Keeping order in cities is a vital function of the city government. In order to do this, laws must be put into place. Some of these laws outline what types of structures can be erected in certain areas, which is known as zoning laws. It is imperative that anyone who plans on purchasing or building a structure ensures that the structure and the intended use fall within the zoning regulations.
Besides keeping some type of order in the city, zoning laws have other purposes. They seek to protect the value of properties in the area. They also allow people to enjoy using their property in the intended manner. They ensure that there is suitable infrastructure to support the activities that will occur in a specific area. For example, a dirt road likely wouldn't be suitable for a very busy outlet mall, but it would be fine for a farmhouse.
The city's master plan helps to outline what types of building can be in specific locations. This plan takes the long-term needs of the city into account instead of focusing only on the short-term desires of constituents.
There are times when the zoning for a property might be for one type of structure, but a person may petition the city to have the zoning changed. This isn't a quick answer, so if you are going to have to go through it, be sure to plan on it taking a long time. Typically, there will be a public hearing where anyone can stop in and voice their concerns or support for the plan you are asking to be approved. Knowing the law and how to present your plan might be beneficial.