Zoning: What is it and How to Find the Rules and Regulations

In your search for the perfect piece of land, you probably have ideas for everything you want to do on it.


Maybe you dreamt of the perfect mid-size cabin with a circle driveway right off the road with a few trees for privacy. 


Maybe you dreamed of having the family drive out on weekends throughout the year in your awesome RV just to escape the city.


Maybe you just want to go camp and hunt for a weekend here and there.


Maybe you want to ride ATVs around and just have a little fun!


However, did you know that most counties have certain restrictions that may prevent you from doing any of the things above?

And if the county doesn’t, a property may be in a subdivision that has the dreaded Homeowners Association (HOA) or Property Owners Association (POA) which may contain Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) which prevent you from doing them.


When searching for what is allowed on the property we first check the county websites to see what the property is zoned for. Maybe it’s zoned for agriculture, residential, commercial, etc.


If it’s zoned agricultural for example, you can most likely farm and have farm animals (big and small). However, if your property is zoned residential, those things most likely would not be allowed at all! How the property is zoned can quickly give you an idea of what you can do to a degree. Zoning gives us a start to what we are trying to find which is what can be done here?


Some counties don’t have many restrictions. Some may have blanket rules such as no camping at all in the county whatsoever! But the county Planning and Zoning Department is always a great place to start.


Upon speaking with the county, we always try to check if they are familiar with the subdivision in which the property is located (if any). We do this because they may have contact information for anyone who works within that subdivision such as HOA or POA board members. These groups (the county and the HOAs and POAs) often do not communicate so it often takes a bit of digging to make sure you fully understand what you’re allowed to do on your property.


That sounds crazy right?! However, for the most part, these rules are put in place so everyone can enjoy the land and the space. 


A quick search online often yields results for HOAs or POAs in particular subdivisions and you can contact them to find out any information you need.

If your property does not have an HOA or POA, then the county zoning rules will be your go to for any CCRs. For example, an agriculturally zoned parcel may allow camping in an RV. They may also have a minimum square footage requirement of 1000 square feet when you build. However, if your property is residentially zoned, camping may not be allowed whatsoever and your square footage minimum may only be 200. You could build a tiny home!

So zoning information generally isn’t too hard to find. The county is a great resource on where to start and who to talk to. Your property’s subdivision can often be found in the legal description of the parcel. This can also often be found on your county website.


Always check what the zoning is for a parcel before purchasing so you can ensure you can do everything you want to do!