What is Zoning and Why do We Need It?

Zoning ordinances define land uses in a community, whether they be commercial, residential, industrial, or parks, and they benefit the community by establishing design standards for the land use.  Riverside's zoning ordinance is defined in Title 19 of the City's Municipal Code and it regulates the following:

  • City ImagesRegulate and limit the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures erected or altered;
  • Regulate and determine the size of yards and other open spaces;
  • Regulate and limit the density of population and for such purpose to divide the City into zones of such number, shape and area as may be deemed best suited to carry out these regulations and provide for their enforcement;
  • Encourage the most appropriate use of land;
  • Conserve and stabilize the value of property;
  • City ImagesProvide adequate open spaces for light and air;
  • Prevent and fight fires;
  • Prevent undue concentration of population;
  • Lessen congestion on streets;
  • Facilitate adequate provisions for community utilities such as transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements; and,
  • Promote the public health, safety and general welfare, all as part of the master plan of the City.

The master plan is the general plan, the City's basic planning document. It provides a blueprint for development throughout the community and is the vehicle through which competing interests and the needs of the residents are balanced and meshed. The general plan addresses all aspects of development and community enhancement, including housing, traffic, natural resources, open space, safety, land uses, and public facilities by defining these guidelines:

All of these aspects are considered whenever a builder, developer, or homeowner submits a plan for review.

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