Zoning is a tool of public policy which restricts the way that people manage and modify its natural or built environment. This regulation of land use attempts to satisfy the needs of the community while supporting its economy, protecting its natural resources, and providing an effective distribution of services throughout the city. The practice began as a way to deal with the rapid industrialization and urbanization in the US during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Families began to seek a separation between their home and the smoke and congestion of cities and its big factories.
The first legal implementation of zoning law came after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Village of Euclid, Ohio, who was accused of limiting the value of a piece of land property of Ambler Realty Co. This property was divided into three use classes, as well as various height and area classes, thereby hindering Ambler Realty from developing the land for industry. The Court found that Ambler had failed to prove that the land would lose value, and agreed that municipal zoning regulations where constitutional (1).
However, not all zoning rules deal only with property values. In fact, one the primary purposes of zoning laws is to protect people from various hazards. For instance, the City of San Francisco passed an ordinance restricting the use of wooden buildings for laundry facilities in 1880. These establishments were required to obtain a permit from the Board of Supervisors because they represented a fire hazard. Although this ordinance had the people’s best interest, its implementation made a negative impact on the Chinese population of this area, who owned about 95% of the city’s laundries. Other zoning ordinances regulated height, limited growth of certain industries, and became the means for growth management.
Segregating land uses that are thought to be incompatible or possibly harmful to the community, has the potential of balancing...