Purchasing real property in Florida is more than finding a parcel that you like, as you must also often ensure it is zoned to meet your needs. Generally, people don’t want to live next to a manufacturing plant or have a farm next to an office complex. To control the infrastructure and designate living zones, municipalities rely on zoning classifications and other land use restrictions.
What is zoning?
Zoning is a type of land use regulation established by local governmental entities. Ordinances are used to control the development and uniformity of the structures and uses with their borders. Proper zoning limits residential neighborhoods from being invaded by industry or manufacturing.
Why have zoning?
A function of zoning is to divide an area into certain categories:
- Residential – single and multi-family homes and complexes
- Commercial – retail stores and offices
- Industrial – manufacturing zones
- Agricultural – farming activities
- Recreational – recreational activities
- mixed-use/special permit – any combination of zones
All zoned areas are designed for functionality. Within each zone there generally are established guidelines to adhere to in order to develop the property to its fullest.
What does zoning regulate?
Zoning regulations within each district are typically quite detailed. All manner of development, including but not limited to setbacks, utility placement, structure size and height, and approved foliage. This allows a municipality to develop reasonably uniform usage and appearance. However, some critics claim zoning regulations further illustrate the socioeconomic gap apparent in lower income areas.
Navigating the confusion of zoning requirements can be overwhelming to a prospective owner. Having the assistance of an attorney versed in land use law and its complexities can be beneficial before you purchase a parcel of real property.