Last Updated on March 30, 2024

What Does Zoning Mean (Permitted Land Use) Mean? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

Disambiguation: This term is about zoning regulation and permitted land use. Were you looking for Real Estate Zone (Area of a City)?

What Does Zoning Mean?

Zoning, or permitted land use, is a way of organizing a city into sections. That is, each area or lot will have a designated zoning regulation or ordinance,  meaning only certain types of buildings or land usages will be allowed on that lot.

Note that zoning bylaws are city specific. You can find information about Edmonton Zoning Bylaw at the City of Edmonton website.

Real Estate Agent Explains Zoning

Sometimes you will hear the phrase, “what is it zoned for?” or “what’s the zoning on this property?” Those are really questions about what the land can be used for. Some areas are strictly permitted for single family homes and nothing else can be built on those lots, whereas other areas are more forgiving and different mixes of buildings can be built. Zoning regulations can also be specific or loose depending on the area.

When it comes to Edmonton real estate, there three primary zoning regulations: residential, commercial and industrial. There is no such thing as “Alberta zoning regulation.” All municipalities and counties have different zoning regulations. Here is an example of residential zoning codes in Edmonton:


Abbreviation Type
RF1 Single Detached Residential
RSL Residential Small Lot
RF2 Low Density Infill
RPL Planned Lot Residential
RF3 Low Density Development
RF4 Semi-detached Residential
RF5 Row Housing
UCRH Urban Character Row Housing
RF6 Medium Density Multiple Family
RA7 Low Rise Apartment
RA8 Medium Rise Apartment
RA9 High Rise Apartment
RR Rural Residential
RMH Mobile Home

To find out what zoning is like where you live or anywhere else in Edmonton, you can check out the City of Edmonton Maps site and zoom in to see the lots and the current zoning.  All information on permitted uses of a specific lot is public.

Why Does It Matter?

Zoning affects what you can and cannot do with a property, so it is a very important part of real estate. If you purchase a large lot to build a duplex, you may not be able to build that duplex depending on the zoning. And zoning can affect what can be done with the land around you as well. If the zoning permits it, someone could build an apartment tower next to you – something you’d probably want to know.

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