Zoning Practice — December 2008

Ask the Author

Here are reader questions answered by Tom Daniels, author of the November 2008 Zoning Practice article "Rural Zoning: Return to the Village."

Question from Saila T. Smyly, Attorney at Law:

Can you recommend some examples of rural industrial regulations, including design and landscaping standards, that would help minimize the visual impact of large scale development on the rural landscape? Thank you very much for making your advice available via this forum.

Answer from author Tom Daniels:

Thank you for your question. The key aspects for industrial uses in rural areas are setbacks from property lines and screening to minimize the spillover of noise, odors, glare, and light from the industrial use.

A setback of 250 feet is reasonable for a factory in a heavy manufacturing zone. For a light manufacturing zone, 100 feet is reasonable. In addition, a local government may want to require berms, trees, and shrubs along property lines in the site planning process to minimize spillovers and visual impacts.

Modern industrial buildings are functional, rather than architecturally distinguished. Most buildings are one story, and often are modular and built out of metal. I don't see many limits on the design of industrial buildings in rural areas.