Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 18, 2013

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If the property owner wants his land used in a way not presently permitted by his zoning district, he can request a classification change to allow his desired use of the property. This process of changing the zoning classification is known as “rezoning”. Examples include changing the use classification from retail use to restaurant use, from agricultural use to light industrial, and from low density to high density.

Starting the Rezoning Process

The applicant begins the rezoning process by submitting an application with filing fees to the zoning department after gathering relevant information about the property, including present classification. Though rezoning proceedings vary, the rezoning request is publicized so area residents are aware of this intended use reclassification. Public hearings are then held to hear neighborhood input for and against the rezoning. A rezoning request is more likely to be approved when the reclassification is consistent with the land use plan for the area.

Legal Assistance

Hiring an attorney familiar with the local zoning laws can be very helpful when seeking a rezoning for your property. At public hearings, the lawyer would present your case and be prepared to handle the objections that might be expected from those who oppose your request. The local attorney can also help allay the fears of opponents that the requested zoning change could hurt their property values or be incompatible with the surrounding uses of nearby areas and the goals of the city’s comprehensive community plan.