Like any law a municipality passes, zoning must occur for the good of the community. In some cases, zoning helps to keep residential areas separate from business districts. It may also help protect wildlife or certain environmental aspects of an area. Zoning decisions are not something a city makes easily. It requires a lot of thought and planning when making new zoning laws or changing old ones.
According to Property Metrics, when a city makes zoning decisions, it starts by considering factors such as current use and future use for the different areas. Officials must consider the impact of a zoning decision it makes now on future development in the city. It has to consider whether an area will work as residential only, business only or something else. This planning part of the process can take quite a bit of time. It may also include input from citizens.
After the city has a plan that seems to suit everyone or works as a reasonable compromise, it will then move onto making the zoning ordinance. At this time, everyone gets input. The plan must go before the citizens and allow for reviews. It may require revisions at this stage as well. Once the council approves the ordinance, it becomes a law.
Once in place, it can be tough to make changes to zoning ordinances. While it can be done, it will require a lot of support for change and clear plans detailing how the change is more beneficial than the current zoning. It is actually quite common for zoning ordinances to see amendments over their lifetime, but that does not mean that these occur without a lot of work.