Department Name

Planning and Zoning Department


411 Jules Street, Room 204, St. Joseph, MO 64501



Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
08:00 AM - 04:30 PM

Planning and Zoning Department
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Large Scale Solar Projects

            In early 2022, the Buchanan County Planning and Zoning Commission asked the Buchanan County Commission to explore the need for specific zoning requirements for large-scale solar projects.  This was in response to landowners who inquired about the possibility of putting these projects on their property.

            The Buchanan County Commission retained the engineering firm of Black & Veatch to provide suggested zoning guidelines.  Specifically, Buchanan County wanted to see how other counties had handled similar situations.

            Black and Veatch provided a draft of potential regulations.  These were provided to the Planning and Zoning Commission at their September 14th meeting.  In the next few months, there will be a work session with the Planning and Zoning Commission and the engineer from Black and Veatch.  This will allow the Planning and Zoning Commission to ask questions and learn more about the specifics of the proposed regulations. 

            After this meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing.   This will be an opportunity for the public to provide input on the proposed regulations and their impact on the county. After this hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission will debate the proposed regulations.  The Planning and Zoning Commission will be able to accept the regulations in full, amend them to better fit the needs of the county, or reject them entirely.  The Planning and Zoning Commission will then vote on a recommendation to be sent to the County Commission.

            It is expected that this process will take several months.  Notices of meetings will be posted online.

Related Documents

Large scale solar ordinance (Draft)


  • Enforcing existing Zoning Order
  • Assisting property owners to change zoning for land use purposes
  • Planning for land use in general in the county as a whole
  • Issuing conditional use permits for various uses, such as mobile homes, buildings, firework stands, etc.
  • 911 addressing and for any new addresses that need to be assigned within the county
  • Providing information to the County Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment

The County Planning Commission meets the second Wednesday of each month in the courthouse. Meeting times are 7 p.m. This group is comprised of 1 appointee from each political township within Buchanan County. Appointments are made by the County Commission. This group can meet at other times on a special call basis.

The Board of Zoning Adjustment consists of five members, appointed county wide by the County Commission. They regularly meet four times throughout the year. This group can meet at other times on a special call basis.

This office falls under the direction of the County Commission.

Zoning Order Permits And Regulations

Zoning Ordinance 109.115.3 states: All zoning districts, regardless of acreage, require a building permit for any structure and on-site wastewater treatment system, if applicable ( Amended March 26, 2012, under authority of Section 64.271 RSMo). Failure to secure a building permit or follow proper setbacks, right of ways and all Density Table Requirements can result in the demolition of the structure(s). The County may use any suitable means or assistance for the demolition, which includes County employees or day laborers employed for that purpose or any other assistance necessary. 

Zoning Ordinance 804.1.9 states: Where building or construction has proceeded without  filing for and receiving a valid building permit, the fee for issuance  of a subsequent building permit for said construction shall be doubled. (Amended June 1985)

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