If you’ve ever seen one of those yellow signs posted on a building or empty lot announcing a zoning change petition, you probably know the property owner or potential owner wants to build something new or alter the current building’s purpose and must first seek permission from the governing municipality to rezone the lot.
While zoning issues are unlikely to affect most people in their lifetimes, they can be a complicated and lengthy process for a zoning petitioner.
Zoning is defined as a power granted to municipalities by the state to promote public health, safety and general welfare and to protect and preserve areas of historical, cultural or architectural significance. The land is divided into separate districts within which uses are permitted, prohibited or permitted with conditions.
Zoning ordinances are put in place by the local municipality to help protect residents and guide commercial growth of the community in positive ways. Therefore, business owners who are thinking about buying, developing or altering a property need to become familiar with the basics of zoning and how those rules could impact their plans, budgets and timelines.
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