Select Page

What are Zoning Laws?

Zoning Laws are the rules and regulations surrounding construction, demolition, and other areas that look to change existing structures, or add new structures. While different counties and states have different types of zoning laws, they all have to do with similar topics.

How to Check Zoning Laws with Local Government

Zoning laws are important to understand (for more than just lawyers), because they will impact any form of construction or property change – even on personal property. There are zoning restrictions everywhere along with different categories of zones. For example, you could live in an area strictly zoned for residential use, however you could also live in a mixed area where there are commercial and residential uses permitted. You can search for your cities local ordinances, and before you start building, check with your local municipal planning and building department. If you are having difficulty figuring out the exact zoning restrictions of your specific area, or can’t get the results you want, you can always involve a lawyer who specializes in zoning laws.

Check with Neighborhood Governments, too

After you check in with your municipal and city organizations about zoning restrictions, it is important to make sure you are also in compliance with organizations such as Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (or CC&Rs). These groups are often more strict than even your municipality, and regulate what a homeowner, or property owner, is able to do with said property. Their main goal is to maintain or enhance the value of the property in a certain zone. CC&Rs have severe penalties for violation, so it is important to read and understand them before you even buy property.

Can You Get Around Zoning Laws?

Variances to zoning requirements may be available, however the process can be lengthy and complicated. If you wish to proceed with the project, you can file a variance or exception form, after which you will need to request a hearing at your local court. If you choose to go the route of contesting the zoning regulations, it can be beneficial to involve a lawyer. If you still don’t get the ruling you want, there is always the option to appeal. However, you can end up spending thousands of dollars to still get a no at the end of the day.

The most important thing to do regarding property and zoning laws is to educate yourself on said zoning laws, and make sure you understand the restrictions that come from your neighborhood, municipality, and state governments before you purchase a home or property.