How My Property is Zoned

How your property is zoned depends on the local zoning laws. A simple way to figure out how property is zoned is to go to the local zoning office, city hall, or another local planning board and ask for a copy of your local ordinance. The zoning ordinance is public record, so any property owner may get a copy by request.

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2023Fact Checked

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Jeffrey Johnson

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Mary Martin

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Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

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UPDATED: Jul 13, 2023

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UPDATED: Jul 13, 2023Fact Checked

Local zoning laws usually regulate the use of your property. Although zoning ordinances may differ in communities, the major objective of zoning is to maintain neighborhood uniformity by grouping similar property uses together into zones. Because zoning regulates land uses, it is important to understand how your property is zoned.

Consult Your Local Zoning Office

While many property owners have a general idea on their neighborhood zoning, subcategories within a zoning plan might go into detail about the exact type of activity that is permitted. A simple way to get this zoning information is to go to the local zoning office, city hall, or some other local planning board, and ask for a copy of your local ordinance. The zoning ordinance is public record, so any property owner may get a copy by request. In addition to the zoning ordinance, most communities provide zoning maps showing not only what the zoning ordinance is, but the overall zoning plan. Many communities also provide this information online, so you can check your city’s homepage to see if the zoning ordinance and zoning map are on the city’s web site. Accessing information about how your property is zoned does not require significant research, but if you have difficulty, get help from your local officials or an attorney.

Getting Legal Help

Once you have the records, you may find that the details of your zoning ordinance are more complicated than you thought, or that your intended use is not permitted. Then it is advisable to talk to an attorney who is familiar with the local zoning law. He or she can help explain a complicated zoning plan, and find ways to get permission from the local zoning board to expand the lawful use of your property.

Case Studies: Understanding Property Zoning

Case Study 1: Residential Property Zoning Restrictions

Mr. Smith recently purchased a property with the intention of converting it into a bed and breakfast. However, upon reviewing the local zoning ordinance obtained from the zoning office, he discovered that the property was zoned strictly for residential use. This meant that his desired commercial use was not permitted. Seeking legal guidance, Mr. Smith consulted an attorney specializing in local zoning laws to explore potential options for obtaining a variance or rezoning.

Case Study 2: Commercial Property Zoning Requirements

Ms. Johnson owns a vacant lot in a busy downtown area and wants to develop it for commercial purposes. While she had a general understanding of the zoning regulations, she wanted to ensure compliance with the specific zoning requirements. She accessed the zoning map and ordinance through the local planning board and discovered that her lot fell under a mixed-use zoning designation.

This allowed for both commercial and residential development. However, the zoning ordinance had specific guidelines for setbacks, building height, and parking requirements, which Ms. Johnson needed to consider when designing her project.

Case Study 3: Industrial Zoning And Environmental Concerns

GreenTech Industries, a leading manufacturer of eco-friendly building materials, sought to expand its operations by acquiring new property for a sustainable production facility. They discovered that the property was zoned for industrial use but faced specific environmental regulations and restrictions.

To ensure compliance, GreenTech Industries enlisted the help of environmental consultants and legal experts. Through assessments and guidance, they successfully navigated the zoning and environmental requirements, enabling them to proceed with their expansion plans while upholding their commitment to environmental sustainability.

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

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