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."