Zoning laws are used to determine how land can be used in certain areas. As you can imagine, this can have a significant impact on the value of the property and to what use it can be put. For that reason, property owners and those buying or selling property in the San Francisco area should be familiar with its zoning laws and zoning laws basics.
What should I know about zoning laws?
There are two primary aspects to zoning laws including what the zoning regulations are and what can be done if you want to diverge from a zoning regulation. Different areas of land are divided into zoning districts. These zoning regulations specify how land can be used in each district and districts are typically divided up by residential, commercial and industrial districts. There are also commonly mixed-use districts.
Zoning regulations can include a number of different requirements. They can govern the size and shapes of buildings; limit the number of units or apartments on a single piece of property; or specify how late a business can remain open at night. Building height, setbacks and parking may all also be included in zoning requirements.
If a property owner does not want to follow a particular zoning requirement, they can request a variance. When requesting an exception, the property owner will need to demonstrate that the zoning regulation as written would cause a practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship. It may also be possible to change a zoning designation under some circumstances.
Familiarity with real estate law resources can be invaluable when trying to understand zoning requirements or when trying to avoid following a zoning regulation. It is necessary for property owners and those engaged in buying and selling property to be familiar with how zoning works and the legal options available if you run up against a problematic zoning regulation.