Planning & Development

The Planning & Development department coordinates planning, zoning, and construction activities. We look forward to helping you achieve your goal - adding onto your house; renovating a commercial tenant space; obtaining/renewing your OTC business license; rezoning property; constructing a new building; or another project.

The department includes the City Clerk, Connie Keeling, who serves as the City's official record keeper. The City Clerk is the Elections Superintendent and maintains agreements, contracts, ordinances, resolutions, etc.

No plat of a land subdivision in the City shall be entitled to be recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of Bartow County unless it has the approval of the zoning administrator or his/her designated representative (Cartersville Development Regulations section 7.5-6).

* Free Wi-Fi is available on the downtown public square.
* The Downtown Business District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
* The State Minimum Codes effective January 1, 2015 are included as a link in the Development section.
* Signs placed in a public right-of-way are prohibited per Sign Ordinance section 20-22.
* For public meetings (ACB, BZA, HPC, PC, Council) a case representative should attend the meeting. If no one attends, the case may be tabled.

Community Services
The Community Services Division processes licenses and coordinates permits, inspections, and code enforcement.

The development review process is a mechanism for developers, builders, engineers/designers, and others to meet with City department representatives to discuss projects.

The General Contractor and subcontractors must comply with the current edition of the International Building Code as adopted by the State Secretary of State.

The planning function is the implementation of the policies, goals, and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan. Results-oriented planning enhances industrial recruitment, downtown development, and quality of life.

Zoning helps implement land-use and development policies. Due to the nature of the procedures (legal ads, public posting, public hearings, etc), zoning is the most visible function of the development process.

Department personnel provide staff assistance to the following:
  • Alcohol Control Board
  • Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Planning Commission
Cartersville, the county seat for Bartow County, is 45 miles northwest of Atlanta on Interstate 75 (exits 288, 290, 293). The City, named for early 1800s Georgia entrepreneur Colonel Farish Carter, is 30 square miles in size. The 2013 Census population estimates were 20,001 for Cartersville and 101,273 for all of Bartow County.

Five local historic districts have been adopted: Cherokee-Cassville, Downtown Business District, Granger Hill, Olde Town, and West End. Before you may obtain a building permit in a historic district, the following require approval from the Historic Preservation Commission: demolition; exterior modifications & additions; and new structures over 200 square feet. New signs & fences require approval if they do not meet Sign & Zoning Ordinance standards.

In an effort to encourage new quality development, the Business Park Overlay District and Main Street Overlay District have been adopted.

Department staff assist in an effort to encourage revitalization in older residential and nonresidential areas. The northwest (N. Erwin St, Porter St, Donn Dr) and south (S. Erwin St, Industrial Dr, River Dr) industrial areas have been designated Opportunity Zones for State job tax credits.

Building Permits
  • Submit (3) paper copies and (1) electronic copy in PDF format of building plans to the Planning & Development office. The Electronic copy may be submitted on CD at the time of the paper copy submittals or e-mailed to The Building Official and Fire Marshall review building plans.
  • A contractor must be State-licensed and show a current City or County business license (anywhere in Georgia). If the homeowner applies for the permit, a business license may not be required.
  • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire sprinkler contractors must show a copy of your business and State license to obtain a permit.
  • Asbestos reports and a business license are required for a demolition permit. If a homeowner requests this permit, just submit an asbestos report. If asbestos is found, the removal process must be noted.
  • For a historic district property, a Certificate of Preservation must be obtained from the HPC before a building permit will be issued.
  • City department representatives must approve and sign-off on the building permit application before a permit is issued.
Civil (construction) Plans
  • Before submitting civil plans, a concept meeting is recommended. Held on Tuesday mornings, these meetings help project reps with the process. Call 770-387-5600 with questions.
  • After the concept meeting, submit 7 copies of plans, check for applicable fees (PDF fee schedule on this page), copy of the hydrology study if applicable, and completed land disturbance permit application.
  • Plans will be reviewed and comments given to engineers 2 weeks after the plans are received.
  • For revised plans, submit 7 copies and $50 resubmittal fee. Comments will be given one week after they are received.
  • Erosion and Sediment Control Plans must be designed by a certified professional with Level II certification.  The certification number must be placed on the cover sheet of the civil plans.
  • A sidewalk having a minimum width of 5 feet is required for all new nonresidential developments and residential subdivisions (not required for one new single-family house).
  • Plans for projects involving one (1) or more disturbed acres must be designed according to State EPD standards for either GAR 100001 (nonresidential) or GAR 100003 (residential).
Fences, Trees, and Walls
Below are fence requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. A permit is NOT required for a fence or wall, or to cut down a tree.
  • If a proposed or newly installed fence or wall does not meet Zoning Ordinance standards, a variance must be obtained.
  • In residential districts, fences and walls shall not exceed 4 feet in height in a front yard (road frontages - even if a lot has two or three frontages) and 8 feet in a side or rear yard.
  • In commercial districts, fences and walls shall not exceed 8 feet in height in a side or rear yard.
  • In residential and commercial districts, front yard fences (road frontages - even if two or three frontages) or walls shall be decorative, not opaque (4 inch slat separation), and brick, stone, wood, wrought iron, or other as approved by department director.
  • No fence or wall shall be constructed of exposed concrete blocks, tire, junk, or other discarded materials.
  • Chain-link fencing is not allowed in the front yard (road frontages - even if a lot has two or three frontages) of a residential or commercial zoned property unless a variance is approved.
  • For a residential corner lot or double frontage lot on a local road only, a screening or opaque fence may be installed to the rear of the house at a max height of 8 feet provided that the fence shall not be in the front yard setback (20 ft from property line).
  • The fencing standards shall not apply to fencing for detention ponds.
  • In residential & commercial districts, razor wire/ribbon is prohibited.
  • In residential and commercial districts, a retaining wall cannot have exposed concrete block.
Review new signs with City staff before ordering a sign to ensure compliance with Sign Ordinance standards.
  • Electronic signs (where allowed) shall be static, changed instantaneously, through dissolve or fade transitions, or other transitions not having the appearance of moving text or images.
  • Electronic freestanding signs are not allowed in the Downtown Business District (DBD) and not allowed on residential properties.
  • Electronic freestanding signs are allowed on a limited basis on nonresidential use properties on certain roads (see Sign Ordinance) and, where allowed, may not exceed 50% of total sign face.
  • Electronic wall signs are not allowed in the City limits.
  • Electronic window signs may be no greater than four (4) square feet in size, shall be static, and do not require a permit.