Construction Division
of Fire Prevention
City Hall, 1st Floor
300 South 5th Street
Paducah, KY 42001

About Zoning

Zoning regulates the use and development of land. It is designed to protect property values by preventing the location of incompatible uses in close proximity to each other. City Planning involves the development of programs, plans, and policies for the creation of a better community. The City Planning Department develops and administrates the Zoning Code, and it is one of the ways the planning is implemented. Zoning is enforced by the Fire Prevention Division

The Zoning Code, Section 126 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances, regulates the use and development of all private property in the City. The Zoning Code does not regulate the use of the public right-of-way including streets, sidewalks, trees, and lawn. Use of the public right-of-way is controlled by other chapters of the Code of Ordinances.

Zoning Map

Your residence or business property is located on a parcel (or in some cases several parcels) of land, and each parcel is assigned to a zoning district. There are 19 zoning classifications in Paducah which include categories of residential, civic center, office, business, downtown, industrial, conservation, and mixed use. Use the Maps button below to determine the zoning district of your property.


Links Under Zoning


The City of Paducah Online Services Portal is a 24-hour permitting and service request system. An account is required for permit and plan applications. Use the Online Services Portal to submit applications.

Apply for Plans and Permits

Conditional Use Permit

What is a Conditional Use?

Conditional Use is defined as a use which would not impair the public health, safety, or welfare in one or more zones, but which would impair the integrity and character of the zone in which it is located or in adjoining zones unless restrictions on location, size, extent and character of performance are imposed in addition to those imposed in the zoning regulations.  Conditional Uses are specifically listed in the Paducah Zoning Ordinance in each zone.  In addition to the approval of the Board of Adjustment, conditional uses must meet Planning Commission approval and meet certain minimum requirements which are found in Section 126-68 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances.  Public utility installations, government buildings and uses, churches and schools are allowed in all zones with a conditional use permit.  Contact Planning to discuss your proposal and the conditions required.

Procedure for Conditional Use Permits

The first step with any development should begin with contacting the Planning office to discuss your project and pick up an application.  Once your application is returned to the planning office, staff will review the request and then it will go before the Planning Commission.  The commission will make recommendations to the Board of Adjustment.  A public hearing must be conducted on the conditional use request.  A 14-day notice is required to be published in the Paducah Sun.  The Board of Adjustment will then conduct the meeting to either approve or deny the application.  The board may approve the Conditional Use based on some special conditions that must be adhered to in order for compliance.  The Board of Adjustment has the power to revoke the Conditional Use for non-compliance.  Following approval, a conditional use permit is issued and recorded in the County Court Clerk's office.  Approval of the conditional use permit does not exempt you from all other applicable codes. 

Demolition Control Zone

The Demolition Control Zone was put into place in order to protect Paducah's historic properties.  Before any building can be torn down in this zone, the applicant must submit a letter of intent and development plans to the Planning Director for review by a committee.  The committee consists of the Planning Director, the Chief Building Inspector, and the Chairperson of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission.  A majority of vote from this committee must be obtain before any building in this zone can be razed.  Note: Buildings that are deemed an emergency public safety threat may not go through this process.

Downtown Demolition Control Zone Map

Jefferson Street-Fountain Avenue Demolition Control Zone Map

Development Plan Amendment

Amendments to Approved Plans

Amendments to approved development plans can be made only by official Planning Commission action following a public hearing.  Content, format, and procedures shall be the same as for the original submission.  However, amendments which fully meet the requirements set forth hereinafter as minor amendments shall be approved and certified by the city without further action by the Planning Commission.

Minor amendments are intended to expedite approval in those situations where amendments are of minor significance and generally relate to the shifting of previously approved spaces.  Such amendments:

  • Shall not decrease the overall land area in wards or other open spaces;
  • Shall not increase building ground area coverage, floor area, or height, or increase the number of dwelling units;
  • Shall not change the location or cross section of any street and shall not increase the number or change the location of street access points on arterial or collector streets;
  • May include a reduction in parking spaces only when an associated reduction in floor area or number of dwelling units would permit a lesser number of minimum required off-street parking spaces than required for the original development plan. To qualify as a minor amendment this reduction may not be less than would be required by the zoning district regulations. For any case where parking in excess of the minimum requirement was provided on the original development plan, that same number of spaces shall be provided in excess of the minimum requirement for the proposed minor amendment plan.  

Procedures for Minor Amendments

  • Filing.  To request approval of minor amendments to development plans, the developer shall file with the City a completed application form, and copies of the plan as required by the terms and conditions of the city's application form.
  • Review.  The City shall review the plan for compliance with all applicable requirements and ordinances and shall consult with concerned agencies as appropriate to assure proper plan review.  Upon determination that all requirements have been met, city staff shall submit its finding to the Planning Commission Chair for certification. If any question arises as to compliance, however, the plan shall be referred to the Planning Commission.
  • Certification.  Upon certification of approval by the Planning Commission Chair, City staff shall have copies of the plan prepared and distributed to other public agencies and return the original plan tracing to the developer.

Content and Format of Minor Amendments

Minor amendments shall have the same content and format requirements as the original development plan, except that

  • The title shall indicate the plan as a minor amendment;
  • A note shall be added listing the exact nature of the requested changes;
  • The following will be the required language for the Planning Commission Chair's certification: "I do hereby certify that this development plan amendment complies with Zoning Ordinance provisions regarding amendments to development plans."
  • Owners of interest will complete a certification to be signed and witnessed as follows: "I (We) do hereby certify that I am (we are) the only owner(s) of the property shown hereon, and do adopt this as my (our) development plan for the property," which will be required language for all property.

Home Occupations or Home-Based Businesses

Home occupations are defined by the City Zoning Ordinance as any use conducted entirely within a dwelling and carried on solely by the occupants thereof, which use is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling purposes and does not change the character thereof, and in connection with which there is no display, no stock in trade, or outside storage of equipment nor commodity sold upon the premises and not more than two persons are to engage in such occupation. In no event shall a barbershop, beauty shop, tearoom, tourist home, or animal hospital be construed to be a home occupation.

Contact the Planning Department to determine if your intended use is considered to be a home occupation. This policy was intended to accommodate some types of Internet, computer, or telephone based business. However, other types of home-based business may qualify under this policy. 

Home Occupations are allowed as conditional uses in residential zones and principal uses in other zones. Additionally, the City has a policy that allows some types of low impact home-based business in residential areas. While the city's zoning ordinance does not permit commercial uses in residential zones, some incidental commercial use may be allowable. 

If a Conditional Use Permit is not obtainable then some commercial activity may be allowed if the following provisions are met: 

  • No employees.
  • No storage of stock or goods.
  • No customers may come to the residence.
  • No signs. 
  • No other advertising indicating that residence as a place of business.
  • Commercial use must be clearly incidental and subordinate to the residential use.
  • Owner must register name and address with the Planning Department.  Residence will be inspected within one year. Business License may be required. 
  • Issuance of any Business License does not infer or constitute zoning approval.

Non-Conforming Use

A Nonconforming Use is defined in Section 126-63 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances as an activity or building, sign, structure, or a portion thereof which lawfully existed before the adoption or amendment of the zoning regulation but which does not conform to all of the regulations contained in the zoning regulation which pertain to the zone in which it is located. This is commonly referred to "Grandfathering".  A nonconforming use, as defined, that existed before the adoption of the ordinance may be continued in the same manner. However, nonconforming rights may be forfeited if the nonconforming use has been abandoned.

If a change in use is proposed, a hearing before the Board of Adjustment must be held. An existing nonconforming use may be changed to a new nonconforming use in the same or more restrictive zone classification if you have approval from the Board of Adjustment. An expansion of a use or building on a nonconforming use lot is only allowed if the minimum yard and other requirements of that zone are met.

Contact the Department of Planning to find out if this applies to your project. Challenges to the decision involve an appeal to the Board of Adjustment for a ruling. After the Board of Adjustment decision is made, the decision may then be appealed to Circuit Court for a final ruling.


Zoning Variance - KRS 100.241 to KRS 100.251

A variance is defined as departure from the terms of the zoning regulations pertaining to height or width of structures and size of yard and open spaces where such departure will not be contrary to the public interest or cause any undue hardship. Dimensional requirements may be varied, but density and area requirements cannot.  Any development is subject to the minimum requirements for a particular zone. However, a variance may be granted by the Board of Adjustment if specific conditions, not caused by the owner, warrant special consideration. Certain elements sometimes exist that are unique and different from adjacent properties. In these cases, a variance might be justified. Variances are governed by KRS 100.241 - 100.251.

Procedures for Variance Request to the Board of Adjustment

  1. Meet with Planning Staff to review your proposal and determine whether a variance is needed or if any other reasonable alternatives exist.
  2. If you determine that there are no other reasonable alternatives, you may make an application for a variance to the Board of Adjustment.  Your application should include an application plus a site plan designed to the standards listed in the subdivision section pursuant to Section 102-32 of the Paducah Code of Ordinances.
  3. Once your application is returned to the Planning Department, the Planning staff reviews your application and the site plan to determine that all information is accurate.  You will be contacted if there is a need to supply additional information.  You should be aware that if you cannot make corrections before the Board of Adjustment meeting, your request may be delayed until the problem is resolved.
  4. Legal Notice Publication appears in the Paducah Sun at least 7 days prior to the meeting date.  Also, legal notice to all adjacent properties of the proposed variance is mailed by the Planning Department.
  5. Planning staff prepares packets for the Board of Adjustment.  The Board of Adjustment then holds the public hearing on your request.  The Chairman will call for a motion on the proposal and then ask you to present your request.  The Board members will then ask questions and make necessary comments.  The Chairman will then solicit comments from the public and from staff.  After all comments are heard and questions are asked, the Chairman then calls for a vote.  A majority vote is required of the Board for approval of a variance request.
  6. Upon approval, Planning staff will issue a Certificate of Land Use Restriction from the Board of Adjustment to the applicant as soon as possible after the meeting.  This certificate will be recorded at the County Court Clerk's office.  You may then apply for a building permit.

Zone Change Procedure

  1. Submit a Zone Change Application and formulate a preliminary development plan pursuant to Section 126-176. Talk with the Planning Department to help inform you of information the staff and Planning Commission may require in making a decision or to identify and resolve any potential conflicts. If you are requesting annexation and initial zoning, all areas within the proposed annexation must be assigned the initial zone R1. Then the property will be eligible to go through the rezoning process. Each non-contiguous area will be considered as separate, and a separate application must be filed.
  2. Submit your Zone Change application and the preliminary development plan in compliance with Section 126-176 to the Planning Department. The Planning and Engineering staff then reviews your preliminary plan for conformance to the regulations. Then your application will be processed and readied for the next possible public hearing of the Planning Commission. The Department of Planning makes a site review and prepares a staff report explaining your request. Existing zoning and land uses on your property and adjoining properties are mapped.
  3. A notice of the zoning request is published in the Paducah Sun. Adjacent property owners with 200 feet of the proposed change are notified by mail of the request. Signs are posted on the property indicating the proposed zoning change.  This provides the opportunity for public input.
  4. Packets containing all of the information, including the staff reports, are mailed to the Planning Commissioners in order that an informed decision can be made.
  5. A Planning Commission Public Hearing is held. At this meeting, the public gets an opportunity to speak directly to the Commissioners and voice their support or concerns pertaining to your project. The Planning Commission will then recommend approval or denial to the City Commission. The Commissioners may elect to table the application in lieu of more information.
  6. Once recommended by the Planning Commission, the City Commission introduces the Ordinance for the Proposed Map Amendment. This is the first of two readings of the ordinance.
  7. At the second meeting of the City Commission, the Ordinance for Proposed Map Amendment is read again. It is at this second meeting that the City Commission will approve or deny the ordinance. If the application is denied, you must wait a period of one year for resubmittal.
  8. After approval from the City Commission, the ordinance is recorded, and the Map Amendment is made. You may then submit final development plans for staff review.