Zoning laws govern and direct the use of property which can have an impact on the value of the property. For that reason, property owners and those in the process of acquiring or selling property should be familiar with the impact of zoning laws.
The basics of zoning laws and what they do
Zoning laws help to guide the use and development of real estate. The primary purpose and function of zoning laws and regulations is to divide a municipality into residential, commercial and industrial zones and to make each zone reasonably uniform.
Detailed zoning regulations usually include requirements concerning the types of buildings allowed; the size and heights of buildings; the number of rooms in buildings; restrictions on accessory buildings, building setbacks from the street and other boundaries; and the location of utility lines. Other zoning restrictions may govern the number of buildings on a lot; the number of dwelling units on a particular lot; the frontage of lots; minimum lot area; front, rear and side yards; and off-street parking.
It may be possible to apply for a variance from zoning laws. It is important for property owners and those buying and selling property to be familiar with that process and option. Zoning laws by their nature limit the property owner’s ability to use their property in an entirely unfettered manner. When zoning laws are hampering a property owner’s use and enjoyment of their property, or the value of the property, municipal law may be able to help property owners address their concerns.