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What Is a Zoning Ordinance?

Zoning Ordinance

A zoning ordinance is a set of regulations established by a municipality that determines what people are allowed to do within their property.

With regard to land development, a zoning ordinance will provide the requirements for how a property can be subdivided or properly developed.

These requirements would include minimum lot areas, minimum lot widths, minimum yard setbacks, maximum building areas, maximum impervious areas, and maximum building heights. The requirements would depend on the zoning district within which your property is located and would be summarized in a zoning table located on the land development plans.

Zoning Ordinance Compliance

In order to have land development plans that are approved for construction, you would have to show an effort to have the plans comply with all applicable zoning regulations.

Compliance can be shown through notes, having the proposed layout drawn accurately on the plans, and having certain dimensions shown on the plans. Any areas of the zoning ordinance that are not met would most likely require a variance request which could delay the project especially if the request is not approved.

The Reviewers

To have proposed land development plans approved requires the review of the plans by reviewers that are hired by the local municipality.

The main reviewer would be the review engineer. If there is a question about whether a part of the plan complies with a certain zoning ordinance regulation, the review engineer might request that the zoning officer for the municipality review the plans to make a determination regarding the issue.

Where to Obtain Zoning Ordinances

Many zoning ordinances these days can be found online. You would have to go to the website of the municipality and look for a section labeled as “codes”, “ordinances”, or even “land planning”.

If you cannot find an ordinance online, you might have to email or call the municipality directly to request a hard copy of the ordinance to be mailed to you.

A Part of the Planning for a Land Development Project

One of the first phases of planning out a new land development project should be knowing the local zoning requirements to determine what issues your project could have. Having this information early can save you time and effort later.

Related: Land Development Regulations (A Simple Guide)

Posted in Land Development

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