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Land use and zoning: what you need to know

Zoning is one of the most common forms of regulation when it comes to land use. Municipalities, in coordination with the state, restrict the use of certain zones for property development. This is to have control over urban development, and also to make sure that green areas do not become over-developed.

Following a brief overview into what zoning regulations are, as well as the limits and challenges that occur when working with the government to establish land use.

What is the purpose of zoning regulations?

The reason that zoning regulations are in place is so that urban planners can create a clear distinction between residential, commercial and industrial districts. Regulations are to ensure that each zone or district remains distinct. It also puts into place rules on the type of buildings that are allowed. The details of this can include the size and height of buildings, the number (if any) of accessory buildings, the number of rooms, and the location of utility lines.

What are the limits of the regulations?

Courts have the ability to take the land owners' favor if they rule that the regulation is arbitrary rather than reasonable. If there is no suitable reason for the regulation and has no effect on public health, comfort, safety, and general welfare, the court has the right to take the land owner's favor in the event of a conflict.

Land use and zoning regulations can be subjective and controversial, leading to court intervention. It is important to do necessary research so that you are empowered by knowing your rights. An experienced Arizona attorney can provide guidance.

Source: Findlaw, "Land use and zoning basics," accessed Aug. 22, 2017

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