Land Use in the Unzoned City
Land Use in the Unzoned City (Spring 2012).
3 Pages Posted: 28 May 2013
Date Written: May 28, 2013
Only one major city in the United States remains without a traditional zoning code based on geographic regulation of land use: Houston, Texas. Property lawyers and scholars attribute Houston’s non-zoning system to cultural and political factors. But is America’s “Unzoned City” really as unregulated as its reputation might suggest? This short piece reviews the background of Houston’s land use system, and provides the immediate legal answer to the question of why Houston alone lacks a formal zoning code. It then looks briefly at the numerous rules that control land use in the city, and observes that Houston’s land use regulations actually function in many ways quite similar to those of a formal zoning regime. This suggests that even the Unzoned City has — in reality — a system of “de facto zoning”.
Keywords: Property, Property Rights, Land Use, Zoning, Legal History, Texas
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation