No matter the business, the government—whether federal, state, or local—will surely have a say on how, when, and where it can be set up. Most cities and counties have zoning guidelines that define and limit the uses of the various parcels of property within their jurisdiction. These guidelines serve many objectives, but for prominent city planners like Leon Churchill, their most important purpose is to separate and group properties in a manner that can be beneficial to all inhabitants.
How Zoning Laws Operate
Zoning laws work under the basic premise that property must be protected from having a neighboring property that impacts it negatively. This is why residential areas are built away from commercial and/or industrial areas. Put simply, zoning laws are the government’s method of making (almost) every citizen within its jurisdictions happy.
Cumulative zoning is a scheme that prioritizes residential districts and is less protective of other land uses. For example, under this scheme, a house can be built in an industrial zone, but a manufacturing plant can’t be built in a residential zone. The logic behind this scheme is that property usages that are higher on the priority list (residential) must be protected from the harms that can potentially come from usages lower on the list (industrial).
Single-use zoning—aka mutually exclusive or Euclidean zoning—makes no exemptions with regard to the prescribed uses for an area, regardless of level of priority. This means that the city will not tolerate the building of a residence in an industrial district, and vice versa. Reasons for a jurisdiction to implement single-use zoning can include suppressing conflict between differing property owners, public health concerns, and the preservation of certain spaces for certain usages.
Modified Cumulative Zoning
Modified cumulative zoning was developed to allow cities to provide a greater deal of protection than what cumulative zoning alone offers. In this type of zoning, districts practice cumulative zoning by default. However, residences won’t be permitted in an industrial area.
Most cities employ a hybrid between these different zoning types as they see fit. They may uphold single-use zoning in one area, and practice cumulative zoning in another. It’s all about finding what works for the population. Discerning which type of zoning is best for an area is what prominent city planners like Leon Churchill do best. Learn from their examples by researching on their work or by visiting websites like asla.org.