Washington was one of the first cities to develop a comprehensive zoning ordinance after New York broke the ground in 1916. This began with the Zoning Act of 1920, which established zoning and the Zoning Commission in the District. Currently all construction or rehabilitation on private land must conform to the requirements imposed by the District of Columbia Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map or seek relief before the appropriate bodies. DC is divided into 34 zone districts. Added to the complexity are overlay districts designed to balance a mixture of uses by means of incentives and requirements including retail, hotel, residential, entertainment, arts, and cultural uses. Retailers looking to open a store need to know if their use is allowed in the area they are considering. A basic knowledge of zoning will help save time, frustration, and money. Thankfully, most of this information is easily accessible for free on the District of Columbia office of zoning webpage including an excellent zoning guidebook covering everything from the history of DC zoning to the players who make the zoning rules.