How Zoning Ordinances Affect Land Development

Raw land brings with it a myriad of unique opportunities regarding land development. For instance, a landowner can choose to build a commercial facility, a residential home, or use it for farming. That said, land development decisions are affected by various factors, including zoning rules and regulations. Different jurisdictions have unique zoning laws, which landowners must look into before making a development decision. This article explores ways that zoning ordinances affect land development in residential and commercial areas.

Types of Structures  

Just because you believe that your property's location is ideal for residential development does not mean that you can build houses or apartments on it. Notably, land zones designate specific uses that property developers must observe. For instance, land zones designated R means that only residential structures are permitted. Similarly, only commercial structures can be constructed on lands designated C. It is essential to note that zoning ordinances can further classify subdivisions. For example, regulations might restrict certain residential zones to single-family homes or high-rise apartments. Therefore, scrutinize the zoning regulations in your area before deciding on the type of structure to build on your land.

Building Heights

Do you want to build multistory houses, commercial facilities or ground-level structures? Deciding how high your buildings should go depends on zoning rules and regulations. For instance, while some zones allow high-rise apartments but restrict the number of floors. Similarly, zones that allow construction of ground-level buildings might disqualify a development plan with an extension, such as a loft. Even if you want to build a treehouse in your backyard, zone ordinances dictate how high it should go. Zoning restrictions on building heights are particularly crucial in residential subdivisions where privacy is essential.

Setback Restrictions  

A setback is the minimum open space permitted around any building or structure. The allowance could be between adjacent houses, streets or sidewalks. Setbacks are especially crucial for safety, privacy and environmental protection purposes. For example, setbacks allow homeowners to install gas and water utilities with ease. As such, zoning laws dictate the minimum distance for setbacks regarding property developments. However, property owners can apply for non-conforming development concerning setback rules. For instance, if your neighbour allows you to build closer to their fence, you can apply for non-conformity to the current setback rules. The local and regional council will examine your application and the agreement with your neighbour before allowing you to build.

To learn more, reach out to a local contractor.