What is the importance of zoning laws?

Zoning laws are important to be familiar with and to understand because they can have a dramatic impact on the use of property. You may have many questions about zoning laws and how they work. Zoning laws cover everything ranging from specific requirements as to the types of buildings allowed on a piece of property to size and height limits for the buildings; the number of rooms for the buildings on the piece of property; restrictions on additional buildings and building setbacks from streets and other boundaries; and the location of utility lines.

In its most basic sense, zoning laws regulate the use and development of real estate. Zoning laws are considered land-use regulations and, as such, have a significant impact on an owner’s use and development of their property. Zoning laws generally divide property into categories to provide uniformity, with some exceptions such as mixed-use projects, in certain areas. The most basic categories include residential, commercial and industrial zones.

Zoning restrictions may also cover frontage of lots; minimum lot area required; front, rear and side yards; off-street parking; the number of buildings permitted on a lot; and the number of dwelling units permitted in a certain area. Regulations can also include restrictions related to single-family dwellings, multi-family dwellings or townhouses. In some circumstances, a zoning variance may be requested and approved so it is important to be familiar with the local process to seek a variance and it is also essential to be familiar with existing zoning regulations when considering a property.

As you can see, zoning laws can be quite particular and have a significant impact on how a property can be used and developed. Because of this, property owners should be familiar with zoning laws that apply to them, how they work and how a variance may be sought if needed according to local laws.

Source: Realestate.findlaw.com, “Land Use and Zoning Basics,” Accessed April 5, 2018

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