Understanding the commercial zoning of a city is essential to making sense of commercial real estate. In this post, we discuss C1 commercial zoning, from a basic definition of zoning to some real-life examples of C1 Commercial Zoning taken from Southern California.
What Is Zoning?
Simply put, zoning is a tool local governments use to regulate the development of land.
As its name suggests, zoning consists in dividing a city into areas, or zones, where properties and land have to meet certain conditions of use set forth by the local government.
Some of the benefits of zoning include:
- Helps ensure that land is used efficiently
- Contributes to reducing the congestion of streets
- Prevents overcrowding
- Makes it easier to allocate resources for community utilities
- Protects and bolsters the value of real estate property
The zones of a city are usually designated using codes made of a combination of letters and numbers, for example C1, C2, R2, or R3.
While many of the terms and codes used for zoning are similar across the United States, each city is unique, so make sure to check local regulations if you are looking to get a grasp of the zoning of a specific city or town.
C1 Commercial Zoning: Definition and Examples
As mentioned earlier, zoning designations may vary from city to city. And, as we’ll see below, even when cities use the same code for a zone, they may be referring to slightly different things.
With this in mind, it’s important to stress that the definitions of C1 commercial zoning you will find here is specific to Southern California.
The C1 commercial zoning code usually refers to neighborhood commercial districts.
Here you will find three definitions of C1 commercial zoning according to two cities, Los Angeles and Redlands, plus Orange County.
According to the Orange County zoning code, “The C1 District is established to provide for the development and maintenance of medium intensity commercial uses serving the needs of both the surrounding neighborhood and the local community. “
The city of Redlands calls C1 “neighborhood stores district” whose stated purpose is to “serve the neighborhood needs of approximately one thousand (1,000) families, for convenience goods only. The stores are intended to fit into the residential pattern of development and not create either architectural or traffic conflicts.”
In Los Angeles, C1 is called “limited commercial zone” and is defined by the way land is allowed to be used and the types of buildings that can be erected or maintained there. The C1 zone in Los Angeles includes local retail stores that are less than 100,000 sq. ft., offices or businesses, hotels, hospitals and/or clinics, parking areas, banks, clubs, hotels, child care, apartment houses, and multiple dwellings.
Zoning Code List: California
Of course, cities in California have many different types of zones beyond C1. Below you will find a list of zoning codes commonly used in California.
Again, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is only a general reference, as zoning is specific to each city.
- A1 – Agricultural
- A2 – Agricultural
- RA – Suburban
- RS – Suburban
- R1 – One-family residential
- RU – Residential urban
- RZ2.5 – Residential zero side yard
- RZ3 – Residential zero side yard
- RZ4 – Residential zero side yard
- RW1 – One-family residential waterways
- R2 – Two-family dwellings
- RD1.5 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RD2 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RD3 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RD4 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RD5 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RD6 – Restricted density multiple dwelling
- RMP – Mobile home park
- RW2 – Two-family residential waterways
- R3 – Multiple dwelling
- RAS3 – Residential/accessory
- R4 – Multiple dwelling
- RAS4 – Residential/accessory
- R5 – Multiple Dwelling
- CR – Limited commercial
- C1 – Limited commercial
- C1.5 – Limited commercial
- C2 – Commercial
- C4 – Commercial
- C5 – Commercial
- CM – Commercial manufacturing
- MR1 – Restricted industrial
- M1 – Limited industrial
- MR2 – Restricted light industrial
- M2 – Light industrial
- M3 – Heavy industrial
- P – Automobile parking – surface and underground
- PB – Parking building
Open Space/Public Facilities/Submerged Lands
- OS – Open space
- PF – Public facilities
For more information on California zoning code lists, here are links to the zoning codes of some cities in Southern California, pus Orange County:
- Los Angeles zoning code
- Anaheim zoning code
- Orange County zoning code
- Redlands zoning code
- Ontario, California, zoning code
- Temecula zoning map
Can You Build a House on C1 Zoning?
Finally, one of the most common questions about C1 zoning is if you can build a house in this type of zone.
The answer is “it depends.” In some cities this is allowed. In other cities, there are cases where you can go through an administrative process to get a special permit to build a house in this type of zone. However, the only way to be sure is to check with your local planning office.
Disclaimer: This material is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.
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