DEFINITION of 'Zoning'

Municipal or local government laws that dictate how real property can and cannot be used in certain areas. Zoning laws limit commercial use of land in order to prevent oil, manufacturing or other types of businesses from building in residential neighborhoods. However, these laws can be modified or suspended if construction of the property will serve to help the community advance economically.


Parks, businesses and homes are all restricted under zoning laws. Zoning areas include industrial, light industrial, commercial, light commercial, agricultural, single-family residential, multi-unit residential and schools. In 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that properly drawn zoning ordinances were a valid exercise of the states' governing power. Zoning became constitutional by the U.S. supreme court as a result of the case Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 395 (1926).

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