Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Zoning 

What can I use my property for?

The City of La Porte is a zoned municipality. Zoning is the process that classifies land into different zones according to land use. Land use refers to the function of the land- what the land is being used for, the occupancies and activities that occur.  Whether a specific land use is permitted is based on the zoning of the property. See the City of La Porte’s zoning ordinance Chapter 106- Zoning.

 What are the zoning districts in the City of La Porte? 

Refer to Sec. 106-309. - Land use districts for the zoning district designations.  

 How can I determine the zoning for a specific property? 

See the City of La Porte’s Zoning Map. Also visit the City’s GIS Web App, accept the terms and conditions, turn on the Land Use Layer-Zoning, and search addresses and places, to view the color coded zoning districts.

 What land uses are allowed? 

The City of La Porte uses the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) to classify land uses in the city’s different zoning districts. See Sec. 106-310. - Table A, Commercial & Industrial Uses and Sec. 106-331. - Table A, Residential Uses for permitted and conditional uses. In these tables, the “P” stands for a permitted use, the “C” stands for a conditional use, and a blank or “*” means the use is not allowed.  

 What is a conditional use (C)?

Conditional use requires review by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approval from the City Council. See the Special Conditional Use Permit Application for an overview of the process and requirements.

 Where can I find my NAICS code? 

NAICS is a self-assigned system. A company selects the code that best depicts their primary business activity; a company may use more than one NAICS code. Refer to the company’s Texas Sales and Use Tax Certificate or visit NAICS.com to search a company. 

 How do I request a zoning verification letter? 

Email planning@laportetx.gov with your request and include the property address, Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) parcel identification number, and the proposed or existing land use. 

 How can I rezone my property for a different use?

Refer to the Zone Change Application for requirements.

Property Research 

How can I research property located in the City of La Porte?

There are several property search resources available. 

How do I determine the location for vacant property or a site that is not correctly addressed?   

Visit HCAD Parcel Viewer and search the HCAD (Harris County Appraisal District) parcel identification number to view the property location. 

 Where can I find property measurements?

Refer to the property survey for measurements. The survey may be filed with the Harris County Clerk’s Office. You can also search the Harris County Appraisal District for property records. The City of La Porte does not maintain survey records. 

 How can I locate the property lines?

The most accurate way to locate property lines is to hire a surveyor.

 How can I get a copy of a plat? 

All recorded plats are accessible via the Harris County Clerk’s Office

 Where can I find the deed restrictions? 

Deed restrictions are traditionally filed with the Harris County Clerk’s Office. The City of La Porte does not maintain these records. 

Review & Approvals 

How can I request a meeting with staff to discuss a new development?

Please submit the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Meeting Request Form to planning@laportetx.gov. Meetings are scheduled every Tuesday afternoon with the city’s development review team. 

 When is a site plan required? 

Site plans are required for new buildings, building expansions, or the addition of paving. Refer to Sec. 106-236. - Certified site plan  required for when a site plan is not required.

Do I need to resubmit a site plan if a project site has been inactive for more than a year?

A site plan does not need to be resubmitted if a letter with a seal and signature from the engineer of record is provided to ensure compliance with existing regulations. See Sec. 106-236. - Certified site plan required for requirements.

 How do I check the status of my submittal?

Email planning@laportetx.gov and reference your project name.

 How long does it take to obtain approvals?

For minor plat and minor site plan reviews consisting of 10 acres or less or 4 lots or less, the turnaround time to receive staff comments is generally 10 business days from the submittal date. For major plats, major site plans, and replat reviews, final approval must be obtained from the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Commission meets once a month on the third Thursday. For development proposals and applications that require City Council approval (e.g. Zone Change Request, SCUP), the review process generally consists of a minimum of 2-3 month review period from the initial submittal to Council action. 

 Where can I find information on upcoming public hearings? 

See the Current Agendas& Minutes for upcoming public hearings scheduled for City Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBOA). Future Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting dates and submittal deadlines can be found on the city website (Planning and Zoning Commission, ZBOA). 

Planning Process

What is a PUD and what is a SCUP?  

Development in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district requires the approval of a Special Conditional Use Permit (SCUP). See Article IV. Planned Unit Developments for PUD procedures and requirements. See the Special Conditional Use Permit Application for an overview of SCUP procedures and requirements. Conditional uses require a review from the Planning and Zoning Commission and approval from the City Council. 

 What is the process for closing public right-of-way?

Refer to the Street and Alley Closing Application Request for requirements.

 What are the fees for the different planning processes?

See the Development Application Fee Schedule.

How do I apply for a variance or special exception? 

Refer to the Variance Application or Special Exception Application for an overview of the process and requirements. Variances and Special Exception requests are considered by the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBOA). This Board meets on an as needed basis on the 4th Thursday of the month.

Land Subdivision & Development Plans

How do I combine real property or split it into separate tax parcels?

See the Harris County Appraisal District’s (HCAD) form for application requirements. Complete the form and submit it with the required documentation to HCAD.  

What is the process to legally subdivide land, move, or remove lot lines?  

Refer to the City of La Porte Plat Requirements for platting procedures in the City of La Porte. 

 What is the difference between a Subdivision Plat Application and Minor Plat Application? 

A Subdivision Plat Application is required for more than 10 acres, more than 4 lots, or a replat. A Minor Plat Application is required for plats consisting of 10 acres or less, 4 lots or less, and fronting on an existing right of way with adequate infrastructure.

Can a plat be submitted electronically? 

All plats should be submitted by email to planning@laportetx.gov with the required documentation. 

 What are the city’s requirements for land development?

Refer to Chapter 86- Development Regulations.

What are the setback requirements?

For commercial setbacks, see Sec. 106-443. - Table A, commercial area requirements

For residential setbacks, see Sec. 106-333. - Table B, residential area requirements.

 Does my property have existing city infrastructure (e.g. water, sewer, roadway)

Contact Public Works at publicworks@laportetx.gov

 They are clearing land; what is being built at that location?

Email planning@laportetx.gov and specify the location.

Residential Uses

What uses does the city allow in residential zoning districts?

See Sec. 106-331. - Table A, residential uses for permitted uses. In Table A, the “P” stands for permitted uses, “A” stands for accessory uses, “C” stands for conditional use, and a “*” means the use is not allowed.  

 What are the development requirements for residential areas?

See Sec. 106-333. - Table B, residential area requirements.

 Can I build a house in a residential district if the lot dimensions do not meet current standards?

The City of La Porte recognizes the grandfathering of pre-existing, non-conforming lots. A property owner may construct a detached, single-family home in a Low Density Residential (R-1) zoning district, as long as it meets all other development requirements (e.g. setbacks, lot coverage).

 Are homes built on smaller R-1 zoned lots (e.g. 25 ft. or 50 ft. wide lots) required to meet the maximum lot coverage requirements? 

Lots that do not conform to minimum lot dimension standards must still comply with all other development requirements, including maximum lot coverage. 

What are the requirements for an accessory dwelling unit?

See DIVISION 2. - ACCESSORY BUILDINGS, USES AND EQUIPMENT

 Can I build a 2nd home on my property?

Secondary dwellings (e.g. mother-in-law quarters, pool house, garage apartment) are permitted in the Medium Density Residential (R-2) and High Density Residential (R-3) and are permitted with the approval of a SCUP in the Low- Density Residential (R-1) and Large Lot Residential (LLD) zoning districts. 

 Where are mobile homes allowed? 

Mobile homes are permitted in the Manufactured Housing (MH) District and within permitted mobile home parks. 

What is the difference between Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, and Industrialized Home?

Definitions for each type of structure can be found in Sec 106-1. Definitions, and navigating to the individual definitions.   

Where are recreation vehicles (RVs) allowed? 

RV's are permitted in the Manufactured Housing (MH) District and within permitted mobile home parks.

Where can I find information on short-term rentals? 

The City of La Porte does not currently regulate short-term rentals but is considering a short-term rental (STR) ordinance. 

Industrial & Commercial Uses

 What are the development requirements for commercial areas?

See Sec. 106-443. - Table A, commercial area requirements  and Sec. 106-444. – Commercial performance standards.

What are the development requirements for industrial areas?

See Sec. 106-522. - Table A, Industrial area requirements and Sec. 106-523. - Industrial performance standards.  

What land uses require a Special Conditional Use Permit (SCUP)?

Refer to Sec. 106-310. - Table A, Commercial & Industrial Uses. In this table, the “C” designation stands for a conditional use and requires a SCUP.  The City of La Porte has recently amended the zoning ordinance to require approval of a SCUP for hotels (NAICS 721110), gas stations with convenience stores (NAICS 44711), vape shops (NAICS 453991), and miniwarehouse/storage (NAICS 531130).

What are the city’s parking and driveway requirements?

See Article VI. – Off-Street Parking.

What are the city’s fencing and landscaping requirements? 

See Division 4. – Fencing and Landscaping Requirements.

Does the city have design/façade requirements? 

See Division 3. – Design Guidelines for the Main Street (MS) and Main Street Overlay (MSO) District. The City of La Porte does not enforce design guidelines for any zoning districts except Main Street, unless it’s a condition of a Special Conditional Use Permit (SCUP).

Does the City of La Porte restrict building sizes or acreage for industrial uses?  

Certain industrial uses (e.g. merchant wholesaler uses) are restricted to the following: Total site area may not exceed five acres with a maximum building size of 40,000 sq. ft. A conditional use permit (CUP) may be sought for individual sites in excess of five acres or buildings greater than 40,000 sq. ft. See Sec. 106-310. - Table A, Commercial & Industrial Uses, footnote 19. 

Can property be developed for storage or a laydown yard? 

The use of a property for storage or a laydown yard is determined by zoning. The property must be associated with a commercial business and developed to commercial standards. Storage/laydown yard use is not permitted in residential districts (R-1, R-2, R-3, LLD). See Section 106-444. – Commercial Performance Standards for outdoor storage requirements. 

Can I use the property to park heavy trucks/18 wheelers? 

Truck parking falls under NAICS code 484 and is only permitted in Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial zoning districts with adjacency to the High Frequency Truck Route. Refer to Sec. 106-746. - Location of heavy truck uses for information on high frequency truck roads.

Where can I build a truck stop in La Porte?

See Sec. 106-310. - Table A, Commercial & Industrial Uses, footnote 5.  A Truck Stop shall only be permitted in Business Industrial districts on truck routes along Barbour's Cut Boulevard, State Hwy 225 and State Highway 146 (north of Barbour's Cut Blvd). No construction of any kind shall be permitted within setbacks for BI zone.

How does the city regulate truck stops?

The City of La Porte defines trucks stops in the Zoning Ordinance, Sec. 106-1. – Definitions. Truck stop means a commercial/industrial use of property on one site for the refueling, maintenance and/or servicing of trucks and commercial motor vehicles and which may provide additional amenities for such vehicles and their drivers. Such establishments are authorized to have a maximum of any two of the following uses and/or features on site:(1) Dispensing of motor fuels and petroleum via high-capacity nozzles;(2) Separate fuel canopy for diesel only pumps;(3) Restaurant or cafe;(4) Shower/laundry facilities;(5) Truck servicing/repair;(6) Truck scales. Overnight truck parking is permitted only when in conjunction with truck servicing/repair use on site.

How does the City of La Porte regulate truck traffic and warehouses? 

General truck routes are governed by Chapter 70 of the City Code of Ordinances. High Frequency Truck Roads (HFTR) are governed by Chapter 106 (Sec. 106-746. – Location of heavy truck use). Uses categorized under NAICS codes 484110, 484121, 484220, 484230 (Trucking Terminals) and 493 (General Warehousing) must be located directly adjacent to a designated HFTR.

Where can I locate the appropriate Planning and Zoning Applications?

All Planning and Zoning applications are available on the Planning Department page at laportetx.gov.

How can I determine the zoning for a specific property?

See the City of La Porte's Zoning Map. Also visit the City's GIS Web App, accept the terms and conditions, turn on the Zoning Layer, and search addresses and places to view the color coded zoning districts. You are deleting "Land Use Layer - "text, adding the word "option", and deleting the comma between the words "places"  and "to". 

Can I run a business out of my home?

See Section 106-749.-Home occupation of the City of La Porte Code of Ordinances for city regulations governing home based businesses.