Zoning plays a crucial role in shaping communities and has significant implications for both society as a whole and property buyers individually. Zoning laws can be a real issue for property owners and would-be property owners alike. Many don’t understand why it’s so difficult to get a variance – or even why zoning exists in the first place.
These are some reasons why zoning matters.
Effective land management
Zoning regulations help prevent “incompatible” land uses from coexisting, such as locating a noisy factory next to a residential neighborhood. By segregating land uses, zoning promotes orderly development and minimizes conflicts between different activities.
Quality of life maintenance
Zoning helps maintain (or even create) and protect the character of neighborhoods by regulating factors such as building heights, setbacks, density and architectural styles. This helps preserve the aesthetics, value and overall ambiance of different areas within a community.
Property value preservation
Zoning can have a significant impact on property values. Buyers are often attracted to neighborhoods that have a well-defined zoning framework, as it provides assurance that the character and land uses of the area are protected. This is often particularly important in residential and mixed-use areas where the community culture is very strong, although zoning provides predictability and stability for property buyers and investors in just about every situation.
Zoning can be used to protect environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands, forests or habitats for endangered species. By designating these areas as protected or conservation zones, zoning regulations can help preserve natural resources and maintain the floral and fauna biodiversity.
By designating areas for specific land uses, zoning can help guide the provision of public services, utilities, transportation networks and other infrastructure needed to support different types of development. This allows for more efficient long-term urban planning.
Zoning does have its purposes, and they’re often good ones – but sometimes zoning needs to change with the times and sometimes exceptions can and should be made. If you have a zoning issue that’s holding you back for any reason, it may be time to seek informed legal guidance that’s specific to your situation.