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An Amazing Guide To Zoning & List Of Categories One Must Know

Compare Closing LLC
An Amazing Guide To Zoning & List Of Categories One Must Know

About Zoning

Have you ever wondered why all big industries are built in a specific area or why all condominiums are built-in groups inside a particular area?

When it comes to the development of a city, area, or community, there are a lot of things that need to be planned and restructured, majorly, how the area is to be designed with uniformity.

It is all related to the zoning and use of land. In this post, we will understand what is zoning and how it works.

What Is Zoning?

Zoning Definition: It means Rules and regulations of the use of land and development by the local government.

There are no federal zoning laws. It is a central part of the master plan which is a guide to the long-term physical development of a specific area.

It increases the marketability of a property. For example, you would not like to live next to a chemical factory.

Similarly, the chemical factory would like to be as far away as possible from a residential area. It is a police power that is held by the state to legislate to preserve public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.

What Are Zoning Categories?

The property zoning is categorized so that the area has uniform properties. It would help the area to be developed in a systematic way keeping the right kind of properties in a single block for better use of land.

For example, all the industries would be planned away from residential zone or schools and hospitals close to a residential zone.

Below is the list of categories.

  1. Residential (R)
  2. Commercial ©
  3. Office (O)
  4. Agricultural (A)
  5. Industrial (I)
  6. Special Use Purpose (SP)

These basic categories are further divided into subcategories which are indicated by numeric values from 1 to 9.

For example in the residential category, a multifamily home could be zoned as R3 and a single-family could be zoned as R1.

These subcategories further determine the restrictions that are placed on the privately-owned property within that category.

What Does The Zoning Ordinance Control?

Zoning ordinances control multiple things.


A setback is a distance from a property line, street, or sidewalk to the improvement on your individually owned property.

For example, if your zoning has a 6-foot setback it means that the property has to be built 6 feet from the sidewalk or property line, depending on the laws in the specific area.


It is the number of properties or homes that can be built in a certain area or subdivision per acre.

For example, if the piece of land with 3 acres has a density of 10 this means there could be a total of 30 homes built with 10 homes per acre.

Buffers And Buffer Zones:

Buffers are things like fences and tree lines that we separate things from. For example, a fence that separates two houses or a tree line that separates a community park from a residentially zoned subdivision.

Buffer zones are dictated under zoning laws as spaces between what we call use districts.

Variance Process:

It is an exception to zoning requirements. If there are any regulations or laws that you need to change from the existing law, you need to request them through the variance process.

For example, if you want a bigger business sign to be displayed to the public than the regulation sign, you need to request it through the variation process.

Building Heights:

It is the regulation limiting how high a skyscraper can be in a city or how high a multifamily apartment can be in a residential zone.

If the regulation in a residential area is for 5 stories for a multifamily apartment, the builder cannot construct more than 5 stories in that area.

Commercial Signage:

If you own a business, you may want to have the biggest sign possible. However, zoning ordinances will have parameters on how big your publicly viewed sign for your business can and will be.


Zoning is the best way to plan a city or area with the best use of its land avoiding overoccupancy and controlling traffic.

If it is done properly it could also give great potential for the growth of the locality.

It increases the marketability of the location. For common individuals zoning might not be one of the hottest topics, however, everyone would like to have a home in a well-planned community.

Originally published at https://www.compareclosing.com on June 28, 2022.

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