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What is the function of residential zoning?

Real-estate-zoning-frese-hansen.jpgIf you are just getting into real estate, you may have heard the term zoning or zoning regulations. If you are not familiar with what this means, you may benefit from a crash course as zoning regulations are bound to play a large part in any development endeavor you take on.

Zoning is one way municipalities regulate and direct development of property within their city limits. Since 1916, practically every major city has developed zoning regulations as a way to separate and develop residential, industrial and commercial areas. While zoning regulations dictate where certain properties can be placed, they also dictate what type of structures are allowed. Each of the three areas has their own set of regulations that developers must adhere to. These regulations outline what type and size of building can be put up, where utilities can go, and even the median cost of a building developed in that area.

Many municipalities follow a master plan of sorts that designate zones of the city for certain types of property. This is useful when developers look for a building site for larger projects. While a municipality's master plan is generally the go-to for all parties interested in developing a parcel of land, there are ways to challenge certain zoning regulations. If property owners wish to put up a structure that does not meet the zoning requirements set by the city, the property owner may appeal to the zoning board for approval.

Landowners have historically disapproved of municipal control of privately owned property. While a master plan may be great for a city's vision of its future, too much interference by a municipality to its property owners has been known to lead to disagreement and litigation. If you are concerned a new endeavor may lead to a legal battle, contacting an attorney with real estate experience may help.

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