Zoning laws make sure that certain types of structures are placed in a way that is beneficial to the local economy and the people who live in the area. Zoning regulations control the way a municipality is divided into commercial, industrial and residential zones.
Zoning laws are quite specific and include information about which kind of buildings can be built and for what purposes they can be used. Some people get into disputes because the intentions they have for their buildings don't line up with the zoning regulations.
What do zoning regulations restrict?
provide specific requirements detailing the types of buildings that can be used in a locale
place restrictions on accessory buildings and state how much room there needs to be between boundaries
place restrictions on the number of rooms in a building
restrict the size and height of buildings
determine the locations for utility lines
Sometimes, buildings are zoned into multiple categories. For instance, you could have a facility marked for both commercial and residential use. For someone looking to work out of the home, that's a good option. On the other hand, if you are looking for a business and purchase a residential property, you may run into trouble when you attempt to market your business. You can sometimes apply for a variance, but it will not always be allowed depending on where you are and what you plan to do.
Our site has more on zoning laws and what to do if you were misinformed about the zones for your property.