Monday, May 9, 2011

Blog 3

Julie Nolan

Blog Post Assignment 3



When you buy a piece of land it is “zoned” a specific way, but how does it get it’s zoning and can you change how that piece of land is zoned? There are of course steps that have to be taken and also paper work that has to be filled out and sometimes even some other steps will need to be met. But in the end you can now use that piece of land that was originally zoned for one house to hold multiple houses.

Did you know however that zoning is common in most cities that not all require it? However, most cities do have zoning laws in place so before you decide that instead of having a house on your property you would rather have an office complex you should check with your local ordinances.

There is one main reason as to why zoning is pertinent at all and that is where the land is located. Property values increase when the property itself conforms to its surroundings. For example a house located right in the middle of a bunch of retail stores is going to be valued less than a house surrounded by other houses. No one wants their house to be too noisy on the outside they want to feel safe and also you would not want to be forced to put a fence around your house to keep people off your front yard which you might have to if you are surrounded by retail shopping. Some people think that we do not need zoning and actually hurts our urban development. These people that say this use the cities that do not require zoning as an example for their cause.

Government can use these zoning guide lines to regulate land use intensity. For example they can change the permitted density of a residential development or how tall your building can be and set back requirements. Some people may not realize what set back requirements even are and they are basically you buy a plot of land let’s say it’s a rectangle of 90 x 120 feet and your setbacks would be 10 feet from the front property line, 5 feet from the sides, and 5 feet from the rear this leaves 8977 square feet for the building envelope. Why do we even have setbacks? Well for one it helps if a fire starts in one property it will not spread as easily to another property also we cannot build a house right next to another house we need room for people to move in between these houses such as utilities workers or repair men and lastly just for plain old privacy, how else would we get privacy if set backs were not a requirement. If you want to see what I mean about the government controlling the height of a building you could go down to the Monterey area where they do this in a very visual and interesting way in my own opinion. If a house is being built or added on to and is zoned at a certain location you have to have stakes up to where your new building height will be so that your neighbors will know ahead of time and will have time to voice their concerns.

Many people might say that zoning is not needed look there are other cities that function just fine without it but stop for a second and think if there wasn’t a zoning requirement what could you be living next to right now instead of what it is now? Is the property next to you up for sale as we speak? If it is would the next owner leave it as a house or decide they want it to be a commercial use spot instead and now you’re living next to an adult bookstore instead. I think zoning helps us out more than we like to think it does so that when we run errands mostly everything will be in one location and we are not traveling all over the city for 3 stores and also to keep us safe and give us our quiet neighborhoods. For those that think zoning isn’t worth their time than go live in a city that does not have zoning requirements and see how you like it, these cities pretty much have it down pat a city cannot just transition into having zoning to no zoning it would be a disaster so most cities will keep their zoning requirements but as long as you understand why we have it and that you can’t just do what you want everyone should be fine.

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