New Zoning Query App Answers the Question: 'Where Can I Open My Business?'

A new app called ZoningCheck provides users a responsive query function. In addition to the obvious layer of bureaucratic interface saved by the process, the app also makes a compelling case for the benefits of open municipal codes.
Lars Plougmann / flickr

Alex Howard describes the use—and larger potential—of the Zoning Check app. ZoningCheck, according to Howard, "is focused upon making it easier for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small business owners to find properties in a given city that are zoned for commercial use."

Here's how it works: "A user chooses a city (currently limited to about a dozen municipalities in California), a kind of business, and then a specific location or, crucially, potential locations. The result is a personalized map that displays where that type of business is permitted, conditionally permitted, or prohibited in a given municipality."

Howard quotes Joel Mahoney, co-founder of OpenCounter, to explain the implications of the new app: "As far as we know, this is the first time trying to make queryable…A lot of cities have an interactive zoning map that you can zoom around in, but it's not responsive to you. If you're trying to open up a bakery, it doesn't show you where a bakery is allowed."

Full Story: ZoningCheck puts computable municipal codes to good use

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