Are land use and zoning laws really necessary?

If you have ever tried to build a home in Ohio, you probably already know how much of a headache this can be. Local governments insist that zoning laws and building codes help to protect consumers from unsafe residences. Some regulations, however, have little to do with safety and more to do with preserving property values.

This includes high minimum square foot requirements and other rules that put building a home out of reach for so many homeowning hopefuls. Forbes sums this up well by pointing out that these laws put a cap on how many new homes are built, further assisting with driving up the cost of existing homes.

This often holds as true for homeowners as for commercial entities that rely on land use and zoning laws to be in their favor in order to make a profit. Imagine striking black gold on prime residential real estate land. Even if there are no neighbors for miles, it might take months or years before all the proper permits are granted for development and the land is rezoned to suit your needs. The smaller and more rural the area, the more likely this is.

Generally speaking, local authorities are thrilled to learn that profitable natural resources are found in their jurisdiction. Development of that area means more jobs for the people in town and an influx of workers from neighboring areas. Businesses start to boom and the city and state get to collect more revenue from taxes.

Even so, none of this happens overnight. Worse, if development plans put other natural resources at risk or crosses paths with conservation areas, it might be some time before development work begins. So, are land use and zoning laws really necessary?

While they do cause a hassle for people who wish to develop land for residential and commercial purposes, some laws and regulations do help to protect consumers, the general public and the natural environment. Are all land use and zoning laws really necessary? Now, that is a question more open to debate. Even so, your only options might be to follow them, apply for exceptions or petition to change them.

This article provides information on land use and zoning laws and should not be interpreted as legal advice.