Created by potrace 1.14, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How Difficult Is It To Get Land Rezoned In America?

  • Zoning laws vary in each state in America, they’re extremely important as they’re in a place to protect private property and are vital to communities. They prevent any property owners from suffering from harmful uses on adjacent land. With the zoning laws in place, it means that any change of uses inland will benefit the wider community and won’t have any negative impacts.


    Zoning Laws

    Each state and local government in America decide on their own zoning laws for their area. Any home buyers in maryland will have a different set of rules for homebuyers in Florida. Zoning laws originated in New York when businessmen were concerned about overcrowding on Fifth Avenue, they worked so well that they were almost immediately copied by other cities across America. The laws regulate if areas can be used for residential buildings or for commercial purposes, the size of anything being constructed there, and the density and height too. The zoning laws in America are to blame for various issues as they’re inflexible and leave many areas in bad conditions as they are effectively unplanned. They’re also criticized for causing high and rising costs in the current housing market as the laws are set in stone rather than changing with the market. Donald Trump’s administration tried to solve some of the problems associated with the rigid zoning laws by trying to remove regulations such as rent controls, environmental impacts, and the costs associated with developments, he claims this would help to lower prices in the housing market and allow more people to become homeowners.


    The Application Process

    The process to get land rezoned in America is not a particularly easy process as it has 10 steps. The first step is to complete a pre-application review and submit it to the local authorities as any rezoning requires their permission. Following this, the public will be given a say on the proposed rezoning as local councilors try to work with the public and allow discussions to try and ensure the best result for the local community. If the public and local authority figures agree on the rezoning then you’ll be required to submit your application and at this point, you will be charged a fee which will vary as the price will be set locally.

    The next step is not always necessary but there could be a city review and customer resubmittal which allows any members of the public to give their opinions and criticisms again to the main caseworker. Following this you would be required to attend a meeting with a planning board, at this meeting the staff on your case will present all the information about your proposed rezoning to the board along with any comments that the public has made in relation to it so they have all the information to make a decision, you will be charged a 2nd fee at this step. If the proposal passes this step there will be another meeting with the city council’s land use, transportation and infrastructure committee this meeting is similar to the previous one, staff will present the case in further detail, this meeting is not a public one but people may be invited to speak by council members if they have relevant information.

    If this step is passed then the proposal will move on to the full city council at a mayor-council meeting where the public is still allowed to submit comments about the case then there will be the first reading on the bill, at this stage people who own neighboring properties can file protest petitions if they think rezoning will negatively affect their property. The last stage the proposal will need to pass is a final city council public hearing, the second reading of the bill will take place here and the city council will vote on whether the rezoning should be approved. Following this, if it passes the mayor will sign the case off and it’ll officially come into effect the following week.



    As stated previously during the rezoning process there is an opportunity for property owners to petition a decision about rezoning as it could have harmful impacts on their property. Usually, there need to be 6 city council votes in favor to pass a proposed rezone but if a petition is filed then 8 votes are required instead. To apply for a petition, you would be required to file it with the municipal clerk clearly stating the case number you want to petition, the name of who is signing it, and a legal description of the property.  This petition could make a difference as it would be considered by the local council when coming to their decision.