Code Compliance and Development Services works to improve the business development of the city and enhance the quality of life for citizens and visitors. From minimizing property maintenance and zoning violations to promoting code and zoning compliance, this department ensures the city is growing in a consistent and equitable manner.
Compliance & Ordinances
Keeping Westminster Safe
The City Code of Ordinances
By accessing the Code of Ordinances for Westminster, you’ll find applicable ordinances and regulations applicable to the City of Westminster. These are developed and maintained by the City Council and the Administrative office.
Protecting Your Property
Zoning Codes in Westminster
These laws are put into place to protect property owners in our city. They determine what can and cannot be done on private and public property. The city staff are available to assist with any needs to understand or implement these zoning codes.
Zoning Codes and Ordinances
7 Basic Elements of Zoning
The City of Westminster is divided into residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural areas. Thus land use districts have been established. However, some uses just don’t fit into an established district and need to be examined on an individual basis in relation to impact on surroundings and then designed to minimize those impacts. These uses are “special” and require a permit to be built or operated. Hence, a “special use” permit is needed. Because conditions may be placed upon these uses – such as hours of operation or additional landscaping – they are also known as “conditional uses.”
Development standards are the measurable criteria contained in the zoning ordinance that guides the built height, width, and depth of buildings and structures; minimum lot size, area, and dimensions; parking spaces, etc. It may be reasonable to allow the development standard to vary in a particular instance to accommodate properties with an unusual shape or topography. Thus, an application for a variance from the strict application of the ordinance may be sought.
Non-conformities occur when a zoning ordinance is adopted after areas are partially developed or other conditions exist prior to a change of use. Regulations are written so as to determine how and when to allow modifications to those uses, buildings, or structures.
Permit Evaluation Criteria
To be consistent and fair in the granting or denial of permits, criteria for evaluating applications were created. These criteria are subjective matters of judgment and intended to ensure that decisions are not arbitrary or capricious.
As Westminster grows and prospers it is necessary to delegate zoning review and code compliance functions to citizen boards and commissions and city staff. Procedures have been established to standardize the processing of zoning-related issues.
Early in the history of zoning, it was recognized that normal dictionary definitions for many words used in zoning were not adequate for administering an ordinance. Westminster has defined words and terms used specific to the community.
An official zoning map is prepared to show the differing zoning districts. This provides a visual tool to quickly identify permitted uses and where different development standards are applied.
Property and Business Owners
Building Codes for Westminster
These building codes are used within the State of South Carolina and adopted through the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Note that all general, residential, and specialty contractors performing services in the state of South Carolina must be licensed.
Currently Adopted Codes
- 2012 International Residential Code (IRC)
- 2012 International Building Code (IBC)
- 2012 International Mechanical Code (IMC)
- 2012 International Plumbing Code (IPC)
- 2012 International Fire Code (IFC)
- 2011 National Electric Code (NEC)
- 2012 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC)
- 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) (as of Jan. 1st 2013)
- 2012 International Existing Building Code; (IEBC)
- 2012 International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities
- 2012 International Property Maintenance Code
- 2012 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
Oconee County Community Development
Permitting and Inspections
In partnership with the Oconee County Community Development, the City of Westminster gives authority to the Building Codes Division to act as the city’s agents and building officials. They administer and enforce all adopted codes within the jurisdiction and municipal boundaries of Westminster.
Commercial Building Improvement Grant
The City of Westminster, in its continuing effort to support the development of the Downtown Business District, and enhance commercial activity has created a Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program. The Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program will encourage economic growth and help create a more inviting character for the downtown area. The City of Westminster Local Development Corporation (LDC) is responsible for administering the Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program, intended to stimulate improvements to the exterior or interior of commercial buildings in the Downtown Business District, in commercial corridors located along major state highways, or commercial structures that are reasonably expected to provide an increase in commerce within the City limits.
The funding of this program is provided through the City of Westminster and the LDC. All activities relating to the funding of improvement projects will be reported to the Westminster City Council.
Frequently Asked Question
Individuals with questions about a property’s zoning should contact the Code Compliance and Development Office at 864.647.3200 ext. 105 and request the current zoning and/or a copy of the zoning district code.
The zoning ordinance is found within the City of Westminster Code of Ordinance, Section 150 of which you can view at the Westminster Branch – Oconee County Public Library located at 112 W. North Avenue, Westminster, SC 29693.
It is important to note that a zoning change cannot be used to take away a property owner’s right to continue to use their land or building for any legal, existing use. Therefore, if you operate a retail store and the zoning was changed to residential, you can continue to operate the store until you either voluntarily change or abandon the use. This situation is referred to as a Legally Established Non-Conforming Use.