Tell Me About My Zoning District

Posted by Evolve August 23, 2021

Cars rushing by down a city street.

Do you know what zoning district your property is in? Depending on your municipality, your commercial property could be in a zone that could result in a delay in your land survey transaction.

Not Every Commercial Property is in a Commercial Zone

Many people commonly assume that if they own a commercial property, the property is located in a commercial zone (likely Zone C). This may or may not be true. It might be in B, for Business, C-3, PD, PUD-23, XR-13-R, DB-4…. the list goes on and on.

The fact is, each municipality has its own unique system for zoning. At its most basic, you might see:

  • C for Commercial
  • R for Residential
  • A for Agricultural
  • I for Industrial

But the governing jurisdiction for a property may use B for Business instead of C for Commercial. To further complicate matters, it may have been determined that more specific requirements would be necessary for certain sections, such as a height requirement or uniform street frontage. There may be a DB zone, for Downtown Businesses and the area to the west of that DB district may have more historic buildings with no parking areas thus making it a DBH district. There really is no limit to the naming systems that might be used in any given municipality which may result in a delay in your transaction.

Does Your Zoning District Have Specific Regulations?

In some instances, a property may have been developed as part of a larger project in a PD (Planned Development) or PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning district. When cited as PD or PUD, it is not common to find a specific list of regulations for things like height, setbacks, parking, etc., within the general zoning code. PD districts generally have development-specific or property-specific regulations that can only be found as part of the development plan or site plan. To ascertain the specifics of the property, interested parties will need access to the associated plan document.

Zoning vs. Land Use

Another item to keep in mind is that there is a difference between zoning and land use. There may be separate maps for each, and for good reason. Land use provides a general description for a broad section of area. A municipality might intend for an entire section of a city to be a commercial zone as depicted on a land use map. However, within that designated commercial land use area there may be a lengthy list of zoning districts, all of which are related to commercial uses, but which indicate more specific regulations. The commercial land use designation is where the innumerable zoning categories can be found to identify the specific zone.

Zoning Reports by NV5/ Bock & Clark

It is good to recognize that each municipality is unique in how they administer zoning. When researching and reporting zoning, take the necessary steps to check the zoning map and the zoning code and verify your findings with your local zoning department. Or contact NV5 Zoning, where our experienced team members will assist in putting together a current zoning report to ensure that your transaction proceeds smoothly. Call: 1-800-787-8390 to request a quote or for more information.