Land Zoning 101 | A Property Owner’s Guide

Land Zoning 101 Guide

Buying land gives you the remarkable feeling of limitless opportunity to build whatever you want and use however you see fit- just don’t forget about zoning!

One of the most important factors in land-buying process is researching to ensure the zoning will fit your long-term needs. In a nutshell, land use zoning is how your local government designates plots of land for different uses. These uses can include commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural. Living on a property and using it for various types of business requires the appropriate zoning.

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know when it comes to land zoning.

What is land use zoning?

The whole idea behind land use zoning is to separate different property types from each other. This helps city planners accomplish goals such as keeping big industrial factories or large commercial buildings or loud bars and venues out of city’s neighborhoods with historic value, beauty and charm, and/or residential homes.

Land zoning is the regulation of the use and development of real estate. Zoning will determine the type of building that can be built in a specific space, the purpose of that building or business, and can even regulate certain activities. The zoning can control waste management, how the building looks, how tall it can be, the noise level that can emit from the building, and even how much parking must be available. It’s not just about what type of business or building can be placed on the land.

Why do city planners use it?

Land use zoning is used by city planners because it’s their way of regulating the use of land in efficient ways. This is also used in order to prevent land use conflicts and to manage the development of the land in their cities. No one wants to have a large factory that might produce volatile smells in their beautiful downtown area.

City planners use this in order to provide a vision to their city for what the development of the neighborhoods and city land could turn into. They want their city’s running smooth, looking beautiful, and keeping pollution down to a minimum. With good land use zoning, city planners are in fact able to cut down on pollution.

Land Zoning Guide 2

Are there multiple types of land zoning?

There are six types of land zoning. To quickly list them, you have commercial, residential, industrial, agricultural, transportation, and special, which can include sports complexes, airports, shopping malls, etc. Within each of these types of zoning there can even be sub categories. For the commercial zoning you can also have large retail, lodging, and small retail, among others.

Why is it important when it comes to buying land?

Because there are so many types of land zoning, be sure when you go to purchase a piece of property that you buy land that is best zoned for your needs, either for residential or business purposes.

If you are looking to build facilities that would be for a warehouse or industrial type service, purchase land that has already been zoned for industrial use. The main reason being is that it is very difficult to have land you’ve purchased rezoned to fit your needs. It’s been zoned a certain way for a reason, and it may be extremely difficult to get land rezoned by local government.

Even if you buy a piece of land zoned for residential and you intend to build a home, that piece of land could have other zoning restrictions that may limit you to how large you can build the home and to what percentage of the property you can develop. It’s important to take all of these things into consideration when buying land.

It certainly can be a pain when dealing with zoning regulations, but these are set in place for a reason and truly do help cities remain functioning well and staying beautiful.

Photo Credit: La Citta Vita | flickr, PX Here

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