Sparks, NV, Code of Ordinances

Updated July 2021

By: City of Sparks
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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city's zoning code permits one internal or attached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in association with any single-family dwelling (§20.03.003). Use-specific standards address setbacks, appearance, unit size, unit height, street addressing, and utilities.

Content-Neutral Sign Regulation

The city’s zoning code includes sign regulations amended in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert (§20.04.010). These regulations generally adhere to a literal interpretation of content neutrality (i.e., you do not have to read a sign to know whether it is in compliance with the regulations); however, there are several potentially content-based sign definitions and references to these signs in provisions addressing exemptions, prohibited sign locations, and exclusions from sign area or number computations.

Solar Energy

The city's zoning code includes a section on renewable energy production addressing wind, geothermal, and solar energy production (§20.03.036). Private-production solar energy systems must be located on parcels with primary structures and must conform to public utility standards; they are considered accessory uses and require building permits. Ground-mounted systems must comply with accessory structure setback, height, and spacing-from-main-structure requirements, but otherwise there shall be no restrictions on these systems. Utility-production solar energy systems require both a building permit and a special use permit. Standards address height, fencing, warning signs, glare, cleaning chemical use, roads and parking, and utility notification. Solar energy system installation on historic properties requires a major certificate of appropriateness review (§20.02.011).

Urban Agriculture

The city’s zoning code addresses urban agriculture. It allows urban agriculture as a primary or accessory use in residential and some mixed use districts subject to standards (§20.02.013).

A business license is required; on-site sales may be permitted with a conditional use permit. Standards address setbacks, storage, drainage, dust control, accessory residential uses, livestock, lighting, signage, composting, and mechanized equipment. The code also permits chicken-keeping and beekeeping subject to standards (§20.03.047).

No parking is required for this use (§20.04.009).  

The code defines urban agriculture; included within the definition is community garden, crop/limited agriculture, and community supported agriculture (§20.08.002).

Zoning Reform and Code Writing

The city's zoning code includes a mix of use-base and form-based zoning standards (Title 20). It defines and regulates uses based on broad categories, with select specific use types, and includes use-specific standards to minimize reliance on discretionary use permits. It is richly illustrated and uses tables to organize use permissions and dimensional standards.

Its purpose statements address promoting the public health, safety, and general welfare; preserving air and water quality; promoting the conservation of open space and natural and scenic resources; enhancing aesthetics; providing for recreational needs; protecting life and property from natural disasters; conforming to adopted plans; developing a timely, orderly, and efficient arrangement of transportation and public facilities and services; taking into account the relative suitability of the land for development; lessening traffic congestion; and preventing overcrowding (§20.01.001).

Sparks, NV

2010 Population: 90,264

2010 Population Density: 2,524.30/square mile