Astronomy Land Zoning And Building Regulations

Land Regulations
Telescope Design, which requires proper approval that it meets regulations

During the process of purchasing and building land for astronomical purposes, one has to consider that the purchased property has to meet the basic land regulations to allow for the building of the desired structures. This means that the land has to be zoned properly and allow for the building of said buildings, which can make or break the purchase of a property.

Zoning and building regulations can often be confused with each other and be seen as very confusing; however, they are very important parts of this process. “The important distinction between zoning codes and building codes is that, while zoning codes and zoning permits are concerned with land use, building codes and building permits deal exclusively with the structure itself. [1]” These regulations determine which land can be used for what purpose, and how building can be built. Depending on how these are written and how laws are regulated, these regulations can either be your best friend or stand in the way of everything that you are hoping to achieve.

Zoning Regulations

Zoning regulations helps determine future development of not only the site in particular, but also of the surrounding areas by providing a snapshot of what is currently allowed. Here are some good practices to help with understanding zoning regulations and apply this knowledge to the land acquisition process:

  • Always check zoning laws before proceeding with the purchasing of land.
  • Always check zoning laws before proceeding with the development of a new structure.
  • Always check to see if a zoning permit is required before land development and always check to see if the zoning permit for the desired structure would be allowed.
  • Always check with an expert, whether it be a land lawyer or developer in the area to see if the desired structure or use would be allowed.
  • It is recommended to check the zoning permits for surrounding land, as it might provide an insight into future development of land in the area.

Although zoning regulations might not be something that most amateur astronomers are familiar with, these regulations are crucial to being able to building the desired astronomical observatory and other structures on site. The worst thing would be to purchase the land, and then not be zoned properly for the project, which is why checking the zoning requirements of the land before purchase is crucial. If the area is already zoned to allow for new building structures, then there might be little to no work required to get zoning permissions. However, if there is a process for obtaining a zoning permit, it easily could be time consuming, difficult, or impossible for the average person to understand without expert help. Therefore, it is recommended that one talks to an expert in the field of zoning laws to see if any potential land has zoning issues.

Building Codes

After the zoning regulations are taken care of to allow for the desired structures to be built, it is important to consider building codes as “building codes and building permits deal exclusively with the structure itself. Building codes outline the level of performance and quality standards your building must adhere to, but it’s up to your architect to figure out how your design satisfies ICC/IRC guidelines. To ensure compliance with code standards, a drawing or blueprint of your construction is generally required during the permit application process. [1]”

Therefore, it means that these building codes need to researched and followed as they could increase costs and add complexity to the desired structures. If blueprints do not follow the building regulations, then the proposals will be denied, which would increase costs and cost time as changes to the blueprints might need to change to meet these requirements. Always check with local requirements and the closest cities and counties to determine the required building requirements.

An example of the building regulations would include building permits, electrical permits, and authorization forms. These could require that the site could require electrical hookups and septic connection, which would increase costs beyond what one could afford.

References and Further Reading

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Introduction To Buying Land For Astronomical Purposes

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