The separation or division of a municipality into districts, the regulation of buildings and structures in such districts in accordance with their construction and the nature and extent of their use, and the dedication of such districts to particular uses designed to serve the General Welfare.
Zoning, the regulation of the use of real property by local government, restricts a particular territory to residential, commercial, industrial, or other uses. The local governing body considers the character of the property as well as its fitness for particular uses. It must enact the regulations in accordance with a well-considered and comprehensive plan intended to avoid arbitrary exercise of government power. A comprehensive plan is a general design to control the use of properties in the entire municipality, or at least in a large portion of it. Individual pieces of property should not be singled out for special treatment. For example, one or two lots may not be placed in a separate zone and subjected to restrictions that do not apply to similar adjoining lands.
Zoning ordinances divide a town, city, village, or county into separate residential, commercial, and industrial districts, thereby preserving the desirable characteristics of each type of setting. These laws generally limit dimensions in each zone. Many regulations require certain building features and limit the number and location of parking and loading areas and the use of signs. Other regulations provide space for schools, parks, or other public facilities.
Zoning helps town planners bring about orderly growth and change. It controls population density and helps create attractive, healthful residential areas. In addition, zoning helps assure property owners and residents that the characteristics of nearby areas will remain stable.