What are zoning laws?

Zoning laws are used to guide the growth and development of communities for the well being of residents and others. While zoning laws are common, you may wonder what exactly they are and what they do. In general, zoning laws control the use of property. Zoning laws can regulate the use of a property, as well as the features of the property and buildings on the property.

There are generally four categories of zoning laws including residential zoning laws, commercial zoning laws, industrial zoning laws and agriculture zoning laws. Typically, specific areas are zoning for a particular use, however, there may be areas that are mixed use such as residential and commercial. It is helpful to understand that, in essence, district may be zoned for multiple uses or a single use. Zoning laws determine how property can be used in that district.

It is always important to be familiar with zoning laws and how they may impact a business, real estate purchase or the purchase of a home. There are many complexities associated with zoning laws that can be essential to be aware of. Complexities can include prior non-conforming uses, variances and conditional uses, as well as parking and signage requirements and a variety of other implications of zoning laws.

There are many concerns that may be associated with zoning laws which is why it is helpful to understand what they are and what they do. Perhaps even more important is to understand how zoning laws can impact your project or plans and to be familiar with how the law can help you address those concerns if necessary.

Source: Smallbusiness.findlaw.com, "Commercial Zoning," Accessed Jan. 3, 2017

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