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Can you seek a change to zoning laws?

When you bought your latest property, it was while under the impression that the property was zoned commercially and residentially. You wanted to use the upper part of the building for apartments while opening the bottom of the building up to be used as a business.

Not long after you purchased the property, you found out that the zoning you were hoping for didn't actually apply to your property. The property is zoned residentially, even though there are businesses all around it.

What should you do?

One option is to look into applying for a change of zoning. While it's not always easy to get a city to agree based on current rules and regulations, you have the opportunity to present an argument for the changes you want to make. You can provide support for your request such as:

  • Drawings of what you'd like the business and property to look like when the conversion is finished
  • Photographs of the property and surrounding area
  • Your proposed plan and reasoning for the change
  • Surveys

Anything you can provide to support your request is helpful to those who have to decide if your property can be rezoned.

What happens if you aren't successful when seeking re-zoning?

Usually, there is an appeals process. You can ask another person or group within the local administration to consider your request again. You may also be able to pursue options in a court of law.

There is also the option of using the property as it's currently zoned. While you might have wanted a business, you may find that it's equally as beneficial to create an apartment complex or to sell the property as a single-family home in a primarily business-oriented neighborhood. There are many things to think about if you can't get the property rezoned, but many people do find success in rezoning their properties if they have the right supporting information for the hearing.

Can you seek a variance instead of a change to the zoning of a property?

You may also want to consider seeking a variance instead of a zoning change. A variance would give you permission to use the land and property in the manner you want, waiving the requirements of the zoning ordinances that are currently in place.

These are all things to think about if your property isn't zoned the way you expected. A simple change could help you do what you'd like to with your new property.

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