What is an Ordinance?
An ordinance is a law passed by a municipal government and constitutes municipal law. The power of municipal governments to enact ordinances is derived from the state constitution or statutes or through the legislative grant of a municipal charter.
The Purpose of Ordinances
Many ordinances deal with maintaining public safety, health, morals, and General Welfare. example, a municipality may enact housing ordinances that set minimum standards of habitability. Other ordinances deal with fire and safety regulations that residential, commercial, and industrial property owners must follow. Many municipalities have enacted noise ordinances, which prohibit prescribed levels of noise after certain hours of the evening.
Ordinances may also deal with public streets and sidewalks. They typically include regulations regarding parking, snow removal, and littering. Restrictions pets, including “pooper-scooper” and leash laws, are also governed by municipal ordinances.
One of the most significant areas of municipal law is Zoning. Zoning ordinances constitute a master plan for land use within the municipality. A municipality is typically divided into residential, commercial, and industrial zoning districts. Zoning attempts to conserve the value property and to encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout a particular locality.
In the past, many U.S. municipalities enacted a variety of ordinances regulating public morals and behavior, such as ordinances that prohibited spitting on a public sidewalk, have been repealed or are rarely enforced.