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  • Daniel Herriges

    If you can build something "by right" (also called "as of right") in a given location, it means it's allowed by all the existing regulations (such as the zoning code, parking requirements, etc.) and it's not subject to the discretion of local officials. You can get a permit to build something by right without going through a public hearing and/or having anyone vote on it.

    The opposite of "by right" is discretionary approval, where the city council or similar body can opt to reject the development proposal or require changes to it, even if it complies with the applicable regulations. This can add delay and uncertainty to the development process.

    See the article "The Most Important Planning Concept You've Never Heard Of" by Nolan Gray for more detail.

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