Guidelines & Policies

Guidelines & Policies

Planning Division


The state Legislature has given municipalities and counties authority to regulate land development for public health, safety, economic development, aesthetics, order, convenience and general welfare. Johnson City also has subdivision regulation authority in its planning region that extends into parts of Sullivan County, Washington County and Carter County.

What We Regulate

Johnson City has adopted different regulations that are applicable to land development. These, among other municipal laws, include:

  • Zoning Ordinance that sets forth regulations and standards relating to the nature and extent of land uses and structures, which is intended to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan of the City, and includes a Zoning Map
  • Subdivision Regulations, which control the division of land into lots and the construction of infrastructure such as streets, water and sewer lines, and stormwater management system in the City limits and the planning region.
  • Stormwater Ordinance, which regulates the management of stormwater in the City.
  • Building Codes that generally regulate building design, construction, and maintenance.
View frequently requested information on site plans, annexation petitions, fences, home occupations, buffers, signs, zoning and much more.


Guidelines are official policies that provide recommendations as specified by City Commission, Planning Commission, Historic Zoning Commission, etc directives, the Land Use Plan or another element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Before You Start Grading or Building

Before grading or other land-disturbing activities, property owners should contact the Planning and Development Services Department to determine what work, if any, may occur without an approved site construction plan.

Existing developed properties that propose expansions to the existing development are required to submit a development plan prior to any land disturbing activity. The details needed in the plans depend on the scale of the proposed expansion.  

Please, contact the Development Coordinator in the Development Services Department at (423) 423-6073 for additional information before you begin construction.

Changing the Use of a Building or Property

All changes of use are subject to all zoning regulations including land use, parking, signage, etc. The City will review changes of use for compliance with zoning standards.

For questions regarding zoning and whether your proposed change of use will comply, call the Planning Division at (423) 434-6047.