Understanding the basics of Meridian’s zoning ordinance

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2020 | Real Estate |

Most residents of Meridian understand that the use of real property in the city is regulated by the zoning code, but very few residents know how the code actually works to control land use. The basic purpose of the Meridian zoning ordinance is the control of how the land in the city is used. The code was adopted in 1972 pursuant to authority granted by the state legislature. The city council then adopted a map of the city showing the land use that are permitted, permitted under special conditions or prohibited.

Overview of zoning code

The zoning code provides that all land in the city of Meridian shall be used as shown on the zoning map approved by the city council. The following uses are examples of different uses allowed by the code:

  • Agricultural district
  • Single-family residential districts
  • Two-family residential districts
  • Multifamily residential districts
  • Residential Business Transition
  • Neighborhood Business District
  • General Business District
  • Regional Business District
  • Central Business District
  • Industrial District

Certain uses may be designated as special use districts. Such districts do not fit easily with neighboring uses, and the developer may be required to obtain a special use permit and to comply with any provisions set forth in the permit. If a parcel of land has hosted the same type of use since prior to the adoption of the zoning code, such a use may be entitled to a non-conforming use exception.

Changing the zoning map

The zoning code specifies other types of districts that may provide relief from the literal terms of the code. For example, a developer who intends to develop a two-family district but wants to combine it with certain business uses may seek permission to build a planned unit development where the locations of buildings, streets and sidewalks may vary from the precise requirements of the zoning map.

Any requested change in the zoning map must first be presented to the city planning commission. If the commission approves the request, the development is then presented to the city council for final approval.


This brief summary does not cover all of the many ways in which the zoning code can be changed to allow different types of uses. Anyone considering a project that may differ from the current provisions of the code may wish to employ an experienced real estate attorney for advice and assistance.