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  • Zoning and Codes Administration
  • City of Clemson Zoning Ordinance
  • E911 Addressing
  • New Business and Construction Activities
  • Other Code Issues
  • What is My Property Zoned

Zoning and Codes Administration

The Zoning and Codes Administration Division is charged with the administration of the City Zoning Ordinance along with various other city codes related to land development and/or property maintenance. The Rental Housing Ordinance, Short Term Rental Ordinance, and the International Property Maintenance Code are three of these related ordinances.

Zoning and Codes Administration Staff
Jacob Peabody, Zoning and Codes Administrator:
Hunnicutt Lindsay, Code Enforcement Officer:

City of Clemson Zoning Ordinances

The Zoning Ordinance regulates land use and was established to implement the land use element of the comprehensive plan. It provides minimum standards for building setbacks, parking, landscaping, and other related land use issues. The Zoning and Codes Administrator is responsible for the day-to-day administration and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.

A copy of the City of Clemson Code of Ordinances on the City Municipal Codes website. (Chapter 19 contains the zoning information.) Call the City Planning and Codes staff at (864) 653-2050 to learn of any proposed text amendments.

Zoning Map
The Official Zoning Map establishes the boundaries for the various zoning districts located in the City of Clemson. In order to determine the applicable zoning districts for a particular piece of property, please refer to this map. For the most up to date information, contact the Zoning and Codes Administrator.

Sign Regulations
Division 3 of the City Zoning Ordinance contains the City Sign Regulations. Sign permits are required prior to the installation of business identification signs, wall mount signs, and certain other types of signage. Permit applications should be submitted with a site plan and signage details, including sign rendering.

Home Occupation Applications
A home occupation (19-302) is a business or hobby conducted by the residents of a home subject to the limitations and conditions outlined in the City Zoning Ordinance. An application for home occupation must be submitted and approved before a business license will be issued.

Zoning Text Amendments
The language of the Zoning Ordinance cannot be changed except by formal amendment by City Council. Persons interested in seeking a change must make a request to the Planning Commission or to City Council for consideration of a change. If either body feels a change may be acceptable, the Planning Division staff will be instructed to prepare a draft amendment for review by the Planning Commission. All amendments require a recommendation from the Planning Commission as to whether it should be adopted. City Council must then hold a public hearing and consider the measure through two readings of the ordinance.

Amendments to the Zoning Map/Rezoning
The Zoning Map is a legal part of the Zoning Ordinance and can only be amended by City Council. Any change to the Zoning Map requires a recommendation from the Planning Commission to City Council. You need to complete the Planning Commission Zoning Amendment Application to be placed on the Planning Commission agenda for discussion. If the Commission recommends the amendment, it will be brought before Council, who must then hold a public hearing before approving the amendment through two readings of the ordinance (Article VIII).

Planned Development District Request
A Planned Development (PD) district is established by a similar process to the Rezoning amendment process outlined above. In the case of a PD, the applicant is seeking to establish a mixed use zoning designation unique to a specific piece of property, so additional public meetings and detailed plans/submittals are required. A pre-application meeting is mandatory for a PD and can be scheduled by contacting one of the Planning Division staff.
Planning Commission Planned Development Application Form 1
Planning Commission Planned Development Application Form 2
Planning Commission Planned Development Application Form 3

E911 Addressing

In order to maintain and promote public safety, the City of Clemson operates an E-911 system. A uniform property addressing system forms the basis of this program. Every property in the city has been assigned a unique street address that allows emergency responders and the general public to quickly identify the correct location. The Zoning and Codes Administration is responsible for maintaining these records and for assigning new addresses as the need arises.

These duties include:

  • New street names are approved by the Planning Commission to be sure they do not duplicate existing names in the system.
  • Requests to change the names of existing streets are approved by the Planning Commission.
  • The Planner assigns addresses to new construction consistent with the approved numbering scheme.
  • Notification of all new addresses, new street names, or changes is sent to emergency response agencies, Pickens County and/or Anderson County, the US Post Office, and others involved in the 911 program.

New Business and Construction Activities

Our Department Staff is available to assist anyone looking to start, expand, or relocate a business within the City of Clemson. The frequently asked questions and information provided below may help with initial planning, but it is intended only as a guide as each situation is unique and usually requires us to answer specific questions. We work closely with all city departments and will appropriately direct you to other personnel as your needs dictate.

Will I need a permit?
When you construct a new building, add to an existing building, alter the interior, make repairs, or otherwise rehabilitate a structure, you will need to apply for the appropriate permits. Costs associated with these are listed in the Permit Fee Schedule.

Why do I need to know the Zoning and other land use requirements of the property?
The City Zoning Ordinance regulates land use and is always the starting point in the permit process. You must first determine if your proposed business is allowed on the property of interest. The zoning standards vary by district and not all districts allow commercial activities. Other codes such as the building codes and fire codes will also apply.

What if the current zoning or land use does not meet my needs?
If the zoning does not permit your proposed use, you will not be able to proceed unless the zoning standards and/or map are amended to allow your business. Amending the Zoning Ordinance and/or Map requires the City Council to adopt an ordinance making a change after they have received a recommendation from the Planning Commission. This can take several months, and the final result is dependent on the public process. For further information, please contact the Planning and Codes Administration Department at (864) 653-2050.

What can you tell me about all the other city requirements, such as parking, landscaping, height restrictions, etc?
The parking, landscaping, signage, dimensional standards, and similar requirements are contained in the Zoning Ordinance. The specific standards vary by district and use. For example, the parking requirements for a grocery store will not be the same as for a hotel. Other codes that need to be considered are the building and fire codes.

Who does the building inspections, and how is that governed?
The City of Clemson has adopted the International Building Codes as required by the State of South Carolina. The Chief Building and Fire Official is the primary staff member charged with the administration and enforcement of these regulations.

What is the process for obtaining the required inspections?
If you are constructing a new building or performing significant alterations, your contractor must be properly licensed within the State of South Carolina and have a City of Clemson Business License. All inspections must be successfully completed before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. If you plan to open your business in an existing building where no permitted work is required, the Fire Marshal must inspect the building to ensure all fire and life safety requirements are met.

Do I need a Business License and how much does it cost?
A business license is required to operate any business in the City of Clemson. The fee for a license is based upon the type of business and the gross income of the business as stated in the City Business License Ordinance. Click here for Business License Fee Schedule and to complete an online application or download the Business License Application form

What do I need for a Business License?
Our Fire Marshal will complete a Life Safety Checklist and an application form that must also be signed by the Zoning and Codes Administrator. Once this is done, you may file for your Business License. All new construction must have passed a final inspection by the Building Official and received a Certificate of Occupancy prior to our Fire Marshal’s inspection.

What if I’m a going to serve food?
For regulations regarding food preparation and service, contact the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) at (864) 467-8918. DHEC may require separate inspections. Call early to determine your best course of action. To determine if you need to upgrade or install a new grease trap, contact our Utility Supervisor at (864) 653-2046 before you begin any work.

Who do I ask about stormwater management and public utilities?
New construction and renovations may require stormwater management. These may include on-site retention/detention facilities, sediment and erosion control measures, and other site engineering necessary to support the new development. The City Engineer is responsible for enforcing and administrating these regulations. The City provides water and sewer utility service. Other utility providers serving the City include Duke Power, Fort Hill Natural Gas, AT&T, Northland Cable, and all major cellular phone providers.

What about sanitation services?
Sanitation services with the City of Clemson are coordinated by the Department of Public Works. This includes solid waste collection, recycling, and placement of solid waste containers/dumpsters.

What other regulations do I need to know?
Every business or development is unique in its own way. Please contact one of our department staff at your earliest convenience so that we can help find the best way to ensure your questions are answered and to ensure you have the best information possible to allow you to make an informed decision.

Other Code Issues

In addition to the Zoning Ordinance, the Planning and Codes Administration Department is responsible for administering and enforcing the following regulations:

The International Property Maintenance Code
The primary purpose of this code is to ensure the proper maintenance of the exterior of private properties and the associated grounds. Key sections of this ordinance include:

  • requirements for demolition of hazardous structures
  • procedures for the disposition of derelict vehicles
  • standards regarding overgrown grass or weeds (maximum 10")
  • infestations of insects and vermin
  • standards for safe ingress/egress to structures

Flood Damage Ordinance
The Flood Damage Ordinance regulates areas within the City that are in designated flood zones. These regulations are federally mandated and subject to the oversight of FEMA. The ordinance covers new construction or alteration to existing structures in these flood zones as shown on the Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) provided by FEMA. Participation in this program is mandatory so that the City and its residents are protected by flood insurance. Structures built in one of the flood zones must be at least one foot above the base elevation established by FIRM. A survey with elevations will be required as part of the permitting process.

What is My Property Zoned?

If you own property in the City of Clemson and are in Anderson County, your property is zoned "R-20, Single-Household Residential."

If you own property in Pickens County, follow these instructions to determine what your property is zoned:

Step 1. Click here to be directed to the Pickens County Tax Assessor’s website where you can search by property owner’s name, location address, tax map number, etc.

Step 2. Click on "Real Property Search."

Step 3. If searching by address, go to Location Address and enter number and street name. Do not include street extension such as Avenue, Circle, Trail, etc.

Step 4. Under the Summary you will see the category Zoning. This is the Zoning designation for your property.

Step 5. Double check to make sure your zone matches the zoning designation on the Official City of Clemson Zoning Map.

*The Official City of Clemson Zoning Map shows the official zoning. Where the map and Pickens County records differ, always refer to the Official City of Clemson Zoning Map. If you have any questions, contact the Planning and Codes office at (864) 653-2050.

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