Real estate interests can be affected by zoning issues as Delaware residents or business owners seek to purchase property for their needs. Zoning can also be a major concern to those already living in an area as newcomers seek zoning changes or waivers based on business plans or home activities. An understanding of the various types of zoning can be helpful. There are at least eight major types of zoning although the specific details and titles can vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Residential zoning covers areas designed for single family dwellings and other living situations. Apartments and condominiums also fit into this category along with trailer parks, duplexes and similar developments. Residential zoning may prohibit certain types of animals and home-based business activities. Commercial zoning, on the other hand, allows many types of business activities. Commercial zoning may apply to structures as well as to vacant land that may be developed for commercial purposes. Industrial zoning is similar, but may address specific businesses involving major noise levels. More specialized zoning categories could be applicable for transportation locations such as airports.

Agricultural zoning is appropriate for areas that feature a significant level of farming. Rural zoning is similar, an applicable designation in areas where farms and ranches are prevalent. Historic zoning is designed to protect important areas with historically significant homes and structures, often involving restrictions on further development or structural changes. Combination zoning may address mixed-use needs based on the demographics and activity in a given community.

Although zoning is designed to facilitate a cohesive community environment, there may be occasions during which a homeowner or business owner may want to seek changes to facilitate certain activity. A homeowner who wants to raise backyard chickens, for example, might seek an exception to animal restrictions. It may be helpful to consult with a real estate attorney prior to applying for a change.

Source: Findlaw, “Types of Zoning“, November 19, 2014