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Zoning laws are enacted as the exercise of a government's Police Power to protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare in an area.


Zoning is the regulation of land and property usage within districts or zones.  Zoning regulates land use, building size, lot size, structure type, sign height, land to building ratio, setbacks, and density among a myriad of other things.  Zoning affects value and must be taken into account by the appraiser.


Zoning normally establishes land-use districts and provides for different restrictions within each district.


The following are common definitions regarding zoning.


A variance is official permission to deviate from current zoning laws.
A Non-conforming use is a use that was once legal but no longer conforms to the zoning in the area in which it is located.  Zoning changes are generally the cause of non-conforming use properties.
Density is the number of units that can be built per acre.  Density can vary considerably depending on whether the house is a country mansion, a high rise apartment or something in between.  If zoning and deed restrictions conflict, the strictest of the two will prevail.

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