Zoning Administration

Zoning Administration Division

Zoning administration is a critical component of the Inspections Program, and all building permit reviews start with a zoning determination. Zoning determines if a certain type of use can be undertaken at the proposed location, how much land is required for that use, how high a building can be, how much parking is required, and many other factors related to land development. 

New Land Use Zoning Ordinance
On November 9, 2020, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt a new land use code (zoning ordinance), which went into effect on December 1, 2020. This Phase I ReCode process has streamlined, modernized, and reformatted the code. Further updates are planned in the Phase II revisions, which will better align the code with the goals of the City Comprehensive Plan (Portland's Plan 2030). Please visit the ReCode website for more details and to follow the Phase II process.

Please click here for the previous version of Chapter 14 Land Use Code. This version is no longer in effect and was superseded by the new version that went into effect on December 1, 2020. 

Zoning Questions? 
​Please start with the Zoning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. If you still have questions after reading the FAQ, then please email zoning@portlandmaine.gov with your specific questions. 

Zone and Text Changes

Not all developments fit neatly into the rules, so appeals and variances are necessary so that property owners and developers have options and will be treated fairly in accordance with city policy. The Zoning Board of Appeals reviews and rules on these requests.

Note: Residents and property owners within 500 feet of the proposed development are mailed a notice, and a legal advertisement is placed in the local newspaper at the applicant’s expense.

Ordinance Interpretations & Variances

Ordinance interpretations are made by the Zoning Administrator, Room 315, City Hall. If an applicant disagrees with the interpretation for a given application, an appeal may be filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals. In some cases, an applicant may also file a hardship appeal for a variance to zoning provisions.