Frequently Asked Questions - Planning & Zoning

Planning & Zoning

Under Arkansas State Statutes, Fort Smith may extend its zoning jurisdiction two miles outside of its city limits. Because of the location of the Cities of Bonanza and Greenwood, Fort Smith will not be extending zoning jurisdiction the full two miles. Instead, the limit will stop where the Greenwood and Bonanza districts begin. Cities also have the right to extend subdivision control within five miles of their city limits. The cities of Fort Smith, Greenwood and Bonanza have already extended this control to a certain extent.


Under subdivision control, the way the subdivision is designed (roads, utilities, building lots) are controlled. The zoning control being considered will regulate the actual use of the land.


No, this will have no effect on property taxes, sales tax, utility franchise tax or any other type of tax.


No, the zoning does not alter school district boundaries. Some children currently in the city limits of Fort Smith are not in the Fort Smith school district and attend the Greenwood Schools.


No, this is about zoning and regulating land uses near the City, not about annexation.


No, building permits will not be required. However, in order to administer the zoning uses, a land use permit will be required.


This does not affect your current land uses. You can continue any existing land use that currently exists, such as residential or commercial activities.


No. However, any changes in property uses (for example, from residential to commercial) will require the property owner to apply for a zoning change. This process will include notice to surrounding property owners and a public hearing before the Fort Smith

Planning Commission and Board of City Directors. The zone change request will be approved or denied based on the merits of the request.


Sebastian County has no zoning or land use controls. Arkansas law delegates zoning and subdivision control to cities such as Fort Smith, Greenwood and Bonanza.


Zoning promotes orderly growth by dividing property into zones. Within those zones the character and location of buildings and grounds are regulated. Some objectives of these regulations include the following:

1. Stabilization and conservation of property values.

2. Protection of streets, schools and utilities from overloading.

3. Provide locations for each land use which are properly related to traffic, utilities and other land uses.

4. Separating conflicting types of traffic by the proper relation of land uses.

The City of Fort Smith will help to regulate land uses in the extra territorial zoning district, which will help to protect and maintain property values. Currently no entity or persons assist with the regulation of land uses in the unincorporated areas of the County. No other City services such as police or fire will be provided.


A significantly detrimental land use could move next to your property which could affect your standard of living and your property values. As an example, imagine a heavy commercial, industrial or multi-family project being placed next to your property. Currently there are no governmental entities or regulations to prevent this from happening.


No, the only City Ordinances that would be enforced are those that regulate land uses and controls.


You can contact the City of Fort Smith Planning Department at 784-2216 or at our e-mail address

A Home Occupation may be permitted with limitations by Planning Commission approval. Please read the City’s regulations for a Home Occupation and contact the Planning Division if you need further assistance.


The City of Fort Smith requires every business to have a license. The Planning Division must approve the zoning before a business inside the city limits can open for operation. This process is to verify that the business is allowed to operate in a specific zoning district. Following the zoning check, the location will be subject to certain life and safety code inspections. Please contact the Planning Division if you require further assistance.


The zoning of a property indicates the uses permitted on your property, where buildings and other structures may be located, how large a building can be, and other pertinent land use regulations adopted by the City. The zoning restrictions can be found in the Unified Development Ordinance. Please visit the Planning Division for more information.


The City's shows the zoning of each property inside the city limits. Please visit this link.

The Planning Division posts agendas and meeting minutes for the Planning Commission on the Planning Commission website. If you cannot find a specific meeting, please contact the planning division for assistance.