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3 common zoning issues business owners should be aware of

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Business Law |

When launching a new business or opening a new location, compliance with local regulations is essential. Failing to comply can lead to disputes with neighboring property owners and your local zoning board.

Zoning disputes can be time-consuming, costly and disruptive to your business. Understanding the regulations in your area can help you avoid these common zoning disputes.

1. Setback issues

Zoning regulations establish minimum requirements for setback distance, the distance between your building and the property line.

These regulations serve two major purposes: they improve the appearance of the neighborhood by preventing buildings from blocking views, and they reduce safety hazards by keeping building entrances away from the roadway. Building too close to the road will likely result in complaints and attract the attention of the zoning board.

2. Building height disputes

Like setback requirements, building height restrictions serve multiple purposes. If the neighborhood is close to an airport, the building height is also a safety concern. Typically, however, the building height is more of an aesthetic concern. Overly tall buildings can alter the visual character of the neighborhood and obstruct views.

3. Variance requests

In some circumstances, you can request an exception to zoning regulations, also known as a variance. For example, you may request a variance to build a commercial building in a residential zone.

Generally, you must be able to prove that not allowing the exception would create an unnecessary hardship for your business and that the exception will not be detrimental to the neighborhood.

When you request a variance, the owners of neighboring properties will receive notice of the request. This gives them the opportunity to contest the variance.

By understanding the common issues in commercial land use, you can avoid a dispute that may disrupt your business operations and harm your reputation.