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What Are the Different Types of Zoning in Real Estate?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2023 | Real Estate

Like real estate, zoning comes down to three things: Location, location, location. You probably would not want to buy a house right next to a water treatment facility, nor would you want to open up a restaurant by a waste management facility. Zoning laws make your job easier (or harder) by dividing a town, city, or county into “zoning districts.” What are the different types of zoning in real estate? Keeping in mind that local regulations vary significantly from place to place, the five primary types of zoning districts are residential, commercial, industrial, historic, and agricultural.

Batson Nolan PLC helps individuals and businesses buy and sell real estate throughout Tennessee. Our team has extensive experience litigating real estate disputes, like zoning violations, and can help you navigate this nuanced corner of the law.

What Is the Purpose of Having Multiple Types of Zoning in Real Estate?

Zoning laws divide areas into “zones” called “zoning districts.” Within each district, there are overarching rules about what you can and cannot do. For example, a residential zoning district may require all or substantially all buildings within the district to be housing.

The idea behind creating zoning districts is to establish uniformity within each area so people can go about their business freely. Further, it also helps people have the right expectations about what odors or noise levels may surface within an area. A district with solely residential houses will have a different ambiance than a manufacturing or agricultural zone.

Who Enacts Zoning Regulations in Tennessee?

In many cases, municipal boards enact zoning regulations and share responsibility for making rules about what goes on within the city limits. But county boards may create zoning districts for areas that fall outside the city limits or if the town does not opt-in to create zoning rules.

The municipal or county zoning board also mediates zoning disputes and makes decisions about zoning, such as requests for permits, waivers, or other matters.

What Are the Different Types of Zoning in Real Estate?

There are many different types of zoning districts in real estate throughout Tennessee. For example, the City of Clarksville has 27 zoning districts, and Montgomery County has 23. Let’s go over a few examples of zoning districts within the state of Tennessee

Residential Districts

Residential zoning districts must have dwellings within them. Each city or county makes rules about what that means to them and the other restrictions on houses. For example, Clarksville further categorizes districts by single-family, mobile home, and single and multifamily. Within each single-family residential zone, the dwelling and surrounding yard and structures must be on a plot of land that meets a certain size threshold.

Commercial Districts

Commercial districts usually have customer-serving businesses, like restaurants, grocery stores, shopping centers, and professional service providers. Cities and towns may choose to subdivide these districts further. For example, Clarksville creates commercial districts like regional shopping center districts, general commercial districts, office districts, and neighborhood commercial districts. Within Clarksville’s commercial zones, each plot must meet a minimum square foot requirement.

Industrial Districts

Industrial districts are typically those that contain manufacturing plants and other facilities. For example, an industrial section might house distribution centers, storage facilities, and plants. Clarksville includes two main types of industrial zoning districts: light and general, each with maximum height restrictions.

Historic Districts

Historic districts help preserve and communicate information about our past. In a state like Tennessee, which was a significant location for the nation’s Civil War, it is essential to safeguard and contextualize history to help us understand our past and how to move forward.

Historic districts are more than museums. In many cases, these districts seek to preserve the look and feel of the neighborhood to maintain a historic look. For example, Springfield zoning laws restrict the modifications that homeowners can make to the front or street-facing side of their houses. But these laws allow property owners to remodel the interior and rear of their homes in any way they see fit (within the bounds of other laws, of course).

Agricultural Districts

Finally, agricultural zoning regulations in Tennessee make space for farmers and ranchers to practice their vital trade. They also insulate the public from the peculiar smells and sounds at commercial farming facilities so as not to disrupt the peace.

Clarksville has two types of agricultural zoning districts: agricultural and agricultural commercial.

Batson Nolan: Tennessee Zoning Law Attorneys

When buying or selling real estate, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of zoning laws before signing a contract. Your plan for the property may be a winning idea, but the zoning laws may make it impossible to carry it out in that location. The different types of zoning in real estate may serve a purpose, but they can be complex to understand if you are unfamiliar with this niche area. And decisions that do not take into account zoning laws can end up being costly mistakes.

The zoning law attorneys at Batson Nolan have decades of knowledge accumulated through hard work and dedication fighting for clients throughout Tennessee. Our firm opened its doors in 1860, and we haven’t stopped working for our community since. We lean on our robust legacy and forge new paths to stay at the forefront of the legal profession and better serve our clients.

For help with zoning disputes or understanding regulations, call our office today or submit an online contact form to schedule a consultation.