Comprehensive Planning

The Bay County Comprehensive Plan, updated in 2009, includes a Future Land Use Map that assigns land use designations (e.g., "Residential", "Commercial", etc.) to all parcels of land in unincorporated Bay County. A series of maps also identifies Service Areas, Special Treatment Zones, Military Influence Areas, and the West Bay Detailed Specific Area Plan. A complete list of maps is contained in the Plan. The text of the Plan contains the goals, objectives, and polices representing the adopted growth management strategies to guide future development in Bay County. The text also contains strategies to promote economic development, provide open space and recreational opportunities, conserve and protect environmental resources, and insure the adequate provision of utilities and infrastructure.

The Land Development Regulations (LDRs), implement the Comprehensive Plan by the establishment of zoning categories consistent with Future Land Use Map (e.g., “R-1" Single Family residential, “C-1” Neighborhood Commercial, etc.). Each zoning category in the LDRs is assigned a density (number of dwelling units per acre), intensity (floor-area and impervious surface ratios), minimum building setbacks, maximum building heights, and other bulk standards. Meeting with the Planning and Zoning Division staff prior to purchasing property or starting a plan of development is advised to insure receiving accurate and complete land use and zoning information on property in unincorporated Bay County.

The Planning and Zoning Division accepts Large Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment applications in April and December of each year. These amendments consist of any Future Land Use Map change over 10 acres or any Plan text amendment. This process can take approximately three to five months. Small Scale Plan Amendments (land use changes of 10 acres or less) and zone change applications are processed concurrently on a year-round basis. Public hearings are scheduled before the Planning Commission acting as an advisory body to the Board of County Commissioners to consider these applications. The Bay County Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Regulations can be viewed on-line at http://www.baycountyfl.gov/planning.php. Inquires may be directed to Planning and Zoning staff at 850-248-8250.

Development Review

The Planning and Zoning Division reviews all developments excluding single family homes. Developments are reviewed for consistency with the Bay County Land Development Regulations.

The County Planning and Zoning Division reviews commercial/industrial developments, multi-family residential, and subdivisions within unincorporated Bay County. Individual single-family houses are not included in the development review process. These are handled solely by the Builders Services Division.

It is recommended that the Development Review Process begin with a pre-application conference with staff, which is typically very informal. Next, the applicant submits a complete Application for Development Order, 4 sets of plans, and the applicable fee. Applicants are provided a Submittal Checklist to help them through the application process.

After the applicant submits the completed "Application for Development Order", staff reviews the application and attached material for completeness and compliance with County development standards. If the application is incomplete and/or the application does not meet County requirements, the applicant is notified in writing.

At this point, the applicant may withdraw the application, provide the requested information or if applicable, apply for a variance from the County's LDRs.

If the applicant does not apply for a variance from the County's LDRs, subsequent submittal of additional information is reviewed until the application is determined to be complete, withdrawn, or voided. Once the application is complete, a Development Order may be issued.

It is important to note the applicant must apply for an address prior to the issuance of a Development Order. Once an applicant has obtained a Development Order, the document itself, two sets of plans, and any other appropriate documentation are provided to the Builders Services Division so the building permit process can begin.

Planning and Zoning Division staff can be contacted at 850-248-8250.

Concurrency Management System

The Bay County Concurrency Management System (CMS) contains Adopted Level of Service Standards and Maximum Service Volumes for County and State Road segments monitored by the County. Existing volumes are listed for most segments and project generated trips from developments are listed once approved. The Bay County Concurrency Management System reserves trips on a daily basis, which in turn may affect the level of service of the roadway segments.

Please be advised that the information on this document is used for concurrency purposes after the date listed in the document, the number of reserved trips, as well as the level of service and available capacity for roadway segments may have changed due to additional development approved in the area.

View the Concurrency Management System »


The Planning and Zoning Division issues or reviews the following permits (many of these are accessible online):

  • On-premise sign
  • Off-premise sign
  • Artificial reef
  • Tree removal
  • Land clearing
  • Grading