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What if a property is in the wrong zone?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2021 | Real Estate

If you’re looking to renovate a structure, invest in a new business, expand to a new location or buy property as an investment, you need to know that you can use the property in an intended manner. That type of use is inherently tied to the value of the property. If it’s not possible, the value plummets — or you have to find a new market or a new use for the property. 

The way that different areas can be used is governed in part by zones. Zoning laws dictate what can be built and where in a city or town. Commercial and residential are the most common types, but you can also have zones for things like manufacturing or specific commercial zones for certain types of business. 

But what if the property is not in the correct zone? You can’t move it, and you likely can’t have the entire zone changed. These changes happen occasionally, but it’s uncommon and run by the local government, not the property owners. What options do you have?

Getting a variance

One potential solution is to apply for a zoning variance. Think of this as asking for an exception or to be allowed to break the rule. The zone still applies, but the variance means that you can use a specific property in a designated way — which is not usually allowed.

A building that has been granted a variance may be valuable to many more people than it would be without it. It can certainly help a business find success in an area where that is not traditionally possible. 

Getting the variance isn’t a given, though. It can be complex, and you must know what steps to takeIf you need a variance for your property and do not want to risk getting turned down, it’s best to contact one of the real estate attorneys at Hart Kienle Pentecost who is familiar with local zoning laws and practices. Contact us today to see how we can help.