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Zoning Types

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Zoning Types

As you look for business locations, keep in mind the different types of zoning you may encounter. Knowing how a property is zoned can help you avoid problems and give you information to help you seek changes.

First, note that within each type of zoning there are sub-categories. In Residential zoning, for example, you might find R-1 (single family?) or R-4 (four-plex?). The designations for these subcategories vary by community.

Here are the major types of zoning in the U.S.:

  • Residential
    Residential zoning is for individual family units or groups. It includes single-family homes, duplexes, condominiums, trailer parks, and apartments. If the building you want to use for your business is zoned "residential" you will need to get a variance to use the property for business purposes.
  • Commercial
    Commercial property includes almost everything that is not residential, from offices to retail stores, to shopping malls and strip malls, to bars and nightclubs. Most professional offices are zoned commercial.
  • Industrial
    Industrial zoning is for manufacturing and warehousing operations.
  • Historic
    Historic zoning is used for buildings are areas that have historic value. Many of these properties are designated as "historic landmarks" by the National Register of Historic Places. If you want to use one of these properties for a business, you will have to adhere to the requirements for changing and using these properties.
  • Agricultural and Rural
    These two zoning types regulate land used for farms and ranches, limiting the non-farm use.

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