Legal Professional?
Build Your Business

Land Use, Planning & Zoning



The field of land use, planning and zoning law covers local regulations on the use of land within cities and counties. State and federal governments generally do not engage in land use regulation, but within cities and counties certain zones may be designated as:

  • Residential
  • Agricultural
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Mixed-use
  • Special use

These classifications outline the allowable uses of land within these zones. Mixed-use developments allow a certain percentage of commercial and residential construction within the zone, while special use zoning designations are typically used for airports, large-scale shopping malls, and entertainment venues.

Land Use, Planning and Zoning Regulations Govern Density of Construction

Land use, planning and zoning regulations also govern the allowable density of construction within the targeted areas; for example, some residential areas may be zoned only for single-family homes, while others allow apartments and condominium developments, increasing the population density within the area. A number of other restrictions are covered under local land use regulations, including:

  • Required green space
  • Allowable height of structures
  • Parking requirements
  • Surface area covered by structures
  • Type of accommodations provided

Many other restrictions may be put in place by local government agencies. Attorneys practicing in the area of land use, planning and zoning typically represent landholders in seeking variances from existing land use regulations or in enforcing those restrictions on neighboring property owners. By protecting the rights of home and property owners and petitioning for reasonable variances to the existing zoning laws, land use attorneys ensure that individuals and companies enjoy the full benefits of the properties they own.