Understanding Panama Zoning

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Panama City Zoning

Panama’s Ministry of Housing (MIVI) creates all of the Panama zoning classifications.  Some purchasers forget to ask or find out a specific property’s zoning classification when making a big investment.   Later on, after hiring a construction company and an architect, the developer realizes the intended usage is prohibited because the property is not zoned for that use.

Developing real estate in Panama City requires knowing the various zoning classifications before purchasing land or a building in order to know what can be built on the property.

Here are the Panama City Zoning Classifications:

RR (Zoning of Rural Residential)
Only single family homes on lots of at least 1,000m2 are allowed.   The allowable net density is 50 persons for each hectare.

R1-A (Zoning of Low Density Residential)
Only single family homes and duplexes built on lots with a minimum of 800m2 (single family) and 600m2 (duplex) are allowed.   The allowable net density is 100 individuals for each hectare.

R1-B (Zoning of Low Density Residential)
Single family homes row houses, and duplexes on lots with a minimum of 600m2 (single family), 300m2 (duplexes) and 200m2 (row houses) are allowed.  The allowable net density is 200 inhabitants for each hectare.

R2-A (Zoning of Medium Density Residential)
Single family homes, row houses, and duplexes on lots with a minimum of 600m2 (single family), 300m2 (duplexes), and 200m2 (row houses) are allowed.   The allowable net density is 300 persons for each hectare.

R2-B (Zoning of Medium Density Residential)
Single family homes, row houses, duplexes, and apartments on lots with a minimum of 600m2 (single family), 300m2 (duplex), 200m2 (row houses), and 600m2 (apartments) are allowed.   The allowable net density is 300 individuals for each hectare.

R3 (Zoning of Medium Density Residential)
Single family homes, row houses, duplexes, and apartments on lots with a minimum of 600m2 (single family), 200m2 (duplexes), 150m2 (row houses), and 600m2 (apartments) are allowed.   The allowable net density is 400 inhabitants for each hectare.

R-E (Zoning of Special Residency)
Single family homes, row houses, duplexes and apartments on lots with a minimum of 160m2 (single family), 150m2 (duplexes), 120m2 (row houses), and 400m2 (apartments) are allowed.   A maximum of 500 persons density for each hectare is allowed.

RM, RM-1, RM-2 AND RM-3 (Zoning of High Density Residences)
This allows duplexes, multifamily homes, and row house developments.   Maximum density and the minimum lot sizes allowed for each zoning classification are:
• RM:    600m2, 600 persons for each Hectare
• RM-1: 600m2, 750 persons for each Hectare
• RM-2: 800m2, 1,000 persons for each Hectare
• RM-3: 800m2, 1,500 persons for each Hectare

R-C (Zoning of Conjoined Residential)
Multifamily dwellings, row houses, duplexes, and apartments are permitted.   This requires building common recreation, social, green, or garden areas creating a nice living environment to conserve the natural surroundings.

C-2 (Zoning of Urban Commercial)
Allows commercial activities and related uses.  Multifamily residential & commercial usages are permitted conforming to the existing density.

C-3 (Zoning of Neighborhood or Town Commercial)
Only allows necessary commercial activities for the neighborhood or town.   This can be combined with residential dwellings as long as it conforms to the prevailing density.

RM3-C2 (Zoning of Mixed High Density & Commercial)                                                                                                                  This is the best and highest usage for real estate allowing high rise buildings with apartments and commercial spaces.

I (Zoning of Industrial)     Industrial properties will be located in areas determined by the Ministry of Housing and its functionality examined by the Ministry of Health, INRENARE (National Institute of Natural Resources), and any other necessary agencies.                                                                                                                                          

Industrial Zones Classifications are:
II (Light or Inoffensive Industries) These do not damage surrounding areas, and do not require special rules.
LM (Irritating Industries) Absence of special rules could trigger damages to surrounding areas.
LP (Harmful or Dangerous Industries) Can trigger damages, poses a danger or inconvenience to itself and surrounding areas which will be subject to special regulations. 

The MIVI has a website with maps of Panama City and surrounding neighborhoods with each lots zoning classification at: 

http://www.mivi.gob.pa/doc_grafico/_grafico.html

Beware: A Stop Work Order can be issued by the national government or a municipality for failing to comply with Panama zoning limitations.

Knowing your zoning limits before you invest in Panama real estate will save you time and money.

Contact Us for all of your Panama real estate and Panama property development needs.

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