Zoning & Land Use Regulations

illustration by Paul Hoffman

“Zoning is merely a tool. It can be used constructively as a positive force for community good or it can be misused.” — Edward McMahon, from “What's So Bad About Zoning?”

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slice of apple pie

What’s So Bad About Zoning?

A reality check on four myths about zoning and land use regulation: 1. Zoning is un-American, 2. Sparsely populated rural areas don’t need to control uses of land, 3. Land use controls will increase taxes and reduce property values, and 4. Planning is a bad idea.

Zoning Basics

Zoning Basics

Mike Chandler and Greg Dale look at zoning basics with an overview of the purposes of zoning, the structure of a typical zoning ordinance, and the principal players in the “zoning universe.” With sidebars on key zoning-related legal issues.

photo from Ilene Watson article on design guidelines

An Introduction to Design Guidelines

A growing number of cities and towns are using design guidelines to help preserve or reinforce the distinctive architectural character of certain areas or districts. Planner Ilene Watson explains what design guidelines are and how they can be used.

Parade of signs along U.S. 50 near Ocean City, Maryland.

On-Premise Sign Regulation

Regulation of on-premise advertising signs is one important means by which a community can assert control over its physical environment. The end result is not just a more visually attractive environment, but one in which businesses can communicate more effectively to their customers.