Zoning in the United States

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In the United States, zoning laws are carried out by local governments in accordance with police powers of state, county, and municipal governments.

Zoning laws can affect architectural standards. Local governments have substantial leeway in zoning.

Examples[edit | edit source]

For example, the construction of an amusement park will create concerns regarding size, noise, trash, traffic, and available parking that may affect both residential and commercial zones.

US Constitution[edit | edit source]

The US Constitution imposes 2 limits on zoning laws

  1. Laws that are unreasonable might violate the 14th Amendment's Due Process and Equal Protection clauses
  2. Laws that destroy a property's economic value or restrict its use might trigger violations of the 5th Amendment's Takings Clause.

Basic US definitions[edit | edit source]

  • Re-zoning is the change is existing zoning laws. Some local jurisdictions allow rezoning if an area has experienced material change or if there was an error in the last zoning decision.
  • Spot zoning if when the local government makes an exception for 1 parcel (spot) from the rest of the zone.
  • Non-conforming use is a violation of the existing zoning laws.
  • Vested rights occurs if a new zoning law is promulgated while the owner is preparing a land use in violation of the pending new law.
  • Variance is an official permission to deviate (vary) from the zoning law. There are (1) area variances such as building heights and (2) use variances such as nonconforming use to create a concert venue.

See also[edit | edit source]