Zoning laws exist to help communities expand and grow effectively. Community zoning laws help create thriving economies with space for different types of businesses and residential properties. Zoning is usually part of a town’s “master plan,” a comprehensive strategy of how the city would like to grow in the future. Zoning is an important legal matter because it determines where you may build a commercial structure, open a new business, or construct a home or subdivision. Therefore, it is essential to understand how a local municipality’s zoning laws will affect your plans to build a new home or business.
What are zoning laws?
Zoning laws are legal ordinances that divide the land in a city or town into distinct sections, called districts. Zoning regulations specify what kinds of structures can be put in specific community areas, restricting the type of buildings allowed within the particular district. They also regulate the building size and location, such as how tall the building can be, lot size, density of the surrounding area, and square footage.
Why are zoning laws necessary?
Restricting the types of businesses and structures within a district allows for different enterprises to flourish. Zoning laws can influence the overall community structure and tone. For instance, by separating commercial zones from residential ones, homeowners can live in an area with limited traffic and less noise than if a commercial building was allowed in the same place. Zoning laws can also help restore and maintain the historic integrity of a particular area, as seen in the historic downtowns of many of the cities located in Central Florida.
Local zoning districts
Zoning districts may vary between individual cities, but generally, they fall into categories and subcategories of commercial and residential properties. For example, in Orange County, there are five zoning districts:
This zoning district may include office spaces, wholesale commercial structures, retail shopping complexes, and stores.
Industrial zones are for factories, manufacturing plants, and storage facilities. In Orange County, there are three subcategories of industrial zones: light, medium, and heavy.
Just like industrial districts, there are several subcategories within this zoning district as well. Residential communities may include specified rural areas, mobile home parks, University residential districts, urban villages, and residential subdivisions.
Agricultural zones include farmland. In Orange County, there is even a special denotation for citrus farming.
If you are looking to open a business in an area that is not currently zoned for it, you can apply to amend the current zoning code. To apply to amend the zoning district, you will need to contact the county’s Planning Division. Suppose there is a disagreement about what type of district your business belongs to. In that case, there may need to be a public hearing where people can voice their opinions on the new construction.
Central Florida zoning and land use attorneys
The Boutty Law Firm offers experienced real estate attorneys who guide you through various real estate-related issues such as applying for the correct permits, negotiating, and litigating real estate issues. Contact our Winter Park office at 407-622-1395 to get started.