Contract Zoning

Making a deal with a governing body to be granted exemptions to a zoning code was originally considered illegal, but the concept has evolved into two versions:

  • Legitimate conditional use zoning:  In this acceptable version, there is a unilateral promise from the landowner to the governing board.  For example, a city may decide to allow a production factory in an area where factories are not zoned if the factory will not release any emissions, excessive noise, or odors.
  • Illegitimate contract zoning:  In this illegal version, a bi-lateral contract is established between the landowner and the governing board.  For example, a city may not agree to allow a production factory in an area where factories are not zoned if the factory will pay the city a large amount of money.

 

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