Zoning is the process of dividing a municipality into regions in which land uses are permitted or prohibited. It includes the regulation of size, bulk, and placement of buildings. The primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought incompatible and prevent the interference of new developments on existing uses of the land. Zoning may include regulating densities of activities on particular lots, may also include height of buildings, amount of spaces each structure may occupy, location of a building on the lot and the proportion of the types of space on a lot. In nations of the world, there are land zoning guiding the erection of building which Nigeria is not an exception.
Zoning serves as guide to protect environmentally sensitive areas, and enhance property values. It helps to conserve and preserve existing neighborhood and structures, prevents mixing of incompatible land and provides better lot arrangement, protecting recreational areas and open spaces. To determine the location of utilities, restrict height & size of building and also ensure the availability of adequate number of parking space. Though, zoning compliance has not been strict in Nigeria, however, it is imperative to inquire on the zoning of a proposed land to avoid future legal setback.
When procuring or commencing construction on a piece of land, it is necessary to have the knowledge on zoning of the area. This will equip you on the type of building permitted in such area. Below are the types of zoning in Nigeria:
Residential: This is a land zone dedicated for suburb. It is an area lined out strictly for a residential community.
Commercial: These are areas designated for business activities. They are strictly for trading activities which provide goods and services. It is also for variety of retail, office and recreational uses. An example is Victoria Island community which is majorly occupied by commercial buildings.
Industrial: Activities like research & development, factories, warehouses are intended to occupy areas zoned as Industrial area. Ilupeju Industrial zone is a typical example of an industrial zoned area.
Agricultural: These areas are specifically mapped for agricultural and farming purpose. However, they may be regenerated to urban settlement in the future.
Forestry: These are areas strictly designated for forestry activities. The lands in these areas harbor forestry lives for which are either for economic, conserving, repairing or research for human and environmental purposes. Activities that may impose threat on the lives of organisms are restricted and prohibited in these areas for the reason of sustaining the forestry lives.
Open space: These are areas designated for public recreational use. They may also be intentionally mapped open for probable future use. Alausa Park and Muri Okunola Park, VI in Lagos, Nigeria are examples of open space zone.
It is necessary to know that zoning is prone to change. Development and demands may change the zoning of an area, an example are rural areas that are quickly transforming into urban area or residential areas transforming into commercial areas, e.g Lekki phase 1 due to the demands of developments. Some areas might have been zoned for another use but changed in the course of attending to the demand of the growing economic population. It is crucial to avoid trespassing or infringement on prohibition laws. Hence, it is paramount to approach the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development located at Block 15, The Secretariat, Mobolaji Johnson Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos to confirm the zoning of your land. Enquiry can also be made online via https://mppud.lagosstate.gov.ng.
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