Learn about local zoning

New York, New York, is one of the biggest areas for new construction in the entire country. It is also an area that is rife with construction litigation. One of the ways to avoid construction litigation is understanding and following zoning regulations.

Zoning divides a municipality, such as a city or a county, into industrial, commercial and residential zones, with each being distinct from the others and having its own distinct purpose. Zoning regulations include a lot of rules imposed upon those who live, work and build in a particular zone. Those rules cover the types of buildings that can be built, and the modifications that can be made to those buildings. Everything including the height and width of buildings and the number of rooms that they have is covered, as are the number of buildings on a particular lot, and when buildings are residential, whether they need to be single-family or can be multi-family.

The rules also cover things like the location of utility lines, building setbacks from streets and any other boundaries that may be put in place around buildings. Naturally, rules affecting all of those things affect the plans of developers and builders, requiring developers and builders to carefully review and understand the rules and incorporate them into their plans. Neighboring municipalities will also want to carefully review and understand each other's zoning regulations since they will be affected by them too.

In some cases, large zones may have what are labeled spot zones within them. Spot zones have different rules than the surrounding zone, and often apply to just one parcel of property. Naturally, this is often challenged, since it can be misused as a form of crony capitalism. By learning about the zoning regulations of the area in which they plan to live, work or build, families, business people and builders can make sure that they are complying with the regulations and this save themselves a lot of expense.

Source: FindLaw, "Land Use and Zoning Basics," accessed March 29, 2018

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