Zoning laws can have a significant impact on the use of property which is why property owners should be familiar with what zoning regulations are and how they impact their property. Zoning regulations are of interest to both property owners and those considering a purchase of property.

What are zoning regulations?

Zoning laws are used to regulate the use and development of real estate. Zoning regulations are types of land-use regulation and are the most common type of land-use regulations. Municipalities use zoning regulations to control and direct the development of property. Zoning regulations typically divide property into residential, commercial and industrial zones. Some zones may be for mixed-use development such as mixed residential and commercial buildings.

Examples of zoning regulations

Some specific examples of zoning regulations:

  • Requirements related to the types of buildings allowed on the property;
  • Requirements related to the size and height of buildings;
  • Limits on number of rooms in buildings;
  • Restrictions on accessory building on the property;
  • Restrictions on building setbacks from the street and other boundaries; and
  • The location of utility lines, among some other types of restrictions.

Ways to challenge a zoning regulation

If a property owner is facing an unfavorable zoning regulation, they may be able to challenge it in a couple of different ways. They may be able to pursue a prior nonconforming use exception for the property or may be able to request a variance from the zoning regulation. Various considerations will be weighed when determining if one of these remedies will be granted.

Real estate law can help property owners understand zoning laws and their impact on their property, as well as with concerns they may have about zoning laws impacting them. For that reason, it is useful for property owners to be familiar with the basics of zoning laws.