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Understanding a few zoning law construction terms

Business owners and managers dealing with construction and zoning issues must often deal with complex paperwork. That paperwork usually involves a lot of legal and building vocabulary that isn't always used in daily conversation. Understanding these terms is important to ensuring your projects follow appropriate zoning laws. Working with a construction or commercial business lawyer to understand all documents and requirements for your projects can also help you avoid problems in the future.

One term that comes up a lot in such documents is "abut." This means to physically border another item, and it is usually used in zoning and construction situations to talk about adjoining properties or buildings. If two buildings share a wall, they abut each other. If two pieces of land have a common property line, they abut each other.

You might also see verbiage talking about "accessory use." This describes the use of a building or piece of property that is in some way an accessory -- secondary or incidental -- to the primary use of the property that building or smaller piece is on. The primary use of the entire property is called "principle use." For example, the principle use of a building might be as a retail sales store; one room of that building might be the store room, and inventory storage is an accessory use to the retail business.

Terms related to water systems, codes, types and use of facilities, measurement of property and names for various things on the property, such as access way or access road, are also common. As you can see, we are barely touching the surface, and it's already getting complicated, which is why it's important to work with a professional to ensure you fully understand all zoning implications as you move forward.

Source: Kern County, "Title 19 - Zoning," accessed Aug. 05, 2016

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