Changing the Zoning on Your Property

If you find yourself faced with a situation in which your intended use of your property is not permitted by local zoning law, then you may be able to change your zoning ordinance as it pertains to your property. Most communities have formal procedures that are available to property owners who want to make a zoning change. Whether petitioning for a large scale zoning change or requesting a specific use be allowed on your property, you should work with a local attorney if you are trying to make a change on how your property is zoned.

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Permitted Uses for My Property

Zoning laws in different states are set to allow certain activities to take place within different areas of a community. For example, states may allow some areas for residential housing and other areas for commercial activities. Within these ‘zoning’ categories, there may be some ‘permitted uses’ that allow the use of the land for the intended purpose and leave room for standard exceptions to be made. For example, a single-family residential district (an R-1 zone) may allow as permitted uses, by exception, the development of a day care center, a park, or a school.

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Business Zoning Requirements on Renovations

The most likely reason you need to meet stricter zoning requirements when renovating your building than a store down the street is because the zoning laws have changed. At any given time, there are a variety of requirements imposed by state and local zoning regulations. However, these regulations can change and can be altered at any time by those in charge. If the regulations are changed when someone is already living in or operating in a certain location, the existing business or residence is able to operate under the old regulations and is ‘grandfathered in’ since it would not be fair to change the zoning requirements after someone has already bought and built.

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Changing the Property Zoning Map

Zoning codes classify areas for business use, residential use, or other specific purposes, but a zoning map is by no means permanent. Zoning laws can change as often as the particular needs of the zoned area change. Many zoning regulations will attempt to take into account the area’s history of zoning in an attempt to minimize discrepancies between current regulations and current needs.

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How My Property is Zoned

With rare exception, property is governed by local zoning law that restricts its use. Although zoning law can differ across communities, the general purpose of zoning is to maintain neighborhood uniformity by grouping similar property uses together into zones. Because zoning controls what a property owner can and cannot do with their land, it is important to understand how your property is zoned, and what uses are permitted.

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