The city’s zoning code regulates how land may be used inside Elkins. This code divides Elkins into sections, or zones, and stipulates the kinds of businesses, housing arrangements, and buildings that are and are not allowed in each. (Find the new zoning code, zoning map, and zoning use table–which lists the allowed uses for each zone–at the bottom of this page.)
The Elkins zoning code was updated via ordinance on August 18, 2022. Prior to this update, this code had not been significantly changed since the 1970s. Because of the comprehensive nature of the 2022 update, it is not possible to summarize all changes on this page. Some of the most significant new provisions are:
- Rules about type, size, and placement of signs
- Restrictions against conversion of commercial storefronts into residences
- Requirements for “buffers” between commercial areas and residences, such as landscaping or fence
- Regulations that affect where and how short-term rentals may be operated
- The opportunity to operate no- and low-impact businesses in neighborhoods previously limited to residences
The 2022 zoning code does not impose historic-preservation requirements.
The city’s zoning officer enforces the zoning code, including issuing permits required by the code. By council resolution, these duties have been assigned to the city’s Building Inspection & Code Enforcement Department.
The 2022 zoning code imposes various permit requirements. Applications for some of these permits are available below. There are additional permitting requirements under the new law for which permit applications have not yet been finalized. Please check with the zoning officer (contact information at bottom of page) to ensure you are aware of all permitting requirements and check back for updates on this page.
No building or structure shall be constructed, erected, expanded, enlarged, or otherwise structurally altered until a zoning permit has been issued by the Zoning Officer. See zoning code section 21-12.
The keeping of chickens and other fowl is permitted as an accessory use to a dwelling, provided that the number of fowl shall not exceed six (6) and subject to certain provisions. Roosters are prohibited. See zoning code section 21-95(e).
The 2022 zoning code “grandfathers” previously existing, legal uses.
This means that, even if the new code prohibits a certain type of business in a certain zone, a business of that type that was legally operating in that location before adoption of the 2022 code would be allowed to continue doing so in a status known as a “non-conforming use.”
Any existing legally operated multi-family rental properties would also be able to continue operating, even if located in a zone that the new law reserves for single-family dwellings.
Again, the now non-conforming use must have been legal prior to adoption of the 2022 code. This means that, in the case of a business, it must at least have been issued a city business license in the location where it would now be considered non-conforming prior to August 19, 2022. (The mere issuance of a business license is insufficient to establish that the given business was legally operated in the given location. If it is determined that the business license was issued in error, the business will not be “grandfathered.”)
Short- and long-term rentals are considered businesses and require a city business license, in addition to other requirements.