What Are Responsibility for Passing Zoning Laws?
Local governments and zoning boards are generally in control of zoning and the enactment of rules/regulations. The local city, town, or state has a greater and broader interest in creating areas that are comfortable for people, and has a better idea of how to do so for the local citizens than a more distant governing body. So typically, zoning laws are made on a local level to create a community for the residents who live there.
Community Participation in Zoning
While local governments and zoning boards are generally in control of zoning, the people in a community themselves have some power over zoning as well. For example, if an individual wants to do something that his/her home is not zoned for, such as running a home business in a residential zone, in most cases s/he is able to get an exception to the zoning laws as long as the local board and his/her neighbor's agree. S/he may be required to get all his/her neighbors to sign something permitting the exception, and allowing him/her to open the business before a board vote on the request.
To better understand the zoning process, it is a good idea to contact your local zoning board. Depending on where you live, you may be able to attend a meeting and watch the decision-making process.