Zoning is one of the most common methods of land use control used by local governments. Zoning works by dividing a community into districts, regulating uses that are allowed within those districts, and prescribing allowable dimensions such as lot sizes, setbacks and building height. Zoning can help a community to achieve goals outlined in a comprehensive plan including:
- Protecting public health, safety and general welfare.
- Promoting desirable patterns of development.
- Separating incompatible land uses.
- Maintaining community character and aesthetics.
- Protecting community resources such as farmland, woodlands, groundwater, surface water, and historic and cultural resources.
- Providing public services and infrastructure in an economical and efficient manner.
- Protecting public and private investments.
Watch: A Brief History of Zoning
An overview of how zoning evolved.