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Q. I got a notice in the mail from the county, stating that a property near my home is applying to be rezoned. What does that mean, and can I do anything about it?

A. Zoning is a regulation of local government (cities and counties) that limits how property can be used. The goal is to group together compatible uses. That is, residential uses should be in one area, separate from commercial uses, and apart from industrial uses. The nuances within these zones can be as detailed as the government’s ordinances: light industry versus heavy industry, general commercial versus high-rise commercial, low density residential versus condominiums and apartments. The current and future use is guided by the local comprehensive plan, which, although it has very little binding legal effect, steers the zoning within the jurisdiction.

This column is provided by the 7th District Bar Association as a public service. Submit questions to “It’s the Law,” P.O. Box 50130, Idaho Falls, ID 83405, or by email to This column is for general information. Readers with specific legal questions should consult an attorney. A lawyer referral service is provided by calling the Idaho State Bar Association in Boise at (208) 334-4500.

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