Zoning is a restriction on the way that land can be used. It allows governments to control the development of communities and ensure they are functional and safe places. Zoning protects property values and ensures communities work in an orderly fashion.
The City of Alma sets the zoning rules and regulations for Alma. There are a number of different classifications set up under zoning laws. For example, an area may be zoned "residential." There are also different types of residential zoning: some residential zones allow for single family homes, while others allow for apartments and townhouses or mixed housing. Other examples of broad categories under zoning laws include areas zoned "commercial", for businesses, or "agricultural", which would allow property owners to have livestock.
When you use a piece of land or property, you must comply with the zoning rules. If you buy a house, for example, you can't just move your pet goats and llamas in - unless that house is in an area zoned for that, like an agricultural zone. If you do wish to do something that doesn't comply with the stated requirements of the zoning laws for that piece of property, you'd need to get a special use permit by applying for one and appearing before the Zonig Board of Appeals.
A complete copy of the Zoning Ordinance is available here