, and growth management decisions.

A Small Area Plan (SAP) is specific to a well-defined geographic area and includes considerable detail. Due to the narrower focus, a SAP encourages greater participation by property owners, residents, and business owners. Once adopted, the SAP presents the official policy direction of the Board of Commissioners and will guide future growth and development for a specific area of the county. SAPs are similar in format to Land Use Plans, but include greater detail. SAPs involve the community in developing a long-range vision for the area; address how the area should be maintained or changed in the future; identify future land uses in an overall county wide context; recommend future infrastructure improvements; and provide implementation guidance to the private and public investment and strategies that should be pursued to realize the vision of the area.