Definition of "Density zoning"

Gary Myers real estate agent

Written by

Gary Myerselite badge icon

EXP Realty

If you live anywhere else besides Houston, TX, in the US, you probably heard of zoning ordinances. The reason for that is the city of Houston Texas is the only city that doesn’t use them. Zoning ordinances are used for planning, regulating, and imposing some restrictions for development for specific areas regarding zoning, shape, and size of buildings. Several types of zoning ordinances use letters and numbers to identify their use easier, but regarding density residential (R) zoning, we have three large groups that will be covered below.

So What is Density Zoning? 

Simply put, density zoning places limitations on property development by controlling the number of structures in a given area to control population density. Density zoning is used in town planning as a tool to either increase density or maintain a low density in an area of the city. Through density zoning, municipalities can specify the types of buildings allowed in a zone or district, limit or encourage how the land can be used, and at what intensity. There are three types of zoning regarding density, and we’ll take a look at each of them.

The identifying characters used below are not standard use for every city, but we gave some examples to understand how they are used. Larger cities may have more variations from the identifiers below, so check with your municipality when dealing with the terminology. In a metropolitan area, one density zoning limitation may be for 4-6 residences in an acre, while in smaller towns, 2 residences per acre maximum.

Low-Density Residential Zoning (R-1)

Also referred to as single-family residential zoning, this group covers low-density zoning. The low-density zoning imposes limitations for land used for one residence. Areas under low-density zoning are for neighborhoods with single-family dwellings with land allowances generally limited to an acre. On this acre, the number of single-family homes may vary depending on the size of the city. 

Medium-Density Residential Zoning (R-2)

Referring to medium-density residential zoning, we can see more housing varieties, from single-family with a small lot to duplexes or other multifamily housing. In medium-density residential zoning, the maximum allowance is for 6 to 10 houses per acre with parcels that respect each home’s allowable density.

High-Density Residential Zoning (R-3)

In high-density residential zoning, we’ll see apartment complexes, condominiums, high-rise apartment buildings, and other multiple-dwelling properties. There are 10 and more residences per acre in high-density residential zoning with much more limited parcels for each residential unit.

image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.
 

 

Popular Real Estate Terms

(1) Individual or business that is engaged to do some sort of construction work for another for a fee. There are basically three types of contracting: A general contractor enters into a ...

In an electrical system, the connection box where all the circuit systems are installed with a series of electrical breakers. The major distribution or collection duct in an ...

In an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the maximum rate that can be charged during the mortgage period. For example, John obtained an $80,000 6% ARM having a lifetime rate cap of 10.5%. ...

tenancy having no written lease or contract. A periodic tenancy can be on a month-to-month or week-t-week basis. ...

When a real estate owner wants to know what their property tax liability is, they calculate the assessment ratio for their property. An assessment ration is a relationship between a real ...

Percentage of rental property that is unoccupied. For example, a vacancy rate of 25% means that 25% of the rental unites are nor being used. Idle space can cause a significant cash drain ...

Property taken over by the government because the owner has failed to pay taxes on it. The property may revert back to the owner when the taxes are paid. If not, the government may sell the ...

Clause inserted into a commercial lease by a mortgagee stating the lessee's current lease will not be terminated if there is a foreclosure action against the landlord for the failure to ...

A void property is a real estate property that is immediately available for new owners or renters as it is vacated. Void real estate properties can be occupied at a short notice as no ...

Popular Real Estate Questions