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What is aesthetic zoning?

Communities throughout Minnesota may impose a variety of zoning rules on the individuals who own property within their borders. As discussed in prior posts on this real estate and land use law blog, zoning can dictate what types of buildings may be built in which areas of a city or town. Building a structure that does not conform to the zoning regulations permitted for location can result in the builder or property owner facing fines and other sanctions.

One unique form of zoning that some readers may not be familiar with is aesthetic zoning. Aesthetic zoning is unique and is often utilized in planned residential communities. The zoning rules are intended to preserve the look or aesthetic of the community by regulating certain aspects of what individuals may do with their properties.

For example, the aesthetic zoning rules for a community may limit the colors that homeowners may paint their houses. They may stipulate a set panel of choices that homeowners may choose from when picking mailboxes or exterior décor. They may also explain how homes may be landscaped and stipulate what types of plants may be used in the homes’ yards.

Some people run into problems with the bodies that enforce the aesthetic zoning rules when they put up television antennas or satellite dishes. These devices are sometimes considered eye sores that ruin the overall look of otherwise well-maintained communities. A community’s aesthetic zoning rules may include provisions about these devices’ permissible use.

Aesthetic zoning is just one form of zoning that a community may impose upon property owners. Future blogs will discuss other forms of zoning and ways that individuals may find their uses of their properties limited. Attorneys who work in the real property field can advise their clients of how to work with the zoning rules that exist in their communities.