The Zoning System

Author:Christian Turner
2. The Zoning System
2.1. Introduction
A Sample State Zoning Enabling Act
Section 1. Grant of Power
For the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals, or the
general welfare of the community, the legislative body of
cities and incorporated villages is hereby empowered to
regulate and restrict the height, number of stories and size
of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot that
may be occupied, the size of yards, courts, and other open
spaces, the density of population and the location and use
of buildings, structures and land of trade, industry,
residence or other purposes.
Section 2. Districts
For any or all of said purposes the local legislative body
may divide the municipality into districts of such number,
shape, and area as may be deemed best suited to carry out
the purposes of this act; and within such districts it may
regulate and restrict the erection, construction,
reconstruction, alteration, repair, or use of buildings,
structures , or land. All such regulations shall be uniform
for each class or kind of building throughout each district,
but the regulations in one district may differ from those n
other districts.
Section 3. Purposes in View
Such regulations shall be made in accordance with a
comprehensive plan and designed to lessen congestion in
the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic, and other
dangers; to promote health and the general welfare; to
provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding
of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to
facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water,
sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements,
Such regulations shall be made with reasonable
consideration, among other things, to the character of the
district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses, and
with a view to conserving the value of buildings and
encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout
such municipality.
Section 4. Method of Procedure
The legislative body of such municipality shall provide for
the manner in which such regulations and restrictions and
the boundaries of such districts shall be determined,
established, and enforced, and from time to time amended,
supplemented, or changed. However, no such regulation,
restriction, or boundary shall become effective until after a
public hearing in relation thereto, at which parties in
interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard.
At least 15 days’ notice of the time and place of such
hearing shall be published in an official paper, or a paper of
general circulation, in such municipality.
Section 5. Changes
Such regulations, restrictions, and boundaries may from
time to time be amended, supplemented, changed,
modified, or repealed. In case, however, of a protest against
such change, signed by the owners of 20 per cent or more
either of the area of the lots included in such proposed
change, or of those immediately adjacent in the rear thereof
extending ______ feet there from, or of those directly
opposite thereto extending ______ feet from the street
frontage of such opposite lots, such amendment shall not
become effective except by the favorable vote of three-
fourths of all the members of the legislative body of such
municipality. The provisions of the previous section
relative to public hearings and official notice shall apply
equally to all changes or amendments.
Section 6. Zoning Commission
In order to avail itself of the powers conferred by this act,
such legislative body shall appoint a commission, to be
known as the zoning commission, to recommend the
boundaries of the various original districts and appropriate
regulations to be enforced therein. Such commission shall
make a preliminary report and hold public hearings thereon
before submitting its final report, and such legislative body
shall not hold its public hearings or take action until it has
received the final report of such commission. Where a city
plan commission already exists, it may be appointed as the
zoning commission.
Section 7. Board of Adjustments
Such local legislative body may provide for the
appointment of a board of adjustment, and in the
regulations and restrictions adopted pursuant to the
authority of this act may provide that the said board of
adjustment may, in appropriate cases and subject to
appropriate conditions and safeguards, make special
exceptions to the terms of the ordinance in harmony with
its general purpose and intent and in accordance with
general or specific rules therein contained.
The board of adjustment shall consist of five members,
each to be appointed for a term of three years and
removable for cause by the appointing authority upon
written charges and after public hearing. Vacancies shall be
filled for the unexpired term of any member whose term
becomes vacant.
The board shall adopt rules in accordance with the
provisions of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this act.
Meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the
chairman and at such other times as the board may
determine. Such chairman, or in his absence the acting
chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance

To continue reading