Review Local Zoning Codes & Regulations
Real estate is a complex market, with myriad rules and regulations to govern its use and development. In order to understand and remain compliant with the different codes and regulations, real estate investors and other stakeholders must understand the local zoning codes and regulations. In this article, we’ll examine the different aspects of local zoning codes and regulations, and how they affect real estate activity.
What Are Zoning Codes and Regulations?
Zoning codes and regulations are the laws and ordinances that govern the use of land within the jurisdiction of a particular city, county, or other local jurisdiction. These codes aim to regulate the physical layout and buildings within a particular area as it relates to public safety and welfare, providing guidelines to ensure the best use of land while also protecting the environment and public resources.
The most commonly regulated aspects include land use and development, building height, design and construction, setbacks, parking, and signage. Zoning codes can also cover specific elements such as fire codes, noise pollution, stormwater management, and environmental protection.
How Do Zoning Rules Affect Real Estate?
For real estate investors and developers, zoning codes are integral in determining the potential development of land. Zoning rules limit or establish the potential use of land as well as define the type and scope of development that can occur. As such, developers must be sure to thoroughly understand the zoning laws and regulations in a particular area to ensure that the development plans comply with the laws.
For example, a developer may want to build an apartment complex, but the zoning codes may only allow single-family homes in the area, thus prohibiting the development of the apartments. Additionally, zoning rules will also dictate the designs, heights, and setback distances of the buildings on the land. Thus, real estate investors and developers should take the time to review the local zoning codes and regulations to ensure that their plans for development are legally compliant.
Types of Zoning Codes and Regulations
Zoning codes and regulations can be classified into different types based on their purpose. The most common types include:
- Residential Zoning: These rules govern the use of land for residential purposes. These regulations dictate the types of dwellings and other structures that can be built, as well as the size and number of dwellings that can be built on the land.
- Commercial Zoning: These rules govern the use of land for commercial purposes. These regulations typically outline the number, size, and type of buildings that can be built on land, as well as the types of businesses that can be operated in these buildings.
- Industrial Zoning: These regulations govern the establishment, expansion, and operation of industrial establishments on land. They also cover environmental regulations related to industrial activities, such as regulations for noise or hazardous waste disposal.
- Agricultural Zoning: These regulations govern the establishment and operation of agricultural activities on land. These regulations typically cover the uses of land for farming and ranching, as well as the regulations for animal husbandry or food production.
- Environmental Zoning: These regulations govern activities related to the protection of the environment. These regulations can cover issues such as air pollution control, water pollution control, waste management, and more.
The Benefits of Understanding Zoning Codes and Regulations
Real estate investors and developers benefit greatly from understanding the local zoning regulations in their area. This knowledge helps them to make more informed decisions when purchasing, developing, and managing their properties. Additionally, they can avoid costly fines and penalties that can result from violations of zoning codes and regulations.
How to Research Local Zoning Codes and Regulations
The best way to research local zoning codes and regulations is to contact the local government agency responsible for land-use planning in a particular area. This could be the city or county planning department, or a regional or state agency.
The government agency can provide information on the regulations in the form of zoning ordinances, regulations, or other documents. Many local governments also have websites where these documents can be accessed or downloaded. Additionally, some websites may provide interactive mapping tools to help you identify the zoning regulations for a particular area or parcel of land.
Real estate investors and developers need to understand and remain compliant with the local zoning codes and regulations in order to ensure the legal development of land. By taking the time to research and understand these regulations, investors can make more informed real estate decisions and remain compliant with the law.