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Zoning laws limit land use

Before purchasing a piece of property with a specific purpose in mind, it is important to first understand its zoning category. In Delaware, zoning designations limit land use as well as the type of structures that can be built on a piece of property. To prevent misunderstandings regarding planned land use, it may help to familiarize oneself with the various types of zoning designations.

Residential zoning can allow for a variety of categories and structures, including single family homes, apartments, suburban homesteads, trailer parks and more. Zoning laws usually dictate which types of pets residents can keep as well. Most residential zones prohibit farm or exotic animals. Other zoning laws might limit the total number of animals residents may keep.

There are also many different categories for commercial zoning. The type of business that is allowed to operate in a specific zone might be restricted based on things like parking accessibility, existing businesses and other factors. Some common operations one might find in a commercial zone include shopping centers, warehouses, hotels, nightclubs, office buildings and certain apartment complexes.

This is far from an exhaustive list of zoning designations in Delaware, as there are also categories for historic, agricultural and combination uses. It can be disheartening to find what might seem like the perfect property, only to learn that it is zoned for a different purpose. In this situation, it can be helpful to speak with an experienced party about possible options for different land use, such as variances or conditional use permits.

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