What do zoning laws regulate?

In general, zoning laws are used by municipalities to regulate the use and development of land. This can impact the day-to-day use of property and the value of the land as well. For that reason, property owners impacting by zoning regulations should be familiar with what they regulate.

Types of property restrictions regulated by zoning laws

There are several common zoning category designations including residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use and agricultural. Zoning laws may be used to regulate:

  • Specific requirements as to the type of buildings allowed on the property in question;
  • The location of utility lines on the property in question;
  • Restrictions on accessory buildings, building setbacks from the streets and other boundaries on the property in question;
  • The size and height of buildings on the property in question;
  • The number of rooms permitted on the buildings on the property in question;
  • The number of buildings permitted on the lot in question;
  • Lot frontage requirements on the property in question;
  • Minimum lot area on the property in question;
  • Regulation of front, rear and side yards on the property in question;
  • Off-street parking on the property in question;
  • The number of dwelling units permitted in a certain area;
  • The types of dwelling unites permitted in a certain area; and
  • Requirements related to preservation of historical or cultural features and heritage of the property in question.

Zoning laws can have a heavy impact on the development of use of the property being regulated. For that reason, property owners, and potential property owners, should be familiar with the types of regulations and impact of those regulations and also be aware that options may be available to challenge a burdensome regulation in some circumstances.

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