Accessory Use: An accessory use is the use of land that is subordinate, incidental to, and customarily found in connection with the principal use allowed on a lot by the zoning law. A garage is incidental to the principal use of a lot as a single-family residence and customarily found on a single-family parcel.
Approval: a decision made by a local agency to issue a license lease, or permit authorizing a proposed project or activity.
As-of-Right: the use of land that complies with the designated principal use according to its associated zoning district. The construction of a local business in a local business district would be referred to as an as-of-right use of land.
Building Code: local government regulations that govern construction, design, and repair of a building to ensure that it meets the minimum safety standards.
Building Permit: A permit that must be obtained from a local agency prior to the construction, renovation, or expansion of a building.
Comprehensive Plan: A written document that serves as the foundation for guiding the decision making process of a city. The document identifies the goals, guidelines, policies, standards, and strategies for the growth and development of the city.
Deed: A legal document that certifies ownership of a property.
Deed Restrictions: A deed restriction is contained in a deed and places a restriction on the use of the land.
Development overlay zones: incentives may be offered to developers that agree to build the preferred type of development for that land: Waivers of certain zoning requirements would be one example of the type of incentive that could be offered.
Eminent Domain: refers to the government’s right to seize a citizen’s property without their consent, although monetary compensation is provided. Common uses for seized property include public utilities, and highways.
Floodplain: a floodplain refers to land that is adjacent to a stream or river and is at risk for periodic flooding.
Infrastructure: refers to the basic foundation of public works facilities that allow for the functioning and development of a community. These structures include roads, schools, parks, water and sewage, power plants, and utilities.
Mixed Use: mixed use refers to an area of land that, according to zoning laws, is permitted more than one principal use: For instance, an apartment can be developed above a business and both could be considered principal use of land for that space.
Multifamily housing: buildings that are permitted by zoning laws to contain more than three living units, as is the case for multiple story apartment buildings.
Non-conforming Use: refers the use of land that used to comply with zoning laws but is no longer permitted due to revisions or amendments to the zoning laws: Non-conforming uses of land are generally allowed to remain, however, any expansion of the development would not be permitted.
Ordinance: an order, issued by a local government, that has the force of law.
Principal Use: refers to the primary use of a parcel of land as designated by the zoning laws for that district: A local business development in a local business district or a dwelling in a residential district would be examples of principal use.
Public Services: services, provided by government agencies, that function to benefit the public. Education, waster removal, street cleaning, and police protection are all examples of public services.
Subdivision: refers to the division of land for the purposes of sale and/or development: The subdivision of land must conform to the current zoning laws for that district. Once the property has been partitioned the originally undivided piece of land is then referred to as a “subdivision.”
Variance: a variance is a request to use land in way that would otherwise not be permitted by the zoning ordinance. There are two types of variances: An area variance and a use variance. An area variance allows for the use of land in a way that does not comply with the dimensional requirements of the zoning ordinance while a use variance allows for the use of land in a way that does not comply with the permitted uses stated in the zoning ordinance. A variance should not be confused with nonconforming use: A variance allows for an exception to the current zoning laws while nonconforming use permits the use of an existing property that no longer complies with the current zoning laws. Nonconforming properties must apply for a variance prior to expansion or renovation of the property.
The Land Use Law Center, Pace University of Law was used as a source