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spot zoning

1.(US)The zoning of a small area of land, or one or more properties, for a use that is not in harmony with the normal zoning plan for the area, especially if a small area is rezoned in a way that does not conform with the surrounding neighborhood. Spot zoning is normally invalid if the permitted use is very different from the surrounding area; the area involved is small; or it can be shown that the municipality has favored one landowner to the unreasonable detriment of the surrounding area, or so as to prejudice the intention of a comprehensive plan (Rockhill v. Chesterfield Tp., 23 NJ 117, 128 A.2d 473 (1957); City of Pharr v. Tippitt, 616 SW.2d 173, 177 (Tex 1981); Williams American Land Planning Law and The Police Power (1988 Revision), § 27.02). For example, it may be considered illegal where an area of land is designated for industrial use in an area zoned residential use, even when the intention is to retain a business in a particular municipal district (Fritz v. Ashland, 348 SW.2d 712 (Ky 1961), cf. Kozesnik v. Township of Montgomery, 24 NJ 154, 131 A.2d 1 (1957)). On the other hand, it may be valid if it is made for the benefit of the community at large, as with the rezoning corner properties for commercial use to provide services in a residential district. ‘Spot zoning’ is site specific and does not include a use that is compatible or necessary to the overall zoning, such as a neighborhood shopping center which serves the local residents. cf. floating zone. See also contract zoning, exclusionary zoning, special-use permit, zoning variance.

Anno: 51 ALR2d 263: Spot Zoning.
83 Am.Jur.2d., Zoning and Planning, §§ 146-159.
101A Cor.Jur.Sec., Zoning & Land Planning, § 44.
Anderson’s American Law of Zoning (4th ed. 1996), §§ 5.12-5.22.
R.A. Cunningham et al. The Law of Real Property (2d ed. 1993), pp. 572-575.
D.R. Mandelker. Land Use Law (4th ed. 1997), pp. 237-245.
Rathcopf’s Law of Zoning and Planning, Ch. 26 "Spot Zoning".

2.(Can)The zoning or rezoning of a particular site for a use that is not in conformity with the general planning for the area (Re Windsor (City) Restricted Area By-law 4887 (1976) 5 OMBR 353, 354-5(Can); Re Brown and City of Vancouver (1986) 24 DLR (4th) 434, 444, 446 (Can)).


Terms in bold are defined elsewhere in the hard copy of the Encyclopedia.

Real Estate Terms in bold are defined elsewhere in the Encyclopedia.

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