Zoning Ordinances and Regulations

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by Sherrie Bennett

Zoning ordinances and regulations are laws that define and restrict how you can use your property. Cities, counties, townships and other local governments adopt zoning plans, which are territorial land use regulations, in order to set development standards to assure that land is used for the common good. Zoning laws come into play on every single real estate development, regardless of how big or small, including examples of property zoning and their potential real estate tax laws implications. So if you are thinking about buying property or making improvements to property you already own, you’d better be sure you understand the zoning restrictions before you commit to anything.

Zoning ordinances and regulations control what purpose your property may be used for. Contact a Real Estate Lawyer if you have any zoning ordinances and regulations questions or concerns.

One zoning use is typically not compatible with another. For example, a commercial building usually cannot be constructed on property that’s zoned for residential uses.
If you buy open ground to build your dream house that is in an agricultural zoning, you may not be able to build it without a change in the zoning.

Getting the zoning changed on property is a very difficult process. It requires a process of giving public notice and then having a variance approved by government agencies that oversee enforcement of the zoning plan. Opposition to zoning changes by neighbors and other interested parties can be fierce. You can find out how property is zoned by calling your local planning department. They can also explain what you would need to do to get a variance. Before getting too involved in a zoning issue, it would no doubt be in your best interests to hire a local land use attorney to help you through the process.

Use requirements refer to how property can be used. Typical zonings categories include:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Recreational

These categories usually break down into further sub-categories. For example, there are sub-categories for single family (i.e., residences) and multiple family (e.g., apartments or condominiums) residential use. Zoning laws will set forth many use restrictions, such as: the height and overall size of buildings, their proximity to one another, what percentage of the area of a building lot may contain structures and what particular kinds of facilities must be included with certain kinds of uses.

Zoning ordinances and regulations control what purpose your property may be used for. Contact a Real Estate Lawyer if you have any zoning ordinances and regulations questions or concerns.

 

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