Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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What are zoning laws and why is it important to understand them?

Land use laws can have an impact on the operation of your business or acquisition or development of new land. As a result, residents of Baton Rouge may wonder what zoning laws refer to, which is an important question to ask. Zoning laws refer to the regulation of the use and development of real estate. In general, zoning laws are used to divide communities into real estate sections including residential, commercial and industrial sections which typically do not overlap, though they can in mixed-use sections, which are developed in a fairly uniform manner.

Within the three primary types of zoning districts, additional specific and detailed restrictions can include the types of buildings permitted; setbacks from the street and other boundary requirements; the size and height of buildings, as well as other specific building considerations; accessory building restrictions or the location of utilities for the building. Additional restrictions can relate to the lot including lot frontage; lot area minimums; the number of buildings on a lot and parking access. Depending on the type of use that has been zoned for, additional or different restrictions may apply as well.

Zoning laws can impact existing buildings but also serve to guide future development. If a regulation is not considered reasonable or is considered arbitrary, it may lead to disputes which can be challenged and resolved in court. It is important for new business owners and business owners expanding their operations to understand what zoning laws are, their specific impact on their project and what to do to challenge a zoning requirement they may believe is unfair.

It is important for growing businesses to be aware of the legal requirements and the legal impact of laws, such as zoning laws, on their businesses. Advance knowledge can help business owners navigate the process and prevent problems down the road.

Source: FindLaw, "Land Use and Zoning Basics," Accessed Jan. 31, 2016

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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