IfI would like to run my water testing laboratory business out of my residential home, but my city’s zoning ordinance only allows for office/administrative-type businesses. Is there anything I can do?

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IfI would like to run my water testing laboratory business out of my residential home, but my city’s zoning ordinance only allows for office/administrative-type businesses. Is there anything I can do?

The lab would be ran out of my basement and there would be absolutely no change to the neighborhood – no customers, no big daily shipments. The tests that I’ll be running are very simple. I already had my state’s lab certifier come out and approve my basement for lab use. It’s just my city’s zoning ordinance only allows office-type businesses in residential homes. Can I apply for a use-variance to the zoning law or is there anything else I can do?

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can apply for a variance--anyone can always apply. But they are not obligated by law to give you a variance: municipalities have considerable discretion in zoning and deciding acceptable uses, and are not required to grant variances to their zoning schemes, no matter how reasonable-seeming. It is very unlikely, given the deference given to local zoning laws, that any legal challenge to the zoning (or to a failure to grant a variance) would be successful.


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