Planning, Building, and Zoning

The Development Services Department manages all building regulations in the City, including permitting, building inspections, zoning, planning, and GIS mapping.  

Residential Permits

When making changes to an existing home, the first question for residents to answer is whether they need a building permit.  Generally, permits are required for the following (click on each link for more information):

New home construction requires a separate process than existing homes.

A Building Permit Application must be completed and a permit fee paid prior to the permitting of a project.   During and after the construction period, the City will conduct inspections according to the type of permit:

After all construction work and inspections are complete, the City will issue a final project approval.  

Commercial Permits

Commercial construction projects must complete a Building Permit Application and pay a permit fee.  The following documents will aid in the commercial permitting process:

A certificate of occupancy is required whenever there is a change of use and/or ownership of an existing commercial building.

Alcohol Permitting and Licensing

Businesses engaged in the sale of alcohol must apply for a permit and license.  To register for one year, a business must bring their TABC permit to the Development Services Center and pay the permit fee.

Contractor Registration

All licensed contractors that perform work within Athens city limits must be registered with the City.  To register, contractors must complete and submit a Contractor Registration Form.

Burn Permits

All burning inside the Athens city limits requires a burn permit application be submitted.  All burn permit inspections will be completed by the Fire Marshal. 


All property within the Athens city limits is zoned for one or multiple uses.  These uses are codified in the Athens Zoning Ordinance.  Additionally, the Athens Zoning Map is a visual representation of the zoning status for all properties in the city.

Zoning Changes/Variances

Property owners may apply to rezone their property by completing a Zoning Change Application .  Additionally, requests for variances to zoning requirements can be made by submitting a Zoning Variance Application .


For land divisions or plat applications, you will need to fill out a Plat Application.


The City of Athens adopted a Comprehensive Plan in 1999 to guide the long-term development of the City.  The Comprehensive Plan guides zoning and land use, transportation planning, growth management and similar long-range planning efforts.  Questions about the comprehensive plan should be directed to the Development Services Department.


More Information

For more information, contact:

Development Services

501 Highway 175 West
Athens, TX 75751

(903) 677-6615