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What are zoning regulations and what impact can they have?

Zoning regulations are important for many reasons and are important to understand but you may have questions and wonder what they are. In general, zoning laws govern the use of property; including land use; the height and size of buildings; property uses; the character and development of the property; parking requirements; population density; and the placement of signs.

Zoning approval is required for new construction and in a variety of other circumstances. The use of a property must conform to the zoning laws regulating it. It is important to be familiar with what zoning laws are, how they impact your property and ways that it might be possible to change them if necessary. To appeal a decision that a project does not conform to applicable zoning laws in Philadelphia, an appeal petition can be filed and a request for a variance can be made before the Zoning Board.

When considering the purchase of a property or a project, it is essential to be familiar with applicable zoning laws which will impact the use of the property. Because of the significant impact zoning regulations can have on the use of the property or on a project, it is also important know how to approach a zoning board when seeking rezoning, a conditional use of the property or a zoning variance.

Having knowledgeable direction through each phase of the process of acquiring a property and evaluating the impact of zoning regulations can help lead to a smoother and more successful transaction. Being aware of zoning laws and how to address any zoning challenges you may encounter may sometimes seem complicated and complex but does not have to be with the proper guidance.

Source: City of Philadelphia Licenses & Inspections, "Zoning," Accessed June 29, 2016

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