No. A restrictive covenant differs from a zoning regulation in that covenant creation and enforcement is a matter of contract and can be enforced by plat residents subject to the same covenants.A Zoning law regulates the use of real property and is enforced by local government; it usually restricts a particular land area to residential, commercial, industrial, or other uses. The local governing body regulates density, setbacks, garage and building heights. Zoning laws are created in accordance with a comprehensive plan intended to avoid arbitrary exercise of government power.
Some zoning requirements are more restrictive than the Hampton covenants, and some are less restrictive. For example, in the instance of setbacks, the county may prohibit construction of a dwelling within a certain distance from a rear, side or front property line, while the Hampton covenants may allow it. In this instance the zoning law prevails and construction would require variance relief from the county. In other instances, the Hampton covenants may be more restrictive than the county. In this situation the county may give approval but the owner would still be in violation of the protective covenants which bind the land. If a property owner violates or attempts to violate one or more of the covenants, a person who is benefited by the covenants, usually an adjacent property owner, may sue in a court of law to enforce the restrictions.
Most of Hampton is currently zoned DR1 by Baltimore County, meaning the law permits one dwelling-unit per acre . Detailed information about Baltimore County zoning can be found in A Citizen’s Guide to Zoning in Baltimore County (PDF file) available from theBaltimore County Government web site.
For greater clarification about this often confusing topic please contact the HIA Architectural Review Committee.