Zoning is a legislative act dividing a jurisdiction's land into sections and regulating different land uses in each section in accordance with a zoning ordinance.
Flexibility in Zoning:
A number of devices allow governing boards to include flexibility in their zoning:
- Non-conforming use: Allowing a pre-existing use to continue
- Variance: Allows the governing board to grant an exception
- Spot Zoning: Changing the zoning for a specific parcel of land, but not the surrounding parcels
- Illegal Contract Zoning / Legal Conditional Use Zoning: While a city may not change the zoning in exchange for a bilateral promise from a landowner, it may make a change if the landowner makes a unilateral promise.
- Incentive Zoning: The governing board offers landowners a way to buy out of regulations at a pre-set price.