I can not cover every county so I have decided to pick one county to illustrate the nuances related to zoning issues. These can be very important if you are buying rural, undeveloped land. For instance, you might buy a tract of land for recreational purposes with the intent to subdivide the property later on. As an example, let’s look at Meriwether County, Georgia. Regulation and Ordinances are monitored and enforced through the department of Planning and Zoning. There are several zoning classifications in the county:
R-1 (Residential) – minimum of 1 acre, requires public water
RD (Residential) – minimum of 2 acres, must have 200 feet of frontage
LDR(Low Density Residential)- minimum of 5 acres, must have 200 feet of frontage
RR(Rural Residential)- minimum of 10 acres, must have 275 feet of frontage
A-1 (Agricultural)- minimum 25 acres, must have 350 feet of frontage
As you can see, there are requirements related to minimum tract size and amount of road frontage needed for each classification. If you bought 30 acres that was zoned ‘agriculture’ for the purpose of splitting into 2 tracts, you could run into zoning issues because there is a 25 acre minimum. Most counties allow you apply for a zoning variance. These take time and can cost a few dollars.
If the county is very populated and has large cities, the zoning issues become a lot more cumbersome and restrictive. For instances, Troup County which contains Lagrange has more restrictions than Meriwether County. Troup County zoning regulations have 11 different zoning classifications for residents. They even have requirements related to minimum square footage.
The take away point, go into the transaction with your eyes wide open and be sure and use a Realtor who is knowledgeable about land use issues and zoning!