Show All Answers
You can easily determine what Zoning District your property is located is by visiting our Interactive Map. It’s easy once you get the hang of it!
After the Color Map loads,
Visit our stormwater page at https://www.co.walton.fl.us/1240/Stormwater-for-Single-Family-Lots and click the first tab on the left titled “Do I Need A Stormwater Management Plan”.
Walton County’s Coastal Dune Lakes are not only rare and unique, they are a very important component of our community and as such are protected by strong regulation. If you own a home near a Dune Lake or are thinking of building near a Dune Lake, please read Section 4.02.03 of the Land Development Code and most importantly CALL US before doing any land alteration, including removing any trees or vegetation near a Coastal Dune Lake.
There are penalties, including greater permitting fees and fines for removing Coastal Dune Lake Protection Zone vegetation.
If the lot or parcel is located south of the Choctawhatchee Bay, you will need a building permit or development order in place prior to any land clearing or alteration. Some exceptions to this exist for situations where a tree is dead, diseased or dying, or has potential to cause structural damage. Please give us a call if you have questions. Some minor clean up or maintenance is also allowed. REMEMBER ITS BETTER TO CHECK BEFOREHAND. There are many protected areas in South Walton including but not limited to: native vegetative communities; coastal dune lake protection zones; a 25-foot buffer from any wetland area; and the 50-foot area from the mean high water line of the Choctawhatchee Bay and any of its basins, bayous or tributaries. Some lots or developments also have areas that are to remain vegetated, natural or landscaped. It is imperative that these areas remain protected and clearing within these areas is expressly prohibited and can result in fines and costly restoration.
If the lot or parcel is located north of the Choctawhatchee Bay a building permit or development order is not required however a land clearing permit is required. Visit our online Customer Portal to apply. This is a fairly simple application with a $25 application fee that will protect you and ensure that the area being cleared is not protected or within some sort of designated buffer area.
All structures erected on property within the unincorporated areas (Outside of the City of Freeport, DeFuniak Springs, and Paxton) of Walton County are required to meet the setback requirements of Section 5.00.03 of the Land Development Code. It is important that you visit this section of the Code when you are thinking about your property’s layout.
Walton County does not designate a property’s Flood Zone category, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does. However, you can easily determine what your Flood Zone designation is by visiting our Interactive Map.
First of all, welcome to Walton County if you are new to us! We are so happy you chose us for your home. The truth is, Walton County does have some unique requirements. Do not fear though, we are here to help you through. There are basically two steps.
Step 1 begins with a review by the Planning and Development Services Department. This review typically takes about 2 to 3 weeks and really continues until you receive your final permit from the Building Department or Certificate of Occupancy (CO). Prior to your final building permit, we will look at the foundation survey to ensure that your finish floor elevation is correct. We will also inspect to make sure that your final grading and any required stormwater management systems are installed according to your specific requirements. This review is done online through the Online Customer Portal. The key here is to make sure you build according to your approved plans! Deviations unfortunately can result in delay.
Step 2 is building permitting that is handled by the Building Department, this is your structural permitting. This is where things like foundation, framing, and plumbing/electrical are inspected per the Florida Building Code.
One way to look at this two step process is that Planning review is concerned with your site (site plan) including main building and accessory building location on the lot and overall building parameters like building height, foundation type, flood zone requirements, stormwater requirements, and finish floor. Building Department review is concerned with the structure(s) itself and whether or not it is up to par with the Florida Building Code requirements.
Insider Tip! Make sure you fully understand any unique requirements associated with the lot or land you purchase for your home. Some developments have special requirements that could even limit the size of home you can build or what type of foundation is required. We encourage talking to the Planner on Call when thinking of purchasing a lot or land to build on. Ask questions about flood zone, wetlands, specific development or subdivision related requirements, stormwater requirements, setbacks…anything! We are here for you and we want your building process to go smoothly.
Yes. In the interest of providing for inexpensive housing options for family members as well as for neighborhood protection, Walton County has established various Accessory Dwelling Unit requirements. Section 2.02.00(B)(3) of the Land Development Code provides the general restrictions on accessory dwelling units. Some Neighborhood Plan Areas also establish ADU requirements and restrictions, notably the Inlet Beach Neighborhood Plan.
To summarize the general Code requirements here, small accessory dwelling units less than 800 square feet in size, are allowed in all zoning districts that allow residential development. They cannot be used as short term vacation rentals separate from the primary residence and they must not detract from the single-family residential character of a property. This means essentially, that they need to be designed in way that is ancillary and compatible with the primary structure and that does not detract from then neighborhood.
Accessory Structures and Uses are defined as, “subordinate use[s] or building[s] customarily incidental to and located on the same lot with the main use or building.”
Accessory structures and uses are allowed in any zoning district, provided they meet Section 2.02.00(B) and any additional zoning requirements of the Land Development Code. The following general accessory structure requirements should be considered prior to the purchase of or any output of capital towards the permitting of an accessory structure. (The following points are for summary purposes only, all applicants seeking to permit an accessory structure or use should visit the above referenced section as well as the pertinent zoning district section of the Code.)
In general, if your property is not located within a Scenic Corridor Overlay District (See Below), you can install a privacy fence without any permits. That’s right! You can just build it without any type of Planning or Building review or permit. Section 5.01.09 of the Walton County Land Development Code provides the requirements for Fences not located within a Scenic Corridor Overlay District. There are some requirement for lots less than one half acre in size that are different than larger lots.
Walton County has designated several important roadways as Scenic Corridors and has applied various development restrictions on each. This means that additional standards apply within these areas and one should be familiar if seeking to develop or redevelop within these areas. The following information seeks to briefly summarize the different Corridor Overlay Districts.
1. Route 30A Scenic Corridor Overlay District. All properties that are located contiguous to County Road 30A, County Road 393, or County Road 395 and those properties that are contiguous to the portions of County Road 83 and County Road 283 located south of U.S. 98 are considered within the Route 30A Scenic Corridor Overlay. Section 6.10.00 of the Land Development Code contains the applicable corridor standards. The Scenic Corridor standards identified within the Code are in addition to and supersede other requirements. These include different landscaping, access, sign and other standards designed to implement the purpose of the Overlay District.
2. US 98 and US 331 Scenic Corridor Overlay District. The areas included within the U.S. 98 and U.S. 331 Scenic Corridor Overlay District are:
Similar to the 30A Corridor Overlay, the US 98 and 331 Overlay District applies different standards to the areas defined in the Code. Section 6.11.00 provides the various corridor standards. These standards are similar to the 30A corridor in that they also deal with access, landscaping, signage and others, including allowable uses. Development within the US 98 and 331 Corridor Overlay District requires additional review by the Design Review Board. Section 6.11.10 of the Land Development Code provides the development review standards within the Corridor.
3, Scenic Gulf Drive Corridor Overlay District. All properties that are located south of the Scenic Gulf Drive right-of-way to the Gulf of Mexico and all properties that are located within four hundred (400) feet north of the right-of-way are considered within the Scenic Gulf Drive Corridor. All properties within the Scenic Gulf Drive Corridor shall comply with the design standards in this section. Section 6.13.00 of the Land Development Code contains the various development standards applicable within the designated Corridor areas.
Recreational Vehicles are addressed primarily within Section 2.02.00(P). The use of a recreational vehicle as a permanent residence is not permitted, except within duly licensed and permitted recreational vehicle campgrounds/parks or as provided for in Sections 2.02.01 through 2.02.05.
Recreational vehicles may be used as temporary residences in zoning districts allowing residential uses as a primary use, only by the property owner, and only during construction of a primary residence on the same site. There are additional standards that must be satisfied prior to receiving a permit for the temporary use. Please review Section 2.02.00(P) for the complete list of temporary residence requirements. There are additional considerations for location within Flood Zones as well.
Yes. Recreational vehicles may be stored on your property provided there is a primary residential use onsite (please check if you have any HOA related covenants and restrictions), the storage does not negatively impact any pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and it is current on all required tags and licensing.
Section 2.02.00(L) provides that, “Manufactured homes built in compliance with the HUD code or built under the Florida Manufactured Building Act and certified by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation as complying with the structural requirements of the Standard Building Code shall be allowed to locate in all residential land use districts.”
Section 1.16.01 provides that, “A variance may be appropriate where, by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness, or shape or by reason of other exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary and exceptional situations or conditions on a piece of property, the strict application of any regulation enacted under this Code would result in peculiar, exceptional, and undue hardship on the owner of such property.”
The variance process is not designed to allow a property owner to do whatever he or she wants. It is designed to provide relief when the combination of the Code and the unique character of land prohibits development.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) considers all variance requests at regularly scheduled monthly meetings. The ZBA hears evidence in order to establish compliance with the minimum criteria provided in Section 1.16.03 to approve a variance. The ZBA must find, in summary, the following:
Deviations from the Scenic Corridor requirements as provided elsewhere in the Code are reviewed and either approved or denied by the Design Review Board.
There are certain circumstances that would allow for lot splits.