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A guide to the various types of zoning

Towns and cities in Maryland and throughout the country use zoning regulations as a way to organize and regulate growth and make sure that areas have designated uses. Such regulations govern land use and other activities within a town or city. There are several different kinds of zoning, including historic, rural, agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential. Following is a brief description of a few zoning categories and what kinds of structures and uses are associated with them.

Commercial zoning governs commercial businesses including what types are permitted and where they can be located. Vacant land that may be attractive for this type of development can be covered, as well as some warehouses, hotels, shopping centers, nightclubs, office buildings and other similar structures. Residential zoning laws regulate several aspects of residential areas such as the number of structures that can be placed on a property and the kinds of animals allowed there. For instance, residents may not be permitted to keep farm animals like chickens, goats or horses in areas zoned for residential use.

Zoning is a very important consideration for someone who is interested in buying property for a new business or the expansion of an existing one, and a potential purchaser should make certain that the commercial property in question is zoned for the proposed business. For example, zoning restrictions may not allow a nightclub to be opened within a certain radius of a school building.

A business and commercial lawyer may explain local zoning regulations to a potential investor. In addition, the lawyer may evaluate a property to ensure that the purchaser's intended use will not violate any zoning regulations. Depending on the situation, it may be possible to file for an exception or a challenge to a zoning regulation.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Zoning", accessed on Jan. 12, 2015

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