Land Development Regulations


Manatee County’s Land Use Regulations fall primarily within two main documents: 

  1. The Manatee County Comprehensive Plan, and

  2. The Manatee County Land Development Code.

Pursuant to Chapter 163, Part II of the Florida Statutes, the Comprehensive Plan contains the long range policy structure for the County. It contains Goals, Objectives, and Policies on land use, transportation, environmental protection, coastal protection, affordable housing, utility services, and historic preservation.

The Land Development Code is enacted pursuant to Section 163.3202 of the Florida Statutes and its purpose is to implement the Comprehensive Plan of the County by establishing regulations, procedures, and standards for review and approval of all development and use of land in the unincorporated portions of the County.



This is not a comprehensive list of all amendments. Please see Municode for a complete list of approved amendments. Below are some of the larger, recently approved amendments.

2015 -- LDC REWRITE Ordinance 15-17

In December of 2015, the Manatee County Land Development Code was amended to reorganize and better clarify the language and regulations of the 1989 LDC.

Staff Report- Land Development Code Update Phase 1

To assist you in the review of the prior (1989) Code verses the Amended and Restated (2015) Code, each individual chapter is provided in strike-thru/underline with comments as to why a particular section was changed.

Ordinance 15-17 Index

Please contact or by phone at (941)-748-4501, ext. 6884 with any questions.

2016 -- URBAN CORRIDORS -- Ordinances 16-06; 16-07

Ord. 16-06, Adopted on Nov. 15, 2016 & Ord. 16-07


Since the late 1990s, new development has been generally focused east of Interstate 75 and Southwest County has been in a slow, but steady decline in terms of indicators such as property values, average household income levels and other factors in comparison to the overall county. The age of infrastructure, housing, code enforcement cases, crime, and numbers of rental properties in established neighborhoods have been increasing over the years.

These trends have been recognized in various plans, studies and by the public for over a decade.

It is the hope that the the Urban Corridor amendment will improve opportunities for infill, redevelopment and development, along the major corridors in the district. These major corridors include portions of the Tamiami Trail, 15th Street East, 53rd Ave/SR 70, Cortez Road, Manatee Avenue, and 1st Street within the Urban Service Area of the County.

The amendments generally provide greater flexibility in the regulations, allows for moderate increases in density and intensity of development, and allows residential and mixed-use development patterns to occur along the corridors.


Countywide Amendments

Background: In addition to the changes for the Urban Corridors, the Board approved amendments to both the Comprehensive Plan and LDC that are applicable countywide. These changes include moving some language internally, between the two documents, reconciling language, and some various clean-up amendments.


2019 -- PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS -- Ordinance 19-03

The Board of County Commission and County staff has reviewed and revamped the entire development review process within the Comp Plan and the LDC with the intent of providing process improvements applicable Countywide. This will specifically ensure consistency between the LDC and Comp Plan, and it will create development standards to ensure development review is meaningful, consistent, and predictable for staff, the developer, and the citizens of Manatee County.

The Amendments are encompassed in Ordinance 19-03, which will go into effect on April 15, 2019.
Goals Considered During Review:

  1. Simplify the range of uses in each future land use category and rely more on  zoning and land use regulations in the LDC.
  2. Review existing density and intensity levels and determine whether they are in-line with the County’s vision for growth.
  3. Review and provide implementation mechanisms for the Mixed-Use Future Land Use Category and Clustering provisions in the Comp Plan.
  4. Provide a matrix of zoning districts intended to implement each future land use category.
  5. Review zoning districts to ensure there are district(s) that implement all future   land use categories.

Special Approval / Planned Development Processes. Review of the Comp Plan and LDC included:

  1. Review all provisions in the Comp Plan that require Special Approval and determine if they are still necessary.
  2. Establish a system that requires Board review and approval where warranted, but without the need to go through the Planned Development rezoning process.
  3. Review the LDC to determine if existing review criteria are adequate or if additional requirements are needed for all Special Approval and Planned Development triggers.


Pending Land Use Regulation Amendments

If you are interested in viewing documentation related to current pending amendments, please complete the form below and staff will contact you directly to provide the documents. If you need assistance with accessibility, please contact Reviewer on Call.

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Security Measure

Sign Code

With the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, Manatee County’s sign code (LDC Chapter 6) requires amendments to ensure the regulations are content-neutral. This will also include an update of the LDC Chapter 2 sign type definitions.



Planning Task Force - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 3:30
Planning Commission -  Thursday, November 14, 2019
BOCC Hearing #1 - Thursday, December 5, 2019
BOCC Hearing #2 - To Be Determined

For questions concerning the above project, please email

Certified Lots

Planning Staff is currently reviewing Chapter 2, Definitions, of 'Subdivision' and 'Certified Lot' and certain language in Section 330.2.C - Lot Split [Certified Lot(s)] of the Manatee County Land Development Code (LDC).

Accessory Dwelling Units

Planning Staff is in favor of adopting Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for several reasons. First, ADUs provide a means for Manatee County seniors to age “in place,” where they might be allowed to live in an ADU with relatives onsite. Homeowners will also have an increased ability to afford their own homes with the addition of rental income. Further, neighborhood density, introduced incrementally, can contribute to walkability and the economic vitality of surrounding businesses.

Staff’s research and development of draft ADU language has been aimed at re-establishing the legality of ADUs as they were originally intended and utilized in the early 20th Century. Together with the Board’s input and expertise, we can find the proper ADU language to enhance the well-being of residents, allow for multi-generational living spaces, provide for reasonably priced ADU rentals for tenants, and reduce the cost burden of home ownership in Manatee County.


For the above pending projects, please email

Sea Level Rise

Staff is currently working on preparing a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to address Sea Level Rise. Draft Sea Level Rise Goals, Objectives, and Policies will become part of the Coastal Element. All County Departments will participate in the development of these policies and the implementation tools required to minimize the negative impacts of sea level rise.

For questions concerning the above project, please email


Land Use Regulations

Land Use Regulations

The Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code, and Public Works Standards Manual are some of the resources used for researching regulations regarding land development in the unincorporated areas of Manatee County.

Land Use Approval Process

Land Use Approval Guide

Comprehensive Plan

Code of Ordinances

Land Development Code

This Land Development Code is enacted pursuant to the requirements and authority of Section 163.3202, Fla. Stat. et seq. (the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act) and the general powers established in Chapter 125, Florida Statutes (County Government) and the Constitution of the State of Florida.

The purpose of this Land Development Code is to implement the Comprehensive Plan of the County by establishing regulations, procedures and standards for review and approval of all development and use of land in the unincorporated portions of the county. Further, this Land Development Code is adopted in order to foster and preserve public health, safety, comfort and welfare in the unincorporated areas of the County. It is the intent of this Code that the development process in Manatee County be efficient, in terms of time and expense, effective, in terms of addressing the natural resource and public facility implications of proposed development, and equitable, in terms of consistency with established regulations and procedures, respect for the rights of property owners, and the consideration of the interests of the citizens of the County.

Land Development Code Overlay Districts

Section 403 Overlay Districts are intended to supplement the regulations in the Land Development Code.

Land Development Code Entranceway Maps

There are seven entranceways into the Unincorporated Manatee County and Section 900 of the Code provides standards and criteria by which proposed development in the entranceway areas will be reviewed.

GIS Interactive Maps

The term "map service" is used to describe interactive maps served online. Our interactive map services are built on ArcGIS Server from ESRI. ArcGIS Server provides advantages such as faster browsing, better security, and more manageable development life cycles. Our ultimate goal is to provide you, the customer, with a faster, more intuitive map browsing experience. We recommend that you use either Firefox or Chrome as your browser when using these map services as Firefox and Chrome are optimized for Javascript and these map services rely very heavily on Javascript, this will provide you with the best overall browsing experience.

Outdoor Lighting Regulations

Manatee County Land Development Code
Excerpts related to outdoor lighting

05-037 Section 806 Lighting