On behalf of Michael Brooks of Law Offices of Michael A. Brooks posted in land use & zoning restrictions on Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Zoning codes exist for a reason. So do the rules imposed by homeowners associations. Even if you don’t like them, or outright hate them, they are often designed for one major underlying purpose: to keep property values stable in the area.

Why are zoning regulations so important to a property’s value?

In essence, it comes down to that old real estate saying that “location is everything.” Owning a beautiful home is wonderful — and proximity to things like a school, a grocery store, a nice coffee shop and a couple of restaurants is great. However, if you happen to have a beautiful home that’s located downwind from something like a pig farm, for example, you could see the value of your real estate plummet.

Similarly, zoning laws often prevent things that could cause significant amounts of noise pollution around both businesses and homes. Airports and highways, for example, can cause major damage to a property’s overall value when they get too close. Similarly, power plants and facilities that use hazardous chemicals can also deeply damage the value of nearby properties.

You may also encounter zoning regulations that restrict everything from the color of paint you put on your building to the types of signs you use for a business. In certain towns and cities, for example, there are old sections of town that have a certain local color or allure based on their vintage appearance. Businesses that move into the area often have to comply with highly-detailed rules about what colors they can use on advertising, the size of their signs and more. Even new buildings may have to be designed to fit in with the vintage look of the place.

While you are considering buying any commercial or residential property, one of the first things you should look at carefully is the neighborhood. The more distinctive the “look” or feel of an area, the higher the odds that zoning regulations are strictly enforced. That can sometimes make it easier to decide if a property will work for your purposes. You can save a lot of aggravation if you’re willing to work within the rules, rather than fight them.

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