Zoning Ordinance - Definition

A zoning ordinance is the formal codification of land use policies for a city, district, county, or other Unit of government. The goal of a zoning ordinance is to establish permitted uses for land covered by the ordinance, and to distinguish between different types of uses which may be incompatible. Zoning not only affects commercial and office districts of a city, but residential uses as well. Zoning controls where citizens can build things and what can be built in a private Yard.

Zoning creates the character of a city by regulating the types of buildings and the kinds of uses allowable in high-access areas of the city, like Town Center and Rockville Pike. The sense of place created in these areas is developed through zoning regulations which determine how high the buildings can be, what types of landscaping and other street features are present between the buildings, whether there is window shopping or sidewalk cafes available at the street level and whether offices or condos are available in the upper stories. In addition, zoning assures that there is adequate parking so visitors can use these businesses.

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