Spot zoning is one kind of zoning variance.
It is the process of singling out a plot of land or building within a larger zoned area for a different type of use.
For example, a commercial building, park, or school might be granted within a strictly residential area, as surrounding residents may benefit from it.
Spot zoning is not always popular. In some cases, it is found illegal as it is not compatible with the comprehensive zoning plan for that community and is against the public interest.
Spot zoning may be pre-planned or might be granted by the planning commission or local planning agency under zoning laws and ordinances followed by the landowner’s petition for rezoning.
Examples of Spot zoning
An ideal example of spot zoning is having a commercial building inside a residential block. That is if you rezone a residential lot into a commercial designation which is situated in the middle of a subdivision; it’s a spot zoning.
What is spot zoning in Real estate?
Spot zoning in real estate is when a parcel of land within a residential subdivision is zoned for non-residential use.
This can cause problems because residents of that particular area may want the area to be allocated for residential use only.
However, if the intention of that real estate rezoning is to establish a park or school, there may not be much opposition as these amenities would be useful to residents.
Is Spot zoning bad?
Spot zoning is bad, in one sense. But it’s a difficult question to conclude in a sentence.
Sure, it’s unfair. As it advantages the owner of that particular land. Moreover, it disrupts the natural mobility of the whole area.
Is Spot zoning legal or illegal?
Primarily, Spot zoning is legal. Rather I would say it is “legitimate”, as it is approved by local zoning and planning authority following a land owner’s application.
Sometimes, authority itself rezone a parcel or block of land for the greater public interest; if they think it’s necessary.
What are the Differences between Spot zoning and Variance?
Spot zoning is the zoning of a small, irregularly shaped parcel of land differently from the zoning of the surrounding land. A variance is a permission from the zoning board of appeals to use land in a way that is not allowed by the zoning ordinance.
Spot zoning is usually done to allow a particular use on a piece of land that would not be allowed under the current zoning. This is often done to allow a business to locate in an area that is zoned for residential use.
A variance is usually granted to allow a use that is not specifically allowed by the ordinance, but which is similar to uses that are allowed.
For example, a variance might be granted to allow a daycare center in an area zoned for office use.
Spot zoning may be seen as a way to circumvent the zoning process, while a variance is seen as a way to allow a use that is not specifically allowed, but which is not harmful to the surrounding area.
Spot zoning is often done without any public input or review, while a variance must be approved by the zoning board of appeals, which usually holds a public hearing.
Spot zoning may be done for any reason, while a variance must be granted for a legitimate reason, such as hardship or the need for a particular use in an area.
Spot zoning may be done without any notice to the surrounding property owners, while a variance must be published in a local newspaper.
Spot zoning may be challenged in court, while a variance is usually not challengeable.