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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.
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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.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
With more than 5,000 land area, following the Zoning Ordinance requirement of FAR 4 and land occupancy of 60 percent, Torre de Manila should only be at least 18-story high.
(134) For example, under the current zoning code in Detroit agriculture is not a permitted use anywhere; it is completely absent from the zoning ordinances. See DETROIT, MICH., ZONING ORDINANCES (2010), available at http://www.detroitmi.gov/CityCouncil/Council Divisions/CityPlanningCommission/ZoningandLandUse.aspx; MINDY GOLDSTEIN ET AL., TURNER ENVTL.
"So, the city's efforts to enforce overcrowding problems will continue under the zoning ordinance."
(216) Although zoning ordinances may be amended, the amendment process is not an exemption because a zoning amendment changes the underlying law that applies to the applicant as well as to every other land user in the jurisdiction.
Zoning ordinances are the most common ordinance used to implement the comprehensive plan.
Fourth, even if such a mandatory program were deemed solely to be a land use regulation and not an exaction of any kind, it remains to be seen whether Florida law would permit a zoning ordinance to go so far as to regulate the identity or nature of the users of the development.
Thus, the court held that the zoning ordinances interfered with the MBTA's duty to provide transportation services at the lowest possible fares.
Specifically, RLUIPA distinguishes between objective zoning ordinances and the subjective application of such ordinances to individual parcels of land through a system of individualized assessments.
Kim demonstrated how the city's zoning ordinances might be transformed, yet it was unclear to what end.
Zoning ordinances differ from city to city and township to township.
Belmont's Mormon temple opened last October after years of litigation by some residents in the exclusive Boston suburb who unsuccessfully claimed it violated local zoning ordinances. When that effort failed, opponents went back into court arguing that the steeple was too tall and unnecessary.
There is an obvious need for zoning ordinances and laws restricting land use.(14) Such legislation can be for the protection of neighborhood quality (i.e.