Keeping an Eye on Zoning Decisions
Zoning classifications are the most important tool that a local government has to control the way land is used in a community. Areas designated as residential may have further controls on housing density for single family homes, townhouses or multiple-family houses. There are usually areas set aside for industrial, commercial and recreational purposes. Zoning boards spend their time listening to requests for exceptions to these rules or hearing arguments from parties who want to change or bend the existing zoning regulations.
These zoning decisions have a major impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. Citizens' groups often get involved in testifying at hearings on proposals that could affect their property values or their quality of life. These groups help create interest about issues in the local press and work to educate their neighbors about matters affecting them. Developers who go before a zoning board seeking major changes are wise to involve the local neighborhood group in formulating proposals that will affect those homeowners.
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