7 Zoning Designations You Need to Understand

If you have a property you want to build on, one of the number one things you need to be aware of is what zoning designations apply. 


Zoning designations indicate what you are legally allowed to do with your property. Violating zoning laws related to these designations can cost you a lot in fees and wasted construction if a building needs tearing down after the fact.


Here are seven possible zoning designations that could apply to your property. Be aware of the fact that multiple designations could apply to one property in some cases. 


1. Residential


Land zoned as residential can only be for constructing homes or dwelling units such as apartments and townhouses. You should know that, as one of the most common designations, residential sometimes includes sub-types that are more specific.


A residential zone can have a sub-type such as single-family homes only or duplexes and triplexes only. If your land is residential, you need to be aware of any sub-types that apply. 


2. Commercial


Commercial land is for business facilities. Business facilities include retail shops, restaurants, and office buildings. Structures such as theaters or other commercial art establishments also fall under the commercial designation.


3. Industrial


You can only build industrial or manufacturing structures on industrial land. Likewise, you cannot build such facilities on land that does not fall under the industrial designation.


Municipalities generally try to separate industrial land from residential and commercial land because industrial facilities can compromise air quality and sometimes produce odors.


Also, municipal authorities specifically designate industrial land to avoid discomfort in residential and commercial areas from the noise that industrial facilities produce. 


4. Rural


You can only build agricultural operations on rural land. Like industrial operations, agricultural operations sometimes produce noise and odors. For this reason, municipalities specify land as rural to limit the construction of agricultural operations to certain areas.


However, municipalities frequently zone rural land to be also residential because farmers often live at the same location that they farm. 


You cannot assume that you can build any type of farming operation on farmland. Some municipalities might limit the type of agricultural or farm-related activities that are permissible in a certain zone. For constructions on rural land, you need to look into the details before building.


5. Historical


If you own land zoned as historical, your municipality finds that certain structures on it or the land itself has historical value. In this case, you will not be able to tear down certain pre-existing structures, and the municipality may strictly limit you in terms of what you can build on the land. 


6. Environmental


As with historically zoned areas, municipalities significantly restrict what is buildable on properties zoned as environmental.


Environmentally zoned properties serve as homes to endangered species or endangered habitat types. Any constructions you build on environmental areas cannot disrupt the ecosystem or result in destroying habitats or resources the land provides to native wildlife.


7. Aesthetic


Aesthetic zones indicate that any structures built on the land need to look a certain way. If you own property in an aesthetic zone, you are only able to build structures designed a certain way or are painted a certain color, for example.


You need to look into all the specific requirements of an aesthetic zone before building on such land. Aesthetic zoning prescriptions vary widely according to local municipalities, so do your research and understand all relevant rules before you begin construction. 


To conduct a land survey and determine which zoning designations apply to your property, contact us at Community Sciences Corporation with your questions and concerns. We look forward to hearing from you.

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