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What should I know about commercial zoning?

| Apr 9, 2021 | Commercial Real Estate |

In order to make the most of your commercial real estate experiences, understanding zoning is vital. Failure to comply with zoning laws can be an expensive headache and may inhibit your business goals. Zoning laws regulate what you may use a particular building for within an area of its designated community.

Zoning laws can even determine what a building looks like and how far away from the street it must be. To avoid trouble with commercial zoning, you should be aware of potential non-conforming use exceptions and variances, and you must be aware of conditional use stipulations.

Non-conforming use and variances

“Non-conforming use” situations arise when governments make changes to zoning laws. Usually, businesses that are already in the area are “grandfathered” to allow their current practices to continue for as long as a particular tenant is in residency. However, once the “grandfathered” tenant leaves, the non-conforming use exception will not pass to the new tenant.

Variances work similarly. A variance is when an individual has a special permit to use a particular property in a way that does not conform to zoning requirements. Variances, like non-conforming use situations, may not be “passed down” to new tenants.

Understanding conditional use

Even in the event that commercial zoning laws condone the actions of whatever your business is, it is possible that you must fulfill requirements in order to continue those actions. For instance, you may need to furnish a certain number of parking spaces in order to run your business legally. Make sure that you are aware of what “bargains” you must fill when you sign a commercial lease.