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Burke (2009) defines a zoning ordinance as the Act of a county or city or other governmental unit that specifies the type of activities an individual is allowed to perform on a given piece of land. Therefore, an individual finds it necessary to identify what a zoning ordinance considers as permitted and incompatible uses for a given land (Burke, 2009). The law distinguishes between agricultural, industrial, light industrial, high density residential, residential, and other forms of land use in a zoning ordinance (Williams & Taylor, 2003). When formulating a zoning ordinance, the involved government authorities must ensure that conflicting activities are not put together, for instance, a specific parcel of land that has been used for residential purposes will not welcome a factory (Burke, 2009). Factories should be put in industrial areas which are far from residential places to maintain a healthy environment in the residential places.
Due to zoning ordinances, the neighboring counties or cities become preserved because issues such as environmental pollution are prevented by putting industrial zones far from the boundaries. It has been found that the support of citizens is very crucial for an effective zoning (Burke, 2009). Relevant authorities in cities and counties should ensure that citizens understand zoning regulations at local level. A number of individuals dispute zoning because they are denied the freedom of performing any activity on their lands or with their properties (Williams & Taylor, 2003). Human activities on public and private lands are governed by zoning ordinances. Zoning ordinances of different cities or counties tend to differ from one another (Burke, 2009). The differences between the zoning ordinance of the City of Tempe and that of Maricopa County will be considered in this discussion.
The City of Temple
The zoning ordinance of the City of Tempe is divided into six parts, namely introduction, establishing zoning districts, land use, development standards, overlaying zoning districts, application and review functions, and definitions (Burke, 2009). Each of these parts is broken down into chapters, and the chapters are broken down into sections. In addition to the six parts, this zoning ordinance has an appendix and index. This structure differs from the structure of other cities’ or county’s zoning ordinances such as that of Maricopa County (Burke, 2009).
Representation of fees, penalties and fines is another area where the zoning ordinances of the City of Tempe and that of Maricopa County differ from each other. The zoning ordinance of the City of Tempe does not include the monetary values of penalties, permits, and fines (Burke, 2009). It is always important for the citizens to be aware of the exact cost of penalties and permits so that they get prepared to meet them.
The zoning ordinance of the City of Tempe prohibits the presence of the following features: cemeteries, funeral homes and mortuaries; recreational parks for vehicles; greenhouses or nurseries; kennels; distribution or shipping center; vehicle towing opportunities; outdoor storage; and general manufactures (Burke, 2009). Such services and permanent structures are considered as obstacles to improving the quality of urban environment. Attractive urban environment encourages the development of sustainable and livable neighborhoods (Burke, 2009).
Unlike the zoning ordinance of the City of Tempe, the zoning ordinance of Maricopa County is not divided into parts. The zoning ordinance is divided into seventeen chapters with each chapter further divided into sections (Burke, 2009). The chapters include introductory provisions; definitions; administration; zoning; rural zoning districts; single family residential zoning districts; multiple family residential zoning districts; commercial zoning districts; industrial zoning districts; overlay zoning districts; general regulations; development regulations; use regulations; sign regulations; violations, penalties and enforcements; fees; and appendices and indexes (Burke, 2009). The arrangement of chapters and sections makes the structure of the zoning ordinance of Maricopa to appear different from that of the City of Tempe (Burke, 2009).
The zoning ordinance of Maricopa County includes the real figures of fees, penalties and fines in terms of dollars (Burke, 2009). Citizens can therefore become aware of the monetary requirements and get prepared in advance to meet them. It is also very important to know the requirements of living and working in a given county or city, for instance, an individual should be aware of the amount of a penalty for a given violation (Williams & Taylor, 2003). This will reduces unnecessary expenses because an individual can avoid violating regulations that are passed by authority figures after knowing that he or she will pay a lot of money as a fine.
Maricopa County’s zoning ordinance prohibits those activities that can cause disturbing sounds. The activities can include playgrounds and auditoriums, and noisy commercial activities such as music shops (Burke, 2009). Unlike the zoning ordinance for the City of Tempe, zoning ordinance for Maricopa County does not prohibit agricultural activities. It is not so much concerned with beautifying environment.
A zoning ordinance enables citizens within various counties, cities or towns to understand that on any given piece of land, some activities are legally allowed to take place while other activities are not. The regulation on land use does not depend on the ownership of the land. Zoning ordinances restrict the type of activities both on private and public lands. Many people are against zoning because they desire to use their private lands without being governed by a zoning ordinance. Zoning ordinances of various counties or cities are meant to improve the quality of life in the whole country. According to Burke (2009), zoning ordinances of different cities or counties differs from one another in terms of structure, regulations and zoning categories, but they are meant to achieve a common goal.