Frequently Asked Questions

What is Planning?

Planning is the process of looking at how an area has developed over time, identifying the area's future growth, determining how to arrive at that growth in an orderly fashion, and implementing the necessary infrastructure and resources to make that growth a reality. Planning allows local officials to identify what residents want or need related to land use and development, as well as types of land uses that can be located close together and those that should be separated. 


What does Planning have to do with how I can use my property?

Property owners believe they ought to be able to do anything they want on their own property, but they should also recognize that changes in the way property is used can impact their neighbors, communities and beyond. To that end, appointed boards and elected officials are charged with making decisions in the public interest (and only in the public interest). The U.S. Constitution and laws of Arkansas protect all individuals' property rights (including those of adjacent property owners). The Benton County Development ordinance, (O-98-53) adopted in 1998, helps guide decisions about where, how much and under what conditions changes in land use can occur in unincorporated Benton County.


What is the difference between a lot split and a tract split?

A lot split is the (covenant permitting) division of a lot within a platted subdivision into two lots; a tract split is the division of tract land (not part of a platted subdivision) into two tracts.


How is my property zoned?

If your residence is within the corporate limits of a city, please contact the city administration offices for assistance. If your residence is located in unincorporated Benton County, there is currently no zoning, but if you propose to start a business or develop a subdivision, your proposed development must be reviewed by the Benton County Development Board.

Please call our office at (479) 464-6166 for assistance.


Why do I need a building permit?

For several reasons: Benton County ordinance O-2005-35 requires building permits in unincorporated Benton County. A permit also protects the homeowner and the future occupants of the home. (Please note that if a professional suggests that you do not need a permit, be aware that you probably do, and it is to your advantage to get one. In fact, this suggestion is usually a red flag that your contractor is trying to cut corners to your detriment.) A permit ensures oversight of your contractor's work (or yours). The scrutiny of an inspector can guard against mistakes and shoddy workmanship and ensure that the work adheres to building codes. You'll sleep better knowing your project meets safety standards for materials and construction techniques. Also, many lending institutions now require a Certificate of Occupancy in order for the homeowner to obtain a loan.


Why does the Building Permit section need a new copy of a contractor's license every time they are hired to do a job in Unincorporated Benton County?

This offers protection to both the homeowner, showing that the contractor has a current valid license, and to the contractor, who knows when his name is listed as the contractor on a building permit application & essentially gives his consent by providing a copy to our office.


Do I need a permit to build a barn, pole barn or other agricultural building?

According to Article 3 of Benton County Ordinance O-2008-14, an agricultural building is defined as "a structure designed and constructed to house farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock, or other horticultural products. This structure shall not be a place of human habitation or a place of employment where agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged, nor shall it be a place used by the public."

If your building is for strictly agricultural purposes, a permit will not be required, but you will be asked to complete an affidavit stating that the building will be used solely for agricultural purposes.


Can I schedule an inspection for today or for a specific time?

Benton County building inspectors require a 24-hour notice for inspections and usually cannot schedule an inspection for a specific time, but there may be exceptions made under certain circumstances.

Please call our office at (479) 271-1003 to schedule inspections.