Definition:

A legal mechanism for local governments to regulate the use of privately owned real property by applying their power to prevent conflicting land uses and promote orderly development. Designated zones limit the type and intensity of permitted development.

Example:

Before a tract of land may be developed, the intended use must be permitted under the existing zoning classification. If the proposed use is not permitted, the developer must apply for a variance, or re-zoning, generally following a public hearing and a recommendation from the local planning commission.