Meet with your local Planning and Zoning Department to discuss your plans and get a list of the requirements for the process. Local zoning could be governed by the city or county depending on the property's location.
Meet with the property owners in the area either one-on-one or in a neighborhood meeting to identify any concerns they may have with the change to residential zoning. You don't want to get a lot of time and money invested only to have the request denied because of a neighborhood protest.
Petition the Zoning Commission for the change. Be sure you have all necessary documentation including the legal description, proof of ownership and plat map of the property. You should also be prepared to pay a fee which varies from one municipality to another.
Attend the public hearing that will be scheduled by the Zoning Commission. This is a forum for neighbors to comment on how the change will affect them. Too many negative comments could cause the Commission to decline your request.
Note any concerns raised at the public hearing and be prepared to offer solutions or a compromise. Then wait for Planning and Zoning to make their decision.
Attend the next City Council or County Commissioners regularly-scheduled meeting which is when the ordinance will be adopted to rezone the property. Once they vote on the ordinance, it generally takes effect in 30 days.