Updated Development Rules
to Build a Better Snellville

FAQWe’re cleaning up the inconsistencies in Snellville’s existing regulations, simplifying content, increasing flexibility, and encouraging the kind of redevelopment — like our Towne Center plan — envisioned by the community, all in one unified, user-friendly ordinance. Here’s the rundown on everything you need to know. (FAQs updated July 17, 2020.)

What is the proposed Unified Development Ordinance?
The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a consolidation of most City of Snellville ordinances and regulations related to the development and use of property into one user-friendly document. Rather than have separate ordinances affecting such things as land use, subdivision, flood and environmental protection, and building codes; all of these have been consolidated into one document.

Why is the proposed UDO necessary?
The current rules that guide development in Snellville are confusing, unclear, and sometimes conflicting; this makes them user-unfriendly for both the public and City officials. Additionally, many of the rules were created to support the development of undeveloped land but are now poorly suited to encouraging much-needed redevelopment.

Are all the UDO standards needed?
The types of standards found in the UDO already exist in the City of Snellville Code of Ordinances and are intended to protect the health, safety and well-being of current and future residents of Snellville. Most specific standards were directly incorporated into the UDO, but a few new ones were developed in order to meet current local needs or to conform to State of Georgia requirements.

Where did it come from?
The proposed UDO is the product of many hours of work contributed by City staff, board and commission members, elected officials, and members of the public. These included technical reviews, public meetings, and work sessions with the Mayor and Council.

How can the UDO be changed?
The proposed UDO is being shared with the public in its draft form for review and comment. Anyone can submit a request to change any provision of the draft UDO using the link on this website. City staff and their UDO consultants will consider all comments in preparing the official draft UDO that will be introduced for adoption later this year. During the adoption process, the public can continue to submit comments for consideration, however, once the UDO is adopted by the Mayor and City Council it can only be changed by that body.

What is changing in the RS-150 and RS-180 zoning districts?
Nothing is fundamentally changing about the RS-150 or RS-180 single-family zoning districts except their names. “RS” stands for “single-family residential,” but nobody knows exactly where the “150” and “180” came from since neither number is found in their district regulations. The proposed renaming from “RS-150” to “RS-15” is intended to reflect the 15,000 square foot minimum lot size, while “RS-30” reflects the 30,000 square foot minimum lot size. The current space limits that govern minimum building setbacks, minimum heated square footage, etc. remain unchanged.

My property is already developed. Will I be subject to any new standards?
No. All existing developed properties will be grandfathered and can continue in their current condition. However, some changes, such as building modifications/additions or a change of use will have to conform to new UDO requirements.

Will my existing house or neighborhood have to conform to the new residential building design standards?
No. The new Small Scale Residential Building Standards (Sec. 201-3.3) established minimize design standards that do not apply to any existing houses. They also do not apply to new houses in partially completed subdivisions.

What will happen to existing zoning conditions imposed on a property by the Mayor and City Council when this UDO is adopted?
Nothing. They will remain in-effect.

Will changes to the Tree Ordinance harm Snellville’s tree canopy?
No. In fact, the changes are intended to encourage the preservation of existing large trees, the planting of larger new trees, and proper ongoing tree maintenance.

I own a rental property on North Road. Will I be able to convert it from a residential use to an office-type use without having to fully develop the property as a commercial property?
Yes, but you will have to seek rezoning to the proposed North Road (NR) zoning district first. The NR district will be available for properties in the Road Transitional Corridor character area. It will allow existing houses to be converted to commercial uses if they maintain a residential character. Commercial uses in new buildings would only be allowed on sites of at least 3 acres.

I have a residential property that is adjacent to the Towne Center development. Will my property be rezoned as part of the UDO adoption?
No residential neighborhoods are proposed for rezoning, other than the name change for current RS-180 and RS-150 districts noted above. Within the Towne Center, the Towne Center Overlay will be expanded to match the Towne Center Character Area already shown in the Comprehensive Plan.

Will the UDO change how the Stormwater Utility fees and credits are calculated?
No. The UDO does not regulate stormwater fees.

Would the proposed UDO allow me to convert my existing garage into an accessory dwelling unit?
No. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small secondary dwelling unit with full living accommodations (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area) located on the same lot as a house; they are sometimes known as carriage houses or guest houses. Today ADUs are not allowed anywhere, except the Towne Center, and the proposed UDO does not change this.

The proposed UDO would allow for the creation of “in-law” suites, but they must be part of the main house. They could not be in an attached garage.

Why is there a proposed 5,000 square foot lot residential district (RS-5)? Is this compatible with Snellville’s lot sizes?
Most of Snellville’s subdivisions built since the early 2000s would conform to the proposed RS-5 zoning. This was done through numerous variance requests at the time of rezoning. Shadowbrook, Olde Hickory, Stockton Walk, Saddlebrook are a few examples of this.

Why aren’t chickens being allowed on small residential lots?
The Mayor and Council have made a policy decision to not allow Chickens on smaller residential lots.