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Laws at the municipal level regulating the uses of real property in certain areas. For example, land in a certain area may be zoned only for commercial use or residential use. Zoning laws exist to improve the quality of life in a local area; for instance, they guard against an oil refinery being placed in an area where families with children live. Depending on the laws of the municipality, zoning laws may be suspended at certain times for certain developments, especially those likely to result in an economic boon for the community.


The regulation of the uses of property; the density of populations employing those uses; and the kinds,sizes,and proportions of structures that can be erected on property.Zoning was first put into place in New York City in 1916 as a reaction against the construction of the Equitable Building, because its 41-story height cast shadows over neighboring residences and affected people's quality of life.The concept soon caught on and was enacted by nearly every city and town in America as a function of their police power. Today, Houston,Texas, is the only major American city with no zoning regulations at all.

• Acurrent use of property that is no longer permitted after a zoning change may be allowed to continue for some period of time. Purchasers of such properties should make sure the use will still be allowed, if that is important. Purchasers of nearby properties should not make assumptions about zoning merely because of what already exists nearby.

• Zoning variances—permission for nonconforming uses—are typically granted only if it would be a hardship on the property to do otherwise. An economic hardship on the owner is irrelevant. Hardship is usually found only when the property has no other practical use other than the one planned and there is a need in the community for that use.

• Zoning variances, when granted, usually contain some requirements not otherwise demanded of other property owners, including such things as facade renovation of an older building, the necessity for off-street parking, or any number of other demands.

• Euclidean zoning, also known as building block zoning, is the most common. It is named for the town of Euclid, Ohio, which provided the test case for Supreme Court review and confirmation as constitutional. Land is divided into specific geographical districts with permitted uses within each type of district. Districts are usually designated R1 for single-family residential, R2 for two-family homes, R3 for multifamily, and so on. Its proponents like the long history of interpretation and the ease of implementation. Its critics say it lacks flexibility and fossilizes outdated theories of land-use planning.

• Performance zoning uses goal-oriented criteria to establish guidelines for the intensity of land use and the impact on infrastructure and on surrounding areas. It employs four major concepts: open-space ratio, impervious surface ratio (roads and parking lots), floor area ratio, and density. Zoning districts have descriptions such as wilderness districts, agricultural districts, and development districts. Proponents like the flexibility, but critics say the system is too complicated.

• Incentive zoning is a rewards-based system that seeks to encourage development to meet a city's needs. The system starts with standard restrictions on building size and height and occupancy densities, and then offers bonuses if developers will include needed amenities such as low-income housing, transit access, or beautification features. By agreeing to the bonus items, the developer may increase the densities or gain other variances.

• Design-based zoning is used in newer mixed-use urban planning models. It concentrates on building design and compatibility in an area rather than specific uses. Zoning districts might be called traditional neighborhood, suburban neighborhood, or transit-oriented development.

References in periodicals archive ?
Unauthorised construction, in violation of zoning regulations, has been carried out in the two zones at a large scale already.
Most zoning regulations say you can't operate a business from a home, but you can have a home office if you are a professional, such as an attorney, dentist or hit man.
Under the existing zoning regulations of the CDA, private housing societies cannot operate in sub-zone C of Zone IV.
An official requesting anonymity from Regional Planning Department of Capital Development Authority (CDA) said that their department did not have the authority to alter ICT zoning regulations and that grant of permission was an attempt to provide benefit to the private housing societies which had been built on land reserved for public buildings, graveyards, parks, schools or mosques.
This is the first time the Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map have been comprehensively revised since 1958.
On Monday, the Times Herald-Record reported that new zoning regulations in Sullivan County, NY, updated last October, have encouraged developers to replace the bungalow colonies with "new year-round summer homes, townhouses and modulars.
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- A new unit consisting of 300 zoning regulation experts has been established by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning to identify buildings which were not constructed in accordance with zoning regulations.
ISLAMABAD, July 27, 2010 (Frontier Star): Capital Development Authority (CDA) has formulated zoning regulations for zone-4 Islamabad here on the other day while the zoning regulations would be implemented after Board approval.
The current zoning regulations put no height limits on buildings.
Family members have found out the hard way that portable or not, the pool is an accessory structure and, as such, must follow local zoning regulations and building rules.
The charges are the result of a partnership between the Department of Investigation's Buildings Special Investigation Unit and the Buildings Department's Special Enforcement Team to identify and build cases against repeat offenders who flout building and zoning regulations.
The Court of Appeals of Kansas ruled that training horses to race did not constitute agricultural use of land, for purposes of an agricultural use exception to applicable zoning regulations.