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Why Large Lot Zoning does not work

If you look at many townships in the fast growing suburbs that have (or had) large lot zoning, you will notice that many of these large acreage houselots have been rezoned, by a request for a zoning variance, to smaller tracts and split up for development.

In addition, in many cases large lot zoning simply gives the community more lawn for a number of years until the parcels are rezoned and subdivided over and over again into smaller and smaller lots, not necessarily preserving any of the rural character. Unfortunately, in most cases, large lot zoning is temporary at best.

Large lot zoning can do more harm than good in most cases.

Although the intent may be to protect land, large lot residential zoning may waste land. Low density development, such as 10-acre lots, often mean that development will spread out into the countryside, requiring improved roads and increased sewer, water and other services that are costly to create and expensive to maintain.

"One of the "solutions" that many conventional zoning ordinances use for presumably maintaining open space and rural character is large lot zoning -- that is establishing large, five to ten acre, minimum lot sizes in rural zoning districts. Although large lot zoning does reduce the number of homes that can be built, it also spreads out the homes in such a way that none of the remaining land is useable for farming, forestry, or even recreational trails.

With large lot zoning, houselots become "too large to mow, but too small to plow," and the greater distance between homes effectively stifles the emergence of any sense of neighborhood." Randall Arendt

Country Estates
With the planned use of conservation easements to permanently protect natural land as country estates, or strict agricultural zoning to protect working farmland or horse farms, large 10 or 20 acre or more lots can work in these circumstances. The problem is that most large lot zoning becomes large lawn filled lots waiting to be subdivided.

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