zoning advice

I’m looking for lots to build duplexes on, but havne’t been able to find many that are already zoned for multi-family. Does anybody know the process to get a regular residential lot zoned for a duplex? How expensive is it? I’m in San Antonio by the way. Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks

Rolando Alvarez

First, look carefully at the City’s planning and zoning ordinance to confirm what you can and cannot do under the current zoning. Also, look at the possibility of obtaining a variance from the current zoning.

If you have to change the zoning, you will need to file an application with Planning & Zoning Commission of the City. There is a notification and hearing process - this can take 60 - 90 days. Residents in the neighborhood have a right to oppose your re-zoning request, and if they do, it could hurt your chances of getting an approval.

If approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission, your application will go the City Council. There is another notification and hearing process, but normally if Planning & Zoning has approved your application, the Council will approve your application.

It is not unusual for the whole process to take 90 - 120 days. If residents in the neighborhood oppose your re-zoning request, it could take longer.

To have a planning & zoning attorney handle it for you could range between $2,500 - $5,000.

Hi Rolando,

I am glad you’re in SA area. As a matter of fact, I have talking to a broker in the area and he has some new duplex in San Marcos near the unversity. He said they can rent it for 1200 each which I need to verify.

How is the rental market in SA, and San Marcos, and Dallas areas, do you own any rental there?

The price of the duplex in around 260K range. I am still doing some research and will be talking to some more people there.

Any advise please let me know.

First of all, if you’re planning to buy a parcel and get it rezoned, I’d strongly recommend that you have the appropriate contingencies in your purchase contract. You don’t want to have to close with the seller until and unless you have all the approvals you need. You should have a real estate attorney draft the language.

Secondly, based on my land brokerage experience in PA, changes of zoning are not a slam dunk. In fact, the municipality doesn’t even have to respond to the rezoning petition. It’s strictly discretionary. Maybe it’s different in TX.

As for finding lots zoned for duplexes, if you haven’t done so already, I suggest you read the zoning ordinance to determine what zoning classifications/districts permit duplexes either as a “by right” use, or as a conditional/special use (don’t assume duplexes are lumped under “multifamily”) and then look at the zoning map to see what areas are in that zoning district.