The Entitlements section reviews and processes applications for land use changes that require discretionary approval, typically either from the Mayor and Council or the Zoning Examiner.
A rezoning is a public process that changes the zoning of a particular property or group of properties. A change in zoning will typically affect the uses allowed, the density of a residential development, or the intensity of a commercial development. A rezoning can be reqested to change to a standard zoning district or to establish a Planned Area Development (PAD). A PAD is a zoning option that allows greater flexibility in uses and development than standard zones.
For more information or to discuss your project, please contact Entitlements staff at
Rezoning Process Handout (PDF)
Special exception land uses are uses which are not allowed by right within a zone but are permitted if approved through an established review procedure. The majority of Special Exceptions in Tucson involve wireless communication facilities (cell towers). Special Exceptions may be approved by the PDSD Director (with or without a public notice requirement), the Zoning Examiner, or Mayor and Council as specified in the Unified Development Code based on the zone and proposed use.
NOTE: Effective immediately, the following items will be added on all plan sheets:
1. The Special Exception block (PDF) shall to be added to each plan sheet submitted to the City of Tucson for review.The block is to be located above the "Sheet Title Block", on each page.
2. All previously associated City of Tucson case and/or permit numbers shall be added to the "General Notes" block on the project cover sheet.
There are four types of Special Exception approval processes: PDSD Director Approval; PDSD Director Approval with public notice; Zoning Examiner approval; or Mayor and Council approval.
NOTE: The Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD) shall stop processing unnecessary Director’s Decisions Letters for previously approved special exceptions that have not undergone a substantial change. As of June 22, 2018, applicants are no longer required to apply for a Director’s Decision Letter for equipment swap outs where there is no overall increase in the existing height of the Wireless Communication Facility – measured Above Ground Level (AGL,) or from the ground surface to the highest point of the entire structure (reference to Section 6.4.4.B.1 of the UDC). The height is cumulative from the most recent Director’s Decision or Special Exception.
Applicants that fall under this threshold shall submit their building plans directly to PDSD with appropriate documentation of the previously approved special exception.
Effective November 1, 2016, appropriate fee of $800 for the following applications:
- PDSD Director’s Approval Procedure Special Exception for Wireless Communication Facilities – Expedited Review, Five (5) Working Days
- 6409 Wireless Communications Facilities Modifications and/or Co-Location Applications
More information about small cell poles in the right-of-way
Rezoning proposals must conform to the General Plan (Plan Tucson) and applicable Specific Plans (e.g. Area or Neighborhood Plans). If the proposal does not conform to plan policy, a plan amendment may be proposed to address the issue. The Planning Commission holds a public hearing on Plan Amendment and makes a recommendation to Mayor and Council, who make the final decision. An applicant also has the option to submit applications for a plan amendment and rezoning concurrently.
Application Process and Standards
These documents should be referenced by applicants:
The application and review process for rezonings, special exceptions, and original city zoning is described in section 3.5.1 of the Unified Development Code, Zoning Examiner Legislative Procedure.
All non-Wireless Communications Facilities applications to the Zoning Examiner for Rezoning, Zoning Examiner Special Exception, and Mayor and Council Special Exception cases must comply with the following sections of the Administrative Manual:
- 2-03.1 Applicability
- 2-03.2 Application Submittal Requirements
- 2-03.3 Preliminary Development Package (PDP) Format Requirements
- 2-03.4 Preliminary Development Package (PDP) Content Requirements
- 2-03.5 Environmental Resource Report (as required)
- 4-01 Estimating Application Fees