When it comes to zoning we all can get a little confused. There are some verbiage that is a little confusing and it feels like none of us understand, for example, the common generalizations are R1 for a single-family home, R2 for two-dwelling units, and R3 for apartment complexes. In addition, some communities also designate another number to indicate certain square footage for that particular zone. For instance, R1-3 signifies a single-family dwelling with a lot size of less than 3 acres. I like to think of myself as someone that is studious and learning constantly. If I'm not learning I'm not growing especially about things that are important NOW. I don't want to look back more than I already have and say I didn't try my best. So I'm going to break down zoning laws here as best I can but also provide documents from others as well to give true laws for us to understand. Since there are all kinds of zoning, I am going to break down three that are basic and give examples of their usage.
A subdivision is a parcel of land subdivided into smaller areas. It's purpose is to take a large tract of land and divide into smaller ones to make it easier to develop and build separate homes and lots on that particular parcel of land. This increases growth overall and maximizes space. It can also make selling these homes faster since, most home buyers like to be around other homebuyers which provides more movement and trade in a particular area, it boosts that economy. That parcel of land becomes fully developed into smaller parcels of land.
Creating a subdivision usually begins with the developer applying for a zoning permit in the area. City approval and issuance of a permit is based on whether or not the particular land can be developed, and how it may be zoned. Zoning is either for single or multi-family residences, depending on the needs of the area and the request of the developer. Once the permit is obtained, the area will be built up, often at a rapid speed. Subdivisions typically surround a city center most often zoned for business and commercial use. As the city grows, subdivisions can spread in every direction, providing residential living areas that are within a short distance from the downtown without being directly in it. Many rural areas quickly get swallowed up into subdivision developments as the city expands, and local authorities often attempt to keep this type of growth from destroying the local area. However, in most cases the development of subdivisions occurs at a rapid pace, driven by a need for cheap, fast housing. Thus, subdivision growth is often considered an unfortunate side effect of the growth of a community.
Down zoning is the process by which an area of land is rezoned to a usage that is less dense and less developed than its previous usage. This is typically done to limit sprawl and overgrowth of cities, and to help concentrate areas of development into smaller sections to prevent over zoning a community.
Down zoning may occur when an area that is built up with large apartment buildings is cleared, and the area is rebuilt with single-family homes or smaller multi-family units. Another example of down zoning is the rebuilding of a large area of shopping malls to single-building shops and restaurants, or a large industrial area rebuilt as retail shops.
Contract zoning is a zoning technique for land use reclassification with a private party, based upon conditions not imposed on others in the same classification. A particular area which is zoned for one type of development is rezoned to another classification based on an agreement between the government and that party who will be using the land.
Contract zoning examples
If an area is zoned for residential use, but a business wants its land use to be commercially zoned, it would be considered contract zoning if the government rezoned that particular area as commercial, based on an agreement by the business to restrict their use to avoid some type of operation that the government deemed to be objectionable to the public, such as emissions from a factory. Another instance of contract zoning is the restrictive agreement that in exchange for the land being given a commercially zoned classification, the business agrees not to build a large parking lot.