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Simply put, zoning, in a planning or land use context, is the classification of the land in a community into districts with different regulations for its utilization. Zoning and other methods of land use control have evolved with the primary objectives of promoting the health, safety, and wellbeing of residents while minimizing the negative impacts of one activity or use upon others. Zoning is effectively a legislative process whereby a community prioritizes values associated with land, development, and associated activities. A zoning system generally includes map or plan elements which define areas where like regulations apply, and a textual, usually relatively locally legislated ordinance, code, or law consisting of definitions and …show more content…
The final general type of zoning regulation limits the physical and spatial form of development. Examples of this type include restrictions on building heights, setbacks, road widths, building materials, and architectural style.
In the first third of the 20th century, the United States saw zoning become an accepted tool in land use regulation. New York City passed a zoning plan in 1916. This set of rules primarily focused on building form and setbacks, and included a now routine provision for variances. The New York law was primarily a response to a technological innovation—the skyscraper—and the arising concerns associated with it.
Many States adopted the Standard State Zoning Enabling Acts of 1922, which was offered as a model by the U.S. Department of Commerce and provided a framework and codified a general legal basis for zoning across the country. The Department of Commerce also introduced a Standard City Planning Enabling Act, which was widely adopted beginning in 1928. These acts put into place the general structure of local and regional planning and zoning which is still used today. Elements and entities such as the Planning Commission, the Master Plan, subdivision control measures, and provision for regional planning bodies and plans were primarily introduced by the Standard City Planning Enabling Act.
The best known legal foundation for zoning in the
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