Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Planning

Development Services Building

171 N Ross St

Justice Wahid Cotton

Justice Wahid Cotton

planning director

Q: How is Auburn identifying the existing and future student rental housing market conditions in the City?
A: The Planning staff carefully monitors the status of multiple unit developments including "purpose-built" student housing in the City. In October 2011, the City Council adopted CompPlan 2030, which provided a solid foundation for future land use and development decision-making. The plan document recommended a detailed study of multi-family developments in the City to inventory the current supply and determine the future demand for additional development. During the Fall of 2012, the City commissioned the Danter Company to conduct a student and market-rate apartment analysis. The original study was completed in March 2013. In May 2015, the Danter Company provided an updated report.

Q: How do I find out how a piece of property is zoned?
A: The quickest way to determine which zoning district a piece of property is located is to visit the Planning Department, and staff will locate the property on the current zoning map. Staff may also be able to assist you over the telephone if you can accurately describe the property by address or tax parcel number.

Q: I am opening a new business in Auburn. Do I need to get a permit for my business sign?
A: Yes. You must permit all signs for your new business. Please contact the Auburn Planning Department as limits to the size and height of signs are applied. The sign permit application can be found on the Fees and Forms page.

Q: I want to put a utility building in my residential backyard. Do I need to get City approval?
A: Yes. All accessory structures (utility buildings, detached carports, playhouses, etc.) must be reviewed by City staff to determine if the proposed structure meets setbacks and building codes requirements. A permit for construction is required even if the storage building is pre-fabricated. Please contact the Planning Department for more information.

Q: I want to run a business out of my home. Does the City have special requirements?
A: Yes. You must obtain a home occupation certificate from the Planning Department and a City of Auburn business license from the Finance Department. If you own the residence, please provide us with a copy of your deed. If you rent your residence, please provide us with a notarized letter from the property owner/property manager authorizing you to have a business at your residential address. The home occupation application can be found on the Fees and Forms page.

Q: What are your operating hours?
A: The Planning Department is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Q: I want to purchase a copy of the City's Zoning Ordinance. Where do I purchase it and how much does it cost?
A: A copy of the Zoning Ordinance is $25.00. The Ordinance can be purchased at the Planning Department. You may also download it from our website at

Q: How often does the Planning Commission meet?
A: The Planning Commission meets monthly, generally on the second Thursday of each month. For a current calendar schedule, click here.

Q: How can I find out who owns a piece of property?
A: Contact the Lee County Tax Collectors office at the Lee County Courthouse. They keep current records of property owners and sales transactions for property tax purposes. Their office is located at the Lee County Courthouse, 215 South 9th Street, Opelika AL 36801. The phone number is (334) 745-9786.