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A variance may be needed even in a commercial zone

The classic example that people use, when discussing land use and zoning issues, is that cities get divided into residential zones and commercial zones. Homes go in one area and businesses go in the other. It's a very simple split to divide these two types of uses.

If you're just discussing generalities, that's a fine way to begin. However, it does not go nearly far enough. The truth is that commercial areas are not just zoned for just any business. They are zoned for specific types of businesses. Your plans for the plot of land still have to fall within these guidelines.

What can you do if they don't? Say you want to start up a new construction company. You buy a property in a commercial zone, but you find out that it is just zoned for retailers. You could start a store, but you can't start a company. What now?

The key lies in asking for a variance for that specific property. The variance allows you to use the building or property as you want, as if it were zoned for another type of business entirely. It is important to note that the variance may still be very specific regarding the type of company you can start. It is also good to know that it does not change the zoning itself in any way. The zoning stays the same. The variance just allows one property to be used in a new way.

Getting the right permissions is critical before you start any business, or it could get shut down, so make sure you know what legal steps to take.

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