County Planning FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

No, we do not. If your property is within the limits of a city in Benton County, that respective city’s planning department would have jurisdiction over your property. Benton County’s jurisdiction lies in the unincorporated areas, or outside of city limits. Each city has regulations, permits, and rules regarding what can be done with and on property which can differ from city to city and from our regulations as well. If you are within city limits, please contact your city’s planning department for any planning related questions. If you are unsure who has jurisdiction over your property, feel free to contact us to confirm where your property lies and direct you to the correct planning department.

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.

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

All property in the unincorporated areas on Benton County are by-right single-family residential and agricultural. This means no approval by us or the Benton County Planning Board is needed to build a single-family dwelling or use your land for agricultural purposes (Note: This does NOT mean that permits are not required. Please visit the Benton County Building Safety Department webpage to learn more about what permits you will need to obtain). There are still regulations for these types of uses (setbacks, fence height, easements, etc.) that must be followed. If you seek to be exempt from a regulation, you must obtain a variance or a waiver by getting approval from the Benton County Planning Board. Other uses such as commercial or industrial are allowed, but in most cases these land uses must go through our site plan review process and be approved by the Benton County Planning Board.

The Benton County Planning Department issues three types of permits: storm water, temporary use, and floodplain development permits. The Arkansas Department of Health regulates, inspects, and issues permits for septic systems and wells; they can be reached at 479-986-1300. All other permits, such as electrical and building permits, are acquired through the Benton County Building Safety Department; they can be reached at 479-271-1003.

To start, we recommend getting in contact with a surveyor who is registered in the State of Arkansas. Please contact our office if you would like a list of surveyors we commonly work with. We coordinate with surveyors on what needs to be done for their clients and what is required by the Planning and Development Regulations of Benton County. If you would like to learn more about the process, we would be happy to send you detailed information specific to your property. Please email with your property’s address, parcel number, and your questions.

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.

Any use which is conducted entirely within the dwelling or an accessory building which is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling and which does not change the residential character of the building and the surrounding area is classified as a Home Occupation. This type of use requires the completion of a Home & Rural Based Occupation Application. To find out if you meet the criteria for this level of review please visit section 7.6 of the Benton County Planning and Development Regulations. All other commercial uses require a Site Plan Review and are subject to the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Benton County Planning and Development Regulations. 

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

  • Planning Director

    Madison Kienzle


    Administration Building

    215 East Central Avenue
    Bentonville, AR 72712
    (Location open as of October 2, 2023)

    8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Open through lunch



  • The Benton County Election Commission Office has moved to 215 E Central Ave. Bentonville, AR 72712

    Important information about department moves.