The City of Galveston will schedule a Pre-Development meeting so that you can learn about City requirements and ask questions about your project.  Typically these meetings are held by way of Zoom Meeting, last an hour, and can be scheduled by calling (409) 797-3660.

To get the most out or your Pre-Development meeting, bring along this agenda:

Agenda for City of Galveston Pre-Development Meeting

  1. Describe the property, existing improvements and any proposed projects:
  2. Introduce the City Staff to the project.
  3. Provide the address of the site.
  4. If available, bring a copy of the survey to the meeting.
  5. Print a copy of the property information downloaded from the Galveston Central Appraisal District web site: After navigating to the site, click on property search and search by property address. Once the property shows up, to the right of the white description line click on “View Details” and then click on “Expand All”. Print this web page and bring the printed copy to the Pre-Development meeting.
  6. If there are existing improvements on the site, describe them and how the existing improvements are currently being used.
    1. Show photographs of the existing improvements, if possible, from all four sides.
    2. If available, show drawings of the existing improvements.
  7. Describe in detail any proposed uses for the site, repairs or improvements being considered.
    1. If available, show drawings of the proposed improvements.

Questions for City Staff:

     Planning Department:

  1. What zoning classification is the site?
  2. Are the existing or proposed uses allowed under the City’s Land Development Regulations (zoning)?
  3. If the existing uses are legally non-conforming, under what circumstances would they no longer be allowed?
  4. If the existing or proposed uses are limited, what are the limitations?
  5. What other land use regulation are there for the site and the existing or proposed use (e.g. parking or landscaping requirements)?
  6. Is the site subject to any special land use requirements, for example, is it in a neighborhood conservation or historic district?
    1. Is it in the Height and Development District Zone; if so, is it in a section where the County has a maintenance easement for the Seawall?
    2. If there are special requirements, does the City have a handbook, guide or brochure describing the requirements and how to comply?
  7. According to the Land Development Regulations, what are the required setbacks for the site?

(NOTE: Zoning setbacks are not the same as the Fire Separation Distances required by the building code. Based on the type of wall construction, the number of openings and other factors, the building code may require that an exterior wall is located differently than what the zoning may allow. Fire separation distances can be determined once the type of construction and the fire rating of the exterior wall(s) are known.)

Public Utilities Department:

  1. Is the site served by municipal utilities and if so, what are the sizes of the water, sewer and, if applicable, storm sewer pipes?
  2. How is the stormwater runoff to be drained from the site?

Building Department and Fire Marshal

  1. What is the Base Flood Elevation requirement for the site?
  2. If there are existing improvements that do not meet the elevation requirements for floodplain, will the existing improvements be required to be raised to meet the requirements?
  3. If there are existing improvements that do not meet the Texas Department of Insurance requirements for Windstorm Resistant Design, will the existing improvements be required to be brought into compliance?
  4. What permits will I need before I can start construction?
  5. Will a driveway permit be required?
  6. Will sidewalks be required, if so, along which property lines?
  7. Does the site require any special permits, such as a Beachfront Construction Certificate and Dune Protection Plan?
  8. If there are existing improvements on the site:
    1. Are the existing improvements legally conforming?
    2. Are there any violations, citations or “red tags” on the existing improvements?
  9. Is there a Certificate of Occupancy for the existing improvements?
    (If so, get a copy).
  10. If repairs are needed for the existing improvements, will a building permit be required? (be sure to describe the repairs proposed in detail; describe the intended occupants and how they will use the spaces).
  11. If there is no change of use or change of occupancy proposed and the existing improvements are currently occupied (or were vacated within the last 6 months), can a Certificate of Zoning Compliance be issued for the building? (if so, fill out the form and request the Certificate).
  12. If there is not a Certificate of Occupancy for the existing improvements and the building will not qualify for a Certificate of Zoning Compliance, what is required to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
  13. If the existing improvements are to remain and be repaired or renovated, and a building permit is required:
    1. Is a monitored fire alarm system required to be added?
    2. Is a fire sprinkler system required to be added?
    3. Are fire separations (walls or ceilings) between different occupancy types required to be added?
  14. If the existing improvements are residential (one or two-family dwelling) and no improvements are proposed, but portions of the improvements will be used as live-work or home occupation use:
    1. Is a monitored fire alarm system required to be added?
    2. Is a fire sprinkler system required to be added?
    3. Are fire separations (walls or ceilings) between different occupants required to be added?
    4. Is the residence required to be made accessible?

NOTES: Pre-development meetings are usually limited to one hour.


A Pre-Development meeting is not a substitute for the services of a registered architect.

In Texas, private single-family dwellings, duplexes, and certain buildings with limited public access generally do not require an architect. Multi-family buildings require an architect if over 16 units or two stories in height. Most other commercial buildings, including additions and alterations to existing buildings, require an architect.

For a change of use or occupancy, the City of Galveston requires a building code summary prepared by a registered architect or engineer.

You may find it valuable to hire an architect to help you with your plans whether or not an architect is required by law. It is important that your architect is familiar with a change of use or occupancy and code requirements as well as the type of building or business you are considering.
This document is provided as a public service by Michael Gaertner Architect, who is solely responsible for its content.