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5 COMMON ZONING ORDINANCES EXPLAINED

On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in blog on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

Zoning is a means of dividing up land into separate areas for specific purposes or development types in a way that keeps the individual areas detached, meaning it would be improbable that land zoned for schools would be next to property zoned for aircraft manufacturing.

Zoning originated in New York City in 1916 as a way to help with urban planning and development in such a densely populated city. The practice has been widely adopted throughout the nation, particularly in large urban locations.

Residential Zoning

This category includes single family dwellings, duplexes, townhomes and land planned for future residential development. Residential zoning can overlap with commercial residential zoning in areas designed for rental properties. Keep in mind that land will typically only be zoned for one type of residence, meaning land zoned for single family residences would be unlikely to support townhomes. An exception would be land planned for future residential development where single family homes, duplexes or townhomes could be next to one another.

Commercial Zoning

Commercial zoning includes land designated for business and related services. Commercial retail, such as shopping malls and big box stores, is most prominent. Scattered throughout are plots for community and financial services, including city centers and banks. Tracts designated for commercial manufacturing and assembly plants are frequently regulated to an industrial park. Golf courses, tennis courts and amusement parks would fall into this category.

Industrial Zoning

Land selected for manufacturing is considered industrial zoning. This includes light and heavy manufacturing. Light manufacturing includes food, beverage and products for personal and home care. Heavy manufacturing includes steelmaking or chemical production. Industrial zoning also includes land for curbs, parking lots and general landscaping.

Agricultural Zoning

While self explanatory, there are subcategories for agricultural zoning with distinctive differences. Light agriculture refers to crop land and raising any animal except hogs. Heavy agriculture is allocated for hog ranches, feed lots and fertilizer plants, which have a significant ecological effect, and may have a home on site.

Special Purpose Zoning

Properties with this designation can be used for institutions, such as a school or university, or even for public art, like a sculpture garden. Plots in this category are often used for civic and municipal purposes, like watersheds and drainage reservoirs.

Purchasing property can be exhilarating, but before jumping headfirst into a new prospect understand what you are buying.

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