Understanding Zoning Laws

Zoning laws can get complicated fast, but this is because there are so many types and sizes that fit within a city’s boundaries. When you consider how businesses, houses, manufacturing plants and farmland play into how a city is divided up, it makes much more sense that zones are monitored so heavily. Zoning laws are designed to help regulate who can build what and where, keeping both industries and citizens happy. Here’s what you need to know to understand the basics of zoning laws.

Definition

Zoning laws simply refer to how a property can be used. This includes what type of building can be constructed on it, how many buildings can be constructed and the general use of the building. For example, one zone may be purely residential, designed to include only neighborhoods. Others may be designated to large industries that involve factories or major production lines.

Residential 

There are numerous classifications for allocated zones. The first is residential zoning, and it means that only homes can be built here, whether they are houses, condos, apartments, duplexes, or trailer parks. Zoning laws may also indicate what kind of animals can exist on the property (not including usual pets like cats and dogs), such as livestock and farm animals. Sometimes residential zones allow home-businesses.

Commercial

Commercial zoning is usually for businesses that have frequent customers. Hotels, clubs and malls all fall into this type of zoning. Parking can affect a commercial zone, as businesses require a certain amount for their patrons.

Industrial 

There are several categories of industrial zoning. What category a business falls into depends on noise, environmental effects and the size of the operation. Industrial zones are usually removed from other zones where people like to spend time.

Agricultural

Some properties can only be used for agriculture, such as farming. Oftentimes, you cannot buy a piece of agricultural property for other uses. This is to preserve farming lands and prevent development.

Reasons for Zoning

Without zoning, any kind of building could end up anywhere. No one wants their home to be in the middle of an industrial zone or a busy commercial area, and businesses don’t want to deal with homeowner complaints from neighbors. Separating them out makes sure each one can work for their own interests unhindered.To understand more about zoning laws, contact a real estate lawyer in Allentown, PA, like from Hoegen & Associates, P.C., who works specifically with them. They can answer all your questions and determine what zone your property is in.

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