Zoning is a land-use planning tool deployed by local governments, such as counties and cities, to designate all the land in a specific area for a single purpose. Therefore, zoning restrictions may forbid property in a residential zone from being used for a commercial enterprise, and vice-versa. There are industrial zones, mixed-use zones and environment protection zones to safeguard parks and natural habitats.
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Zoning restrictions may also limit the maximum floors and height allowed for buildings. There are always exceptions and special cases, as described below:
Spot zoning is where a single piece of property in a zone is given permission for usage in violation of the zoning restrictions. This can be something such as a school or park in a residential area, which is beneficial or required for the community's development and well-being. Buffer zoning is somewhat similar in that it allows for the use of part of the property to create a natural buffer between adjacent properties.
Down zoning is where limitations are put on areas around a city to curb high-rises and urban sprawl into suburbs. Under contract zoning, the government allows rezoning of certain parts of land for a single property owner. The rezoning will not apply to other similar lots in the area.
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Did you know?
Esthetic zoning can place all kinds of restrictions on property modification and usage.
Under esthetic zoning, everything from the color schemes to roofing material and shapes, fencing and landscaping is precisely defined and has to be adhered to. This may be applied in historic districts where plans and designs for a new construction or modifications have to be approved by a review board first.