Zoning Simplified

Most people do not really pay attention to zoning laws or ordinances until they are directly impacted by them or their changes. The main purpose of zoning laws is to promote livable, as well as economically viable, communities. Zoning ordinances are set by local governments to regulate proposed developments. Let’s review the importance of your neighborhood zoning and why you should care about the impacts this can have on property values.

Locating Your Neighborhood Zoning

Your local city or town website should be able to indicate what the current zoning is in your neighborhood. If all else fails, it’s as simple to find by doing a quick search in your preferred search engine to locate your local zoning map.

What Are Zoning Codes

When you have located the zoning map, you will notice that areas are separated by distinct drawn lines as well as a code. The code will consist of a letter, another letter or number followed by a dash and another number.

R codes represent residential areas. The numbers that follow, indicate how many units are allowed. Typically, no more than 3 units within a residential zoned lot (Single family homes, townhomes, or 2 flats). These areas can not be utilized for commercial or industrial purposes

B codes represent business areas. Properties within this zoning code must be used for some type of business. These buildings can also be zoned to allow dwelling units above the businesses.

C codes represent areas intended to be used for commercial purposes. These areas are typically restricted for retail purposes like shopping centers or downtown business districts.

Why Home Owners Should Care About Zoning

As a homeowner, zoning is an important factor when it comes to understanding your current property value. If your neighborhood is facing zoning changes you should understand how this affects your property. Depending on the zoning changes, new developments can cause obstructed views, take away green scenery, higher density or lower property values for smaller single-family homes in the area making it harder for an owner to sell.

Why Developers Pay Attention to Zoning

A developer aims to capitalize and profit off their new investment. They tend to prefer areas that are zoned for mixed use purposes such as business, commercial and areas that allow multi-unit buildings. Typically, they are looking to get the highest and best use of a lot.

Of course, zoning laws are much more complex than what has been stated in this article. This is a quick overview of why zoning laws are important to understand and the type of impact they have on property values.

If you are thinking about starting a career in real estate or to dive further into zoning laws contact us to get started on your furthering your real estate education.