2015 International Zoning Code

2015 International Zoning Code

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The most current reference guide for promoting uniformity and consistency in zoning is now available. The 2015 INTERNATIONAL ZONING CODE provides comprehensive coverage of the various provisions and requirements, making it a must-have for city planners, code officials, and developers alike.



Internationally, code officials recognize the need for consistent and uniform zoning ordinances. The International Zoning Code, in this 2015 edition, is designed to meet this need through model code regulations that safeguard the public health and safety in all communities, large and small.

This comprehensive zoning code establishes minimum regulations for zoning ordinances. This 2015 edition is fully compatible with all of the International Codes (I-Codes) published by the International Code Council (ICC), including the International Building Code, International Energy Conservation Code, International Existing Building Code, International Fire Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Green Construction Code, International Mechanical Code, ICC Performance Code, International Plumbing Code, International Private Sewage Disposal Code, International Property Maintenance Code, International Residential Code, International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, and International Wildland-Urban Interface Code.

The International Zoning Code provides many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for code officials and other interested parties to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.


The first edition of the International Zoning Code (1998) was the culmination of an effort initiated in 1996 by a code development committee appointed by ICC and consisting of representatives of the three statutory members of the International Code Council at that time: Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI). The intent was to draft a comprehensive set of zoning regulations for jurisdictions that have a need for a zoning ordinance and desire that it be compatible with the model codes adopted by the jurisdiction. This 2015 edition presents the code as originally issued, with changes reflected through the previous 2012 edition. A new edition of the code is promulgated every 3 years.

This code is founded on principles intended to establish provisions consistent with the scope of a zoning code that adequately protects public health, safety and welfare; provisions that do not unnecessarily increase construction costs; provisions that do not restrict the use of new materials, products or methods of construction; and provisions that do not give preferential treatment to particular types or classes of materials, products or methods of construction.


The International Code Council maintains a copyright in all of its codes and standards. Maintaining copyright allows ICC to fund its mission through sales of books, in both print and electronic formats. The International Zoning Code is designed for adoption and use by jurisdictions that recognize and acknowledge the ICC’s copyright in the code, and further acknowledge the substantial shared value of the public/private partnership for code development between jurisdictions and the ICC.

The ICC also recognizes the need for jurisdictions to make laws available to the public. All ICC codes and ICC standards, along with the laws of many jurisdictions, are available for free in a nondownloadable form on the ICC’s website. Jurisdictions should contact the ICC at adoptions@iccsafe.org to learn how to adopt and distribute laws based on the International Zoning Code in a manner that provides necessary access, while maintaining the ICC’s copyright. iv


The International Zoning Code is kept up to date through the review of proposed changes submitted by code enforcing officials, industry representatives, design professionals and other interested parties. Proposed changes are carefully considered through an open code development process in which all interested and affected parties may participate.

The contents of this work are subject to change through both the Code Development Cycles and the governmental body that enacts the code into law. For more information regarding the code development process, contact the Codes and Standards Development Department of the International Code Council.

While the development procedure of the International Zoning Code ensures the highest degree of care, the ICC, its members and those participating in the development of this code do not accept any liability resulting from compliance or noncompliance with the provisions because the ICC does not have the power or authority to police or enforce compliance with the contents of this code. Only the governmental body that enacts the code into law has such authority.

Code Development Committee Responsibilities (Letter Designations in Front of Section Numbers or Definitions)

In each code development cycle, proposed changes to the code are considered at the Committee Action Hearings by the International Property Maintenance/Zoning Code Development Committee, whose action constitutes a recommendation to the voting membership for final action on the proposed change. Proposed changes to a code section that has a number beginning with a letter in brackets are considered by a different code development committee. For example, proposed changes to definitions that have [BG] in front of them (e.g., [BG] DWELLING UNIT) are considered by the IBC – General Code Development Committee at the code development hearings.

The content of sections or definitions in this code that begin with a letter designation is maintained by another code development committee in accordance with the following:

[A] = Administrative Code Development Committee; and

[BG] = IBC – General Code Development Committee.

For the development of the 2018 edition of the I-Codes, there will be three groups of code development committees and they will meet in separate years. Note that these are tentative groupings.