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Zoning affects how real estate may be used

Our readers may have noticed that it is not uncommon for similar types of buildings to be grouped together. For example, they may notice that many restaurants and shops all appear on the same blocks, while single family homes are separate and apart and generally grouped together. This is due to zoning, an area of real estate law that regulates where certain types of homes and businesses may be located.

Zoning serves the purpose of keeping similarly operating entities near each other to minimize disturbances. For example, imagine if a busy nightclub was permitted to open in the middle of a quiet residential street. The homeowners may have disputes with the noise and traffic of the nightclub and the nightclub may feel restricted by the lack of parking and commercial energy in the area.

As readers may surmise, two main categories of zoning are residential and commercial. A residential zoning area may limit building use and new construction to certain types of housing, such as single family homes or multifamily dwellings like duplexes. Within the category of commercial, different zoning designations may exist.

Commercial zoning areas may differentiate between agricultural zones, industrial zones and general commercial zones. In some instances, an area may have mixed use zoning, such as when residential spaces are built above commercial entities.

Before purchasing real estate it is important that the prospective buyer understands the zoning laws that will affect how the parcel or structure may be used. Consultation with a real estate attorney can help a buyer clarify the zoning issues that may impact their capacity to use real estate.

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